Tuesday, September 02, 2008

When You're Hot, You're Hot

Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed (Hubbard) died yesterday at age 71. Peter Cooper at The Tennessean has the definitive obit. Reed is probably known by most folks under 30 as an actor. He starred in a series of Burt Reynolds-Hall Needham car chase movies, including the genre-classic "Smokey and the Bandit".

Others will remember Reed as the guy who had a few novelty hits on Country and Top 40 radio in the '60's and '70s. 'Amos Moses", "Guitar Man", "When You're Hot, You're Hot", "She Got The Goldmine, I Got The Shaft".

I'll remember him as an ace guitarist. No less a virtuoso than Brent Mason calls him "my favorite guitar player ever". With a thumb-picked contrapuntal style, he sounds like a cross between Merle Travis and Fats Domino. Here's a YouTube of Jerry on "The Porter Waggoner Show". He trades cornball humor with Porter then plays a funky 'Wabash Cannonball". Check out his version of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" at 4:o5. (Porter seems slightly unconvinced at the beginning...)

Jerry Donahue (The Hellecasters) introduced himself to the guitar world with his rendition of Reed's "The Claw", a tour-de-force of funky bends and shifty double-stop phrases.

One of my favorite Country records,"Country Willie", features Reed as a session guitarist on his gut string guitar. The inherent mellowness of the nylon strings perfectly blended with Willie's voice and the classic songs on that record.

R.I.P., Jerry.


Blogger Richter 6.0 said...

Nice tribute Tom. Jerry Reed was indeed a vary talented man. I discovered his guitar playing abilities when I watched a video of Jerry Donahue playing his version of The Claw. Jerry Reed always struck me as an "Aw shucks" kind of guitar virtuoso ie so much talent and so little effort for him to access it. A great player.

3/9/08 07:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a wonderful clip. I'm a casual visitor in that I'm not in the music business, and I really appreciate the insights you provide. Thanks for sharing.


18/9/08 15:33  

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