Furry Lewis in Hollywood movie

I had known for years that Furry Lewis, one of my musical heroes, had a part in W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, a 1975 movie starring Burt Reynolds, but had never seen it, because it has not been released on DVD, so it’s not on Netflix or at video stores or anywhere. Well, now it is available for watching, in its entirety, on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj5UQb2dNRo
I wish it were hi-def, but at least we can watch it.
Of course you can skip to the Furry Lewis scenes (about two-thirds of the way in). But I recommend you watch the whole movie. It’s an interesting and entertaining Southern story, with a country-Western band at its center. Kind of an earlier, Southern-C&W-based Blues Brothers. The band’s lead guitarist is Jerry Reed, and you get to see a lot of his playing if you’re into that sort of thing. There are a lot of stereotypes in the story of course. But when Furry Lewis (as “Uncle Furry”) enters the movie, he is depicted as a kind of embodiment of music and culture, almost a holy man — which of course is what he was. In the scene where Lewis and Reed jam, it’s Lewis who takes the lead (on bottleneck) while Reed comps behind. The movie is surprisingly and satisfyingly respectful to Lewis.
And there’s that great story, don’t remember where I read it, from the filming of this movie: it seems Lewis was nipping at a half-pint of whiskey, and an assistant director of some other functionary told him that wasn’t allowed on the set, and took the bottle away. Star Burt Reynolds heard about that, and the next day called a meeting of all cast and crew and told them something like, “In case y’all haven’t met this gentleman, this is Mister Furry Lewis. And Mr. Lewis will do anything he damn well pleases while he’s on this movie set.” And then Reynolds presented Lewis with a half-gallon of whiskey. Keep that story in mind as you watch the movie, it makes Reynolds and the whole movie more enjoyable.

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2 Comments on "Furry Lewis in Hollywood movie"

  1. ericwinnert
    02/06/2015 at 8:01 am Permalink

    Just checked out the link to the movie. yup, Furry Lewis rules…thanks for posting, most grateful. 🙂

  2. chezztone
    03/10/2015 at 8:53 pm Permalink

    You are welcome.

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