Smokey and the Bandit was originally developed by stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham as a cheap B-movie with singer-actor Jerry Reed as the star. But with the signing of box office dynamo Burt Reynolds, Reed was demoted to second banana, Universal quintupled the budget, and the film went on to gross more than $300 million worldwide. The soundtrack was scored by Nashville legend Bill Justis, and includes three vocal titles by Jerry Reed. The latterâ€™s â€œEast Bound and Downâ€ became a signature song, and is included here in a second variation titled â€œWest Bound and Down.â€ Reed also detailed the Banditâ€™s earlier adventures in â€œThe Legendâ€ and sings Dick Fellerâ€™s ballad, â€œThe Bandit.â€ Justis mixes original country instrumentals with covers of chestnuts, including Ervin T. Rouseâ€™s â€œOrange Blossom Specialâ€ and Jerry Wallaceâ€™s 1972 hit, â€œIf You Leave Me Tonight Iâ€™ll Cry, with uncredited fiddle and steel players who are excellent throughout the album.
The 1980 sequel, Smokey and the Bandit II, didnâ€™t have the box office power of the original, but its soundtrack spun off a number of hits, including Jerry Reedâ€™s â€œTexas Bound and Flyinâ€™,â€ the Statler Brothersâ€™ â€œCharlotteâ€™s Webâ€ and Tanya Tuckerâ€™s â€œPecos Promenade.â€ The Snuff Garrett-supervised soundtrack album also includes performances by Don Williams, Mel Tillis, Brenda Lee, Roy Rogers with the Sons of the Pioneers and Burt Reynolds, the latter of whom scraped onto the country chart with â€œLet’s Do Something Cheap and Superficial.â€ The albumâ€™s two instrumentals, performed by the Bandit Band, included a mashup of â€œDueling Banjosâ€ and â€œWildwood Flowerâ€ titled â€œDeliverance of the Wildwood Flower,â€ and an original co-written by Garrett and Nashville legend Jerry Kennedy titled â€œPickinâ€™ Lone Star Style.â€ Both of these soundtracks are good spins, though the sequelâ€™s collection of vocal material will likely be more memorable for country music fans. [Â©2017 Hyperbolium]