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Jerry Reed and Amos Moses

I'd guess most folks knew him best for the Smokey and the Bandit song, East Bound and Down, or for being a member of Burt Reynolds' entourage, along with Dom Deloise. Those three were ubiquitous in the late '70s and into the '80s, always showing up on talk and variety shows, goofing off and yukkin' it up. But Jerry Reed wrote songs and played guitar for Elvis, had a long career and some quirky hits of his own. Man, could he play a mean guitar, and what a character!

Check out this duet with Chet Atkins, for whom he wrote many tunes:

I love the banter during the song, that goofy hat he's wearing, and how he puts it on Atkin's guitar and looks away at the end. His playing isn't perfect here, not being as technically proficient as Chet, but this is a real moment, authentic and their personalities come through. He wrote and recorded tons of songs over decades, with a style and approach all his own, but had more than a little in common with other writers such as predecessor Roger Miller, and contemporaries Jim Stafford and Hoyt Axton. And while he could really play, write ballads that tug at the heart, what I remember him him for most are novelty songs such as When You're Hot, You're Hot, She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft), and my favorite, Amos Moses, a funky cajun-rock-country hybrid:

Amos Moses - Jerry Reed

See what a mean? That stuttering, clickety guitar riff is a great teaser, and then Reed bellows out a vocal intro before the verse that gives a hint of what we're in for. What a grabber of an opening, and then Reed tells southern-Steve Irwin kinda story, and the song leaves you wanting more, clocking in at 2:22. While researching for this post, I came across more Jerry Reed tracks I'd never heard, and will be expanding my Reed playlist. Obscure Amos Moses Anecdote In the late '80s, while I was active in the independent comic book scene, a favorite artist and fellow self publisher, Mark Martin and I became friends. He not only wrote, drew and published his own Batman parody comic book called GnatRat, but also did a regular strip in weekly newspaper, The Comics Buyer's Guide. You never knew what would appear in Mark's 20 Nude Dancers 20, but one week I was cracking up at the strip/faux ad wherein Mark portayed himself as a famous and great singer, offering to personally sing you your favorite tune over the phone for a measly $5. In the list of suggestions was Amos Moses, and going along with the joke, popped my $5 of Monopoly money in the mail the next day and promptly forgot about it. But true to his word, Mark called one night shortly after, jumping right into a sterling rendition of Amos Moses, and I've rarely heard anything as funny! He recalled the lyrics far better than I had, and really did Jerry Reed proud. Good ol' Mark, still a great cartoonist and funny guy.  But not a race-car driver. Stop by Mark's site and say hey.

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