Progressive Pickin’ was released in 1964 and for some reason, it was kicking around the house when I was a kid in those years. I didn’t know of Chet Atkins or Jerry Reed at the time, but I loved that album, and I vowed I would learn to play guitar like that one day. Every tune on it is great! I must have listened to it a thousand times, and not only did it leave an indelible impression, but it changed the course of my life as I became determined to play guitar like that.
Even then, though, I noticed that there were two tunes, Kicky and Early Times, that had a different quality from the rest. They were new and imaginative in a way that said they were written on and for the guitar, by some kind of genius. I could tell that then, and I only knew how to strum a few chords on the guitar, but some things you just know. This is to say that I loved Jerry Reed long before I knew he was Jerry Reed or anything else about his music. Over the years, I learned to play most of the tunes on this great Chet record, but in none too disciplined a way, to which my old recording of Early Times here on the website will testify.
A couple of die-hard Reed fans over the last year, however, have been asking me for tab for Early Times, and it would have been embarrassing to tab out what I have hitherto passed off as Early Times. So, I finally caught a little break and had a chance to sit down and figure this thing out properly. What a great tune! It will probably bore the non-guitarist to listen to the MIDI, but it is a true thrill to play and to watch and hear being played. The voicings and lines are totally cool, and the whole thing ... well, who thinks of stuff like this?!? Jerry Reed is who. Don’t pass this one up. Download it and learn it. If you like fingerstyle at all, you won’t regret it. I find it a complete gem of a guitar tune, and I have learned subtleties I hadn’t noticed before in the process of transcribing it, only increasing my love for the thing.
I have included an exported MIDI of the tab below. It sounds better than when the tab is played directly in TablEdit, but again, it is still nowhere near the actual sounds of acoustic instruments played by people, and especially not by Chet or Jerry (arguably not people at all).
Play MIDI of the tab
Download: Early Times tab here (Note: If you have not downloaded this tab since 1/31/07, you do not have the latest version)
(in TablEdit Format, which you can download a free viewer for)