Welcome to Round #2 of the 2021 Song Draft hosted by Hans and Slice of 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 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 ….

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.

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.


  1. I love this song and I love Amos Moses by Jerry Reed. I love the way he uses he voice — and he’s a hell of a guitar player! I got an album of Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins picking and it’s a joy to hear him. So awesome you had an opportunity to interview Jerry and get the inside scoop on the song. How many people in the world can say that. Wonderful write-up, Keith.

    • Thank you! He was fantastic to chat with. I would agree, he is a fantastic guitar player! He and Chet were very good friends. I have an album of the two of them together as well, and it has both of them playing one of my favorite instrumentals, The Claw. I used a bunch of cuts from that album as music beds when I worked on the country station.

      Jerry was very modest when it came to his opinion of himself. He didn’t really consider himself a great singer, but he considered himself a great storyteller!

    • You’re very welcome, Keith. I think I have the same album you do. Mine is a 4-disc set, where Chet plays with 4 great guitarists. I’m not sure what “music beds” are but am guessing it’s background music for intros to other things?

      With music, I think it’s all about the storytelling, whether verbal or non-verbal.

    • Lol…sorry. I was using “radio speak”. Yes, a music bed is an instrumental you play and talk over when you’re playing back a phone call, doing an interview, or doing a bit between songs or before going to commercials. Jerry’s instrumentals were perfect for the country station.

  2. Jerry Reed had an interesting career- and was such a great musician. I think the movies he did- in a way took away from his reputation as a musician.

    • If you stop and think about the fact that he was recording music as early as 18 years old, I guess it would make sense that at some point he’d get the acting bug or want to do something else.

      He admitted to me in the interview I did with him that his music took a back seat to his acting career. He never truly wanted to stop making music, but he certainly wanted to do a lot more acting.

  3. A great backstory and so cool you got to talk to him and chat about it too! I remember loving ‘Smokey and the bandit’ when I was a kid, but its been over 40 years since I’ve seen it…possibly been that long since I heard the song too.

  4. I laughed out loud when I saw this song pick because I love the variety of the draft picks, and I love Jerry Reed. He was so funny and talented. This was a good song, and was perfect for the movie. The backstory is also perfect for the song and movie. That’s hilarious about the tape recorder version. It’s very cool that you interviewed Jerry!

    • One of the great things about this song draft! It truly has been awesome to see the variety of artists and genres being picked for the draft. I just emailed my next pic and it is way different than this one!

      Jerry was a very heavy smoker, and eventually that’s what led to his passing. That was probably the saddest thing about the interview was that you could hear in his voice how the smoking had affected him. He was still Jerry, don’t get me wrong, but his voice was a little labored.

  5. Great back story Keith. I sometimes forget how big that movie was back then. They even had the black Trans Am as a Hot Wheels car. That song is burned into my mind and it will not escape. He was a fantastic guitar player and should be ranked with the greats.

    • It’s pretty amazing to think that this movie was the second biggest box office hit of 77 if I remember right. Star Wars, of course, was the big one.

      I will go you one better.. not only did I have the Bandit’s Trans Am, I also had Buford’s sheriff car in my Hot Wheel collection.

      I couldn’t agree more as far as him being a talented guitarist. If you remember the story that I posted in my review of Guitar Man, Elvis was all about having the song sound like his version. That’s why Jerry Reed ended up being at that session!

      Somewhere on YouTube is a really cool clip of Jerry Reed teaching someone how to play the instrumental I mentioned above, The Claw.

    • Loved Sally Field in that movie…In any movie
      That Bufford car would have to be worth something today.

      Jerry Reed was excellent at what they call “chicken picking”…him and Roy Clark were great at that. Jerry was the man. Amos Moses tells it all…

  6. You got me on this one. Totally missed the “Bandit” thing. Enjoyed your take. Im a big Gene Vincent guy and I dont remember if I ever got the Reed connection on ‘Crazy Legs’. Im still learning. Thanks

    • My picks are all over the place for this draft! My next one is way different than this one.

      I had the soundtrack for the original Smokey and the Bandit, and Part Two on vinyl for the longest time. I’ll date myself and even say that we had the soundtrack to the original on an 8-track. I looked for the longest time for it to come out on CD or digitally, but never saw it. With the 40th anniversary, they finally put it out on CD and combined both soundtracks together on one disc.

      I have a thing for movie soundtracks as well. I would say at least 1/3 of my music collection, prior to my divorce, was movie soundtracks and movie music.

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