Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2023 December 11 • Monday

Happy birthday!

For the 808th Soundtrack of the Week it's Jerry Reed with Smokey and the Bandit!

It starts with Jerry Reed singing his song “The Legend”, a laidback number with guitar and banjo and lyrics covering some of The Bandit’s other feats.

“West Bound and Down” is a great up tempo driving song from Reed that’s probably familiar to a lot of people and is the theme song for the movie as well as being one of my personal favorites. “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there” is something of a mantra for me at times.

The pace slows for the sultry, bluesy and harmonica-led song “Foxy Lady”, which also features some nice fiddle playing.

Ervin T. Rouse then delivers a very fast-paced instrumental version of “Orange Blossom Special” with some especially nimble lap steel and harmonic breaks as well as some call and response from harmonica and fiddle.

Then Reed returns with another song mythologizing the movie’s hero, a mid tempo waltz called “The Bandit”: “Bandit, you’re the joker in the deal of the cards”.

“March of the Rednecks” isn’t a march, not musically, anyway, but a sprightly country rock instrumental by Bill Justis, followed by another Justis instrumental, a straight country instrumental at a more relaxed place that has a plaintive, lonely feel to it.

Jerry Reed comes back for “East Bound and Down”, basically the same song as “West Bound and Down” but going the other direction, obviously.

Then there are four more Bill Justis numbers. “The Bandit” is a calm instrumental melodically similar to “On Top of Old Smokey” and with a slick electric guitar sound.

“And the Fight Played Out” is a solid country instrumental with great fiddle and steel guitar playing while “Ma Cousin Plays Steel” is more of a country boogie.

Wah-wah guitar, strings and horns come in for “Hot Pants Fuzz Parade”, a suite of score moments that range from the martial and comedic to the romantic and the frenetic.

There’s a reprise of Reed’s “The Bandit” at the end and some CB dialogue from the movie scattered throughout.