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Chet Atkins

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Chet Atkins 1956 Stringin' Along With Chet Atkins [MONO] (RCA LPM-1236) (1961 Reissue)

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ITEM# SR-RCLPM1236re
Ratings: C=VG; LP=VG

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Stringin' Along With Chet Atkins [Mono]

Originally Released: 1956
This Reissue: 1961
Label: RCA
Catalog: LPM-1236
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Oh By Jingo!
02 Indian Love Call
03 Memphis Blues
04 12th Street Rag
05 Gallopin' Guitar
06 St. Louis Blues
07 Main Street Breakdown
08 Hello Ma Baby
09 Alice Blue Gown
10 Blue Gypsy
11 Black Mountain Rag
12 The 3rd Man Theme
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Album Review

by William Ruhlmann [allmusic.com]

In 1953, RCA Victor packaged some of Chet Atkins' recordings of the early '50s into the 10" LP Stringin' Along With Chet Atkins. Three years later, the label added some more tracks to fill out the album for the 12" format. The 1956 12-track version of Stringin' Along combines the master guitarist's versions of some Tin Pan Alley ("Oh! By Jingo," "Hello Ma Baby"), show music ("Indian Love Call"), and blues ("Memphis Blues," "St. Louis Blues") of the early part of the century with some Atkins originals ("Galloping on the Guitar," "Blue Gypsy") and the popular "Third Man Theme" from the 1949 movie. Atkins' playing is as distinctive as ever, and if the sources of the material are various, his style holds it together into a coherent collection.


Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Finger Style Guitar

Originally Released: 1957
This Reissue: 1962
Label: RCA Victor
Catalog: LSP-1383
Genre: Jazz, Folk, World, & Country


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Swedish Rhapsody
02 Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away)
03 In The Mood
04 Heartaches
05 The Glow Worm
06 Dance Of The Golden Rod
07 Petite Walz
08 La Adelita
09 Gavotte In D
10 Unchained Melody
11 Waltz In A Flat
12 Malaguena
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Chet Atkins: Chet Atkins In Hollywood (RCA LSP-1993) (1959)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Chet Atkins In Hollywood

Released: 1959
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-1993
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Armen's Theme
02 Let It Be Me
03 Theme From "Picnic"
04 Theme From A Dream
05 Estrellita
06 Jitterbug Waltz
07 Little Old Lady
08 Limelight
09 The Three Bells
10 Santa Lucia
11 Greensleeves
12 Meet Mr. Callaghan
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

If the cover of At Home evokes the 1950s, the music on In Hollywood IS the 1950s: a warm, cozy, sophisticated album of mood music in the best sense. Yet this is not an album of film music (though a handful of film themes turn up). Rather, it is exactly what the title indicates: Chet Atkins recording an album in a Hollywood studio, as opposed to the familiar haunts of Nashville. Here, he places his often affectingly lovely guitar licks in front of full, lush, sometimes inspired string arrangements by Dennis Farnon. Sometimes, Atkins appears all by himself, caressing "Estrellita" before the strings kick in, and his fingerpicking technique appears on a piquant treatment of "Armen's Theme" (originally a pre-Chipmunks hit for Ross Bagdasarian aka David Seville). Farnon is particularly good when he hooks onto a lush string motif and repeats it seductively on the "Theme From Picnic" or follows Atkins's guitar in a broad, surpassingly lovely treatment of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" -- the two most gorgeous tracks on the record. For some, this record might fall under the category of guilty pleasures, but a pleasure it is, one of the great make-out records of its time. Mobile Fidelity re-circulated it all too briefly in the 1990s as part of a two-CD set.


