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Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed Live! Still – 2005 (r2k)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed's first album in 6 years is a 10-song live set issued on his son-in-law's newly created label. Although time has taken an audible toll, the 68- year-old singer/songwriter and guitarist nonpareil imbues concert renditions of his classic hits and a few strong new numbers with palpable crowd-pleasing humor.

At his best, Reed growls with trademark sass on such classics as "Amos Moses" (number 8, pop, 1970), "Lord, Mr. Ford" (number 1, c&w, 1973), and his Smokey & the Bandit-inspired smash "East Bound and Down (number 2, c&w, 1977). Sharing guitar chores with various band mates, Reed still demonstrates considerable instrumental savvy with "Jerry's Breakdown Revisited," which he recorded with mentor Chet Atkins decades ago. As the goofy interplay during "When Your Hot Your Hot" (number 7, pop/number 1, c&w, 1971) demonstrates, the accent is kept mainly on laughs. As a result, the Georgia-born legend's best moments come via the touching Old Dogs humor of "Father Time and Gravity."

There are moments when Reed, who suffers from emphysema, sounds hoarse or off-pitch. However, he is always personable and engaging, and because he has retired from active touring, this entertaining disc provides a precious memento from a great star.