Check out my other comments for details on Jerry.
Jerry had started his assault on the Top 40 of the US country charts in 1967 but this was his breakthrough album with four Top 20 country singles which pushed the album to #10 in the country charts making it his highest placing album up to that point (it was his seventh album in three years).
It also contained "Amos Moses" a Top 10 pop hit (his first Top 10 pop hit and his highest placed ever – #8)
The album, recorded between November 1969 and May 1970, makes no concessions to what was happening in country or in rock music at the time.
Jerry’s style, humour and world view was already fully formed by this stage.
In structure the album is a mix of originals with a splash of covers, both old and new but everything is permeated with his world view, or sensibility.
His self-written songs are populated by marginal country types, ostracised from society and looking at their predicament with "good ol' boy" humour.
That "good ol boy" persona that would play dividends in the 1970s as regional (specifically southern) music and cinema in the US became (mainstream) popular again, but without compromising or softening its region-ality. In music you had the Allman Borthers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Oak Arkansas, Blackfoot, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Hank Wiliams Jr. and many others whilst in films you had any number of Burt Reynolds, moonshine and "White Line Fever" type trucker films, culminating in the mainstream television success of "The Dukes of Hazzard".
Reed's persona was so persuasive that he featured in a number of those films and even had the lead in a short lived television series about truckers, "Concrete Cowboys".
But, what is often missed is Reed's inclusion of all people He is perceptively observant and quite sensitive though, he would, no doubt, make fun of the claim. No one is excluded from his world and he doesn't distinguish people on race, colour or creed. The only targets for his gentle barbed attacks are the rich and unrestrained and unreasonable authority.
Like a country version of Ray Davies hiding behind a "good ol boy" persona, he sits, he watches, he thinks, he laughs.
Reed is a underappreciated guitar player. He is revered but not widely revered. He has a groovy finger picking style which is can be both complex and simple depending on the song. His songs keep with country music norms : there are immense tragedy songs, musical hoedown songs, schmaltz songs, tall tales, and un-PC (speak it like it is) humorous songs.
His world, both musical and otherwise, is not one note (sic).
All songs by Jerry Reed unless otherwise noted.
Tracks (best in italics)
- Georgia Sunshine – a gentle, relaxed lope on the song, no doubt done to evoke the Georgia sunshine. Pleasant and quite relaxing.
- Good Friends and Neighbors – a dig at "friends and neighbours" that digs both ways.
- Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel # 8) – (Jimmie Rodgers / George Vaughn) – This song as an American classic. First recorded by Jimmie Rodgers in 1930 and recorded by many musicians since then, both country and folk. Apparently, according to Reed's vocal asides Chet Atkins takes one guitar solo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mule_Skinner_Blues
- That's All Part of Losing – familiar country themes.
- Eight More Miles to Louisville – (Grandpa Jones) – First recorded by Grandpa Jones in 1946 this is another Americana classic done by many acts including Jim Kweskin in 1966. Zippy an bouncy .. and pleasant.
- Amos Moses – another story song about a person on the margins ala Ko Ko Joe. This may be one of the first Jerry songs I ever heard back in the 70s and a treat it is. Infectious and quite wonderful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amos_Moses
- Dream Sweet Dreams About Me – (John Ragsdale) – also done by Glen Campbell in 1970
- The Preacher and the Bear – a relation to Amos Moses and equally a load of fun.
- Ugly Woman – (James Ford) – not politically correct. "Ugly women" will love you and be good to you.
- Talk About the Good Times – and ode to, and reminisce of, simpler times. It is quite serious despite its bouncy beat and it's quite persuasive in its arguments, and still relevant. This was covered by Elvis Presley and released on his 1974 "Good Times" album ) he had recorded Reed's "Guitar Man", "U.S. Male" and "A Thing Called Love" before and Reed had played session for Elvis in 1967).
Like a lot of Jerry Reed albums your enjoyment depends on how much you like where he is coming from. This album has a number of highs and some okay songs … not perfect but good enough … I'm keeping it.
1970 Talk about the Good Times #14 US Country
1970 Georgia Sunshine #16 US Country
1970 The Preacher and the Bear #16 US Country
1970 Amos Moses #16 US Country, #8 US Pop
1970 #10 US Country, #102 US Pop
Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel # 8)
Live with Glen Campbell 1982
Talk About the Good Times
- The album was co-produced by Chet Atkins and Felton Jarvis (Jarvis alone produced "Preacher and the Bear"). Both, interestingly, are Elvis producers though, both, worked on a lot of RCA product.
- Georgia Sunshine", "That's all Part of Losing" and "Dream Sweet Dreams About Me" are arranged by John Ragsdale.