Song Lyric Sunday: Three Bear Songs from Jerry Reed

This week, Paula of Light Motifs II suggested "Lion, Tiger, Bear, Eagle, Shark" as the prompts, and Jim went ahead and used it. I thought of three songs from singer, songwriter, Certified Guitar Player (an honor bestowed on him by his buddy Chet Atkins), actor and comedian Jerry Reed.

My first pick was the song "The Preacher And The Bear." Wikipedia tells us

The Preacher and the Bear is an American popular song, originally a "coon song" [Coon songs were a genre of music that presented a stereotype of Africans.] The lyrics recount the story of a church pastor who appeals to God after being treed by a grizzly bear while out hunting on the Sabbath. He falls out of the tree and has to fight the bear.

It was written by George Fairman around the turn of the 20th Century. Jerry’s version was released in 1970 as the B side to his single "Amos Moses."

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

Yeah here come the preacher ha ha
Well the preacher went out a huntin’ it was on one Sunday morn
It was against his religion but he took a shotgun along
He got him a mess of mighty fine quail and one old scraggly hare
But on the way home he crossed the path of a great big grizzly bear

Well the bear got down looked ready to charge
The preacher never seen nothin’ quite that large
They looked each other right smack in the eye
Didn’t take that preacher long to say bye
The preacher he run till he spotted a tree
He said up in that tree’s where I oughta be
By the time that bear made a grab for him
The preacher was a sittin’ on top a that limb
Scared to death he turned about
He looked to the sky and began to shout

Hey Lord you delivered Daniel from the bottom of the lion’s den
You delivered Jonah from the belly of the whale and then
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace so the good books do declare
Hey Lord if you can’t help me for goodness sake don’t help that bear

Yeah look out preacher
Well about that time the limb broke off and the preacher come a tumblin’ down
Had a straight razor out of his pocket about the time he lit on the ground
He landed on his feet right in front a that bear and Lord what an awful fight
The preacher and the bear and the razor and the hair just a flyin’ from left to right

Well at first they was up and then they was down
The preacher and the bear runnin’ round and round
The bear he roared and the the preacher he groaned
Havin’ a tough time a holdin’ his own
He said Lord if I get outta here alive
Then to the good book I’ll abide
No more huntin’ on the Sabbath day
Come Sunday I’m headin’ to the church to pray
Up to the heavens the preacher glanced
Said Lord won’t you give me one more chance
So the preacher got away he looked around
Seen a tree where he’d be safe and sound
Jumped on a limb turned about
Looked to the sky and began to shout

Hey Lord you delivered old Daniel from the bottom of the lion’s den…

No get outta here bear
Lord do somethin’ for me and forget that bear
I’m tellin’ ya he’s big look at the size of that thing whoa
Get what are you get offa this tree
Lord help me
Are you kiddin’ me with the size of that bear

Song #2 is "Eastbound And Down," from the 1977 road action comedy Smokey And The Bandit. It starred Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Reed, Pat McCormick, Paul Williams, and Mike Henry. In trucker slang, a "bear" is a state trooper, owing to the fact that the troopers wear the kind of campaign hat worn by Smokey The Bear in public service announcements for the US Forestry Service that remind us that "only you can prevent forest fires." They’re also called "Smokeys."

Smokey The Bear

There’s a recap of the movie on Wikipedia. This plays after Reed and Reynolds have gone to Texarkana, Texas, picked up 400 cases of beer, and are driving back to Atlanta wih it. Lyrics are in the video…

Finally, there’s this instrumental piece by Reed called "The Claw," which could apply to lions, tigers, or bears (oh my!)

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for November 21, 2021.

15 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Three Bear Songs from Jerry Reed

  1. Jerry Reed is fun. Got to see him in my late teens at Royal American Horse Show in Kansas City. My grandmother took me since I loved horses and showed them myself. I might have been 20. Great horse show.

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