Country Rewind: Watch Jerry Reed’s Spirited Performance of No. 1 Hit ‘Lord, Mr. Ford’ in 1973

by Jim Casey
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Jerry Reed topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with “Lord, Mr. Ford,” on Aug. 4, 1973. In honor of the occasion, it feels like a good time for a Country Rewind featuring the Country Music Hall of Fame member.

Before we get to Jerry’s performance of “Lord, Mr. Ford” on Season 5 of Hee Haw in 1973, let’s rewind a bit.

Guitar Hero

Country music has had its fair share of guitar greats over the years. A handful of my personal favorites include Jerry Reed, Roy Clark, Chet Atkins, Glen Campbell, and Ricky Skaggs. And there are plenty more, including Merle Travis, Lester Flatt, and Vince Gill, among others.

But Jerry really was a once-in-a-lifetime talent. The man could pick, sing, write, act. In fact, I’m constantly coming across random Jerry Reed tidbits that I can’t wait to share. Here’s one for you. Jerry penned “If the Good Lord’s Willing,” which was featured on Johnny Cash’s 1957 debut album, Johnny Cash With His Hot and Blue Guitar.

Over the course of his career, Jerry topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart three times: 1971’s “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” 1973’s “Lord, Mr. Ford,” and 1982’s “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).”

What about “East Bound and Down,” you say? Well, the great tune from Smokey and the Bandit peaked at No. 2 in 1977. Of course, Jerry had additional Top 10 hits, including 1978’s “I Love You (What Can I Say)” and 1982’s “The Bird.”

Jerry the Great

Jerry was also a staple of country television in the 1970s, including frequent appearances on The Glen Cambell Goodtime Hour and Hee Haw. The likable entertainer parlayed his good ol’ boy TV work into film roles, including W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, Gator, and Smokey and the Bandit.

Jerry earned three Grammy Awards during his career, including Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1970 (“Me and Jerry”) and 1992 (“Sneakin’ Around”). Of course, he also starred in additional movies, including two Smokey and the Bandit sequels and 1998’s The Waterboy.

Jerry, 71, died of complications from emphysema in 2008. Thankfully, he was finally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017.

During the Season 5 premiere of Hee Haw on Sept. 15, 1973, Jerry treated the viewing audience to a stirring rendition of his satirical chart-topper, “Lord, Mr. Ford.” Penned by Dick Feller, “Lord, Mr. Ford” served as the lead single and title track to Jerry’s 1973 album. Here’s another fun fact: Jerry teamed with Dick Feller to pen “East Bound and Down” a few years later.

For now, enjoy Jerry’s performance of “Lord, Mr. Ford” from 1973’s Hee Haw, complete with dancing by Hee Haw “Honeys” Misty Rowe and Lisa Todd.

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