Jerry Reed's The Man with the Golden Thumb
I've long been a fan of Reed's humorous songs and his criminally underrated guitar work, but I had no idea how good this record would be. The title track has shown up on Greatest Hits collections, and is just another in a number of good novelty songs about guitar players that stem back to Reed's early hits, such as "Guitar Man," which made it to number 53 on the country charts in 1967 before Elvis Presley took it to number one. The song is a bit funkier with Reed half-singing, half-talking in his imitable storytelling style.
Side Two opens with another typical Reed single, "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)" which tells a classic shaggy dog divorce story, as only he can tell them, complete with "goodbye turkey," chuckles, and other classic Reed witticisms. "The Hobo" is a classic slice of am country, reminiscent of Kris Kristofferson, "44" is funky and thumping, Reed's rendition of "It Tears Me Up" is sad and swelling, but "Stray Dogs and Stay Women" is arguably the finest number on the side. The song compares the two, while showing the narrator's softer side. Reed's picking and guitar playing are nicely showcased, but his vocals continue to shine.
While Reed's story songs are always high quality, the deep cuts here are where it's at. They paint a picture of a talented singer and stylist who is comfortable with any style. From top to bottom, the album is one of Reed's most complete. The album's cover is deceptive; Reed, dressed in flannel and overalls, sheepishly grins and gives a thumbs up, his wrist resting on his trusty guitar. An image straight off a John Denver record, it doesn't capture the grit and warmth found in these grooves.
Jerry Reed - "The Best I Ever Had"