Song Draft – Pick #2 – East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed

Welcome to Round #2 of the 2021 Song Draft hosted by Hans and Slice the Life. Round #1 was full of great songs from different eras and genres. I have really enjoyed reading the posts from the other participants.

My first pick was kind of obscure, so for pick #2, I chose something that many will be familiar with. If I am being honest, it’s a guilty pleasure for me. It is one that always has me singing along with. My second pick is East Bound and Down from Jerry Reed.

Jerry Reed Hubbard

Jerry Reed Hubbard was born in Atlanta, Georgia on March 20, 1937. By the time he was in high school he was writing songs and singing them. At 18 years old, he was signed to a record deal at Capitol Records by publisher and record producer Bill Lowery. He was being promoted as a “teen sensation” after recording some rockabilly songs in 1956. His label mate, Gene Vincent helped him get some notoriety as a song writer when he recorded Jerry’s song “Crazy Legs” in 1958.

In 1967, he reached #57 on the country charts with “Guitar Man,” which Elvis Presley recorded (and I have blogged about here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/09/10/tune-tuesday-guitar-man/ ). In the 70’s he had hits with “Amos Moses,” and “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot.” He continued to record throughout the 70’s and also began to act with his buddy, Burt Reynolds. Films included WW and the Dixie Dancekings, and Gator. Then came 1977 ….

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Movie Music

Jerry Reed played Burt Reynolds sidekick, Snowman, in the 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit. I had the chance to interview Jerry a few years before he passed away. One of the things we talked about what the movie and, of course, the music for the movie. The story behind the song, as Jerry told me, goes like this:

Hal Needham, the director of Smokey & the Bandit, told Jerry “We need a song for the movie.” Jerry said he was driving home that night and thinking. He said he started singing, “East Bound and Down. Loaded up and trucking…” He said he had the entire chorus of the song in his head by the time he got home. He said he called Dick Feller, a producer at his publishing company and said “Here’s the chorus (and he sang it to him. Write me two quick verses to go with it.” Within two hours, Feller had them done.

Jerry grabbed his tape recorder and then made a demo of the song to play for Needham. He said Needham loved the song and wanted the tape so he could use it in the film. Jerry told him, “That’s just the demo! You can’t use that in the film. I gotta go into the studio and cut it.”

Jerry also cut “West Bound and Down” for the film. It is the song that plays as Snowman and Bandit begin their trek, and it basically the same song with a few lines/words changed.

The song was released on August 1, 1977 and spent 16 weeks on the charts. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Featured on background vocals is Gordon Stoker of Elvis’ back up group, The Jordanaires.

There have been many cover versions of the song including covers by Tonic, The Road Hammers, Supersuckers, Aaron Tippin, Dave Dudley, and Midland. None of them quite capture the “feel” of the original.

East Bound and Down

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’
We gonna do what they say can’t be done
We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ “Bandit” run

Keep your foot hard on the pedal
Son, never mind them brakes
Let it all hang out ’cause we got a run to make
The boys are thirsty in Atlanta
And there’s beer in Texarkana
And we’ll bring it back no matter what it takes

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’
We gonna do what they say can’t be done
We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ “Bandit” run

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’
We gonna do what they say can’t be done
We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ “Bandit” run

Ol’ Smokey’s got them ears on
He’s hot on your trail
And he ain’t gonna rest ’til you’re in jail
So you got to dodge ’em and you got to duck ’em
You got to keep that diesel truckin’
Just put that hammer down and give it hell

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’
We gonna do what they say can’t be done
We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ “Bandit” run

For comparison, here is West Bound and Down. Note the different musical arrangement. I like the addition of the strings and brass to this version.

14 thoughts on “Song Draft – Pick #2 – East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed

      1. Really the only thing I do from my phone is quick updates when I see something misspelled. This is the first post from drafts.

        I emailed my third round pick, which was also in my drafts yesterday. When I opened it on my computer, the YouTube links were not showing up. Maybe it’s a Word Press thing, OR maybe it is the computers here at work.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do comments a lot of the time. Another thing that happened when I published something from a phone is the post would not show up in reader…

        Yea I got to do mine… I think I have settled on one.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It is freaking awesome that you got to interview Jerry. How cool. I loved him. He was an absolute scream.

    I still love this movie. I was only 10 when it came out so…I couldn’t see it. I had to catch it on HBO.

    Speaking of the Jordanaires, a few weeks after this premiere, Elvis passed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jerry was an absolute hoot! The interview was only supposed to be about 10 minutes long, and towards the end of the interview I remember telling them that I had so many more questions to ask him but knew we were running out of time. He literally told me to go ahead and ask whatever I wanted he had nothing going on that day! He was very gracious, and I’m so sad that I lost the audio of that interview in a hard drive crash.

      You are just a little bit older than I am, as I was seven when I saw the movie. It’s funny you mention elvis, because we were actually at the drive-in listening to the radio waiting for it to get dark enough for the movie to start when the radio announced Elvis had died. Somewhere I blogged about that in the past.

      Like

      1. Damn phone!

        As I was saying, I wanted to go see Star Wars but, my parents went without me to our local drive-in. They thought it would be “too adult” for me. I finally got to see it with friends at a theatre. It was released in May 1977.

        Liked by 1 person

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