Chet Atkins - Chet Atkins In Hollywood [Mono] (RCA LPM-1993) (1959)

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ITEM# SR-LSP1993
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Chet Atkins In Hollywood [mono]

Released: 1959
Label: RCA
Catalog: LPM-1993
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
NOTE: Front cover has a small tear on it
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Armen's Theme
02 Let It Be Me
03 Theme From "Picnic"
04 Theme From A Dream
05 Estrellita
06 Jitterbug Waltz
07 Little Old Lady
08 Limelight
09 The Three Bells
10 Santa Lucia
11 Greensleeves
12 Meet Mr. Callaghan
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

If the cover of At Home evokes the 1950s, the music on In Hollywood IS the 1950s: a warm, cozy, sophisticated album of mood music in the best sense. Yet this is not an album of film music (though a handful of film themes turn up). Rather, it is exactly what the title indicates: Chet Atkins recording an album in a Hollywood studio, as opposed to the familiar haunts of Nashville. Here, he places his often affectingly lovely guitar licks in front of full, lush, sometimes inspired string arrangements by Dennis Farnon. Sometimes, Atkins appears all by himself, caressing "Estrellita" before the strings kick in, and his fingerpicking technique appears on a piquant treatment of "Armen's Theme" (originally a pre-Chipmunks hit for Ross Bagdasarian aka David Seville). Farnon is particularly good when he hooks onto a lush string motif and repeats it seductively on the "Theme From Picnic" or follows Atkins's guitar in a broad, surpassingly lovely treatment of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" -- the two most gorgeous tracks on the record. For some, this record might fall under the category of guilty pleasures, but a pleasure it is, one of the great make-out records of its time. Mobile Fidelity re-circulated it all too briefly in the 1990s as part of a two-CD set.


Chet Atkins - Teensville (RCA LSP-2161) (1960)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Teensville

Released: 1960
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-2161
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 White Silver Sands
02 Boo Boo Stick Beat
03 Oh, Lonesome Me
04 One Mint Julep
05 Take A Message To Mary
06 Teensville
07 Night Train
08 Come Softly To Me
09 Sleep Walk
10 Django's Castle
11 Till There Was You
12 Hot Toddy
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Album Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine [allmusic.com]

As the title indicates, Teensville is Chet Atkins' attempt to cut a record that appealed to the teenage audience weaned on rock & roll. Though he records a fair amount of rock, rockabilly, R&B, and country songs -- and the Everly Brothers, who he produced, wrote the line notes -- he never captures the raw spark of rock & roll. What shines through is Atkins' understated elegance. All of the numbers are arranged as pop instrumentals and his guitar playing is so tasteful that it makes the half-hearted execution almost forgiveable.


Chet Atkins - Chet Atkins' Workshop [RCA Victor LSP-2232] (1961)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Chet Atkins' Workshop

Released: 1961
Label: RCA Victor
Catalog: LSP-2232
Genre: Rock, Country Rock, Jazz
Note: RCA, Hollywood pressing.
Note: Label variation: Chet Atkins' name in all upper-case at bottom of label (instead of mixed case).


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Lambeth Walk
02 Theme From ' A Summer Place'
03 Whispering
04 In A Little Spanish Town ('Twas On A Night Like This)
05 Sleep
06 Marie
07 Hot Mocking Bird
08 Lullaby Of Birdland
09 Tammy
10 Goofus
11 Bonita
12 Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)
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Album Review

Greg Adams [allmusic.com]

Chet Atkins, the country boy whose catholic tastes deserve some of the credit (or blame) for pushing country music toward the pop mainstream in the '60s, serves up exclusively pop and jazz material on his 1961 album Chet Atkins' Workshop. ''Whispering'' and ''Lullaby of Birdland'' are two of the jazz standards, while instrumental renditions of the Debbie Reynolds hit ''Tammy'' and Doris Day's ''Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, WIll Be)'' are pure pop. Atkins' relaxed fingerpicking works the material into a smooth consistency that sometimes belies the complexity of his technique, but the album is an engaging listen and an effortless-sounding intersection of diverse styles. Atkins was an album artist, and Chet Atkins' Workshop, though failing to produce a charting single, made the Top Ten and became his best-selling LP.


Chet Atkins: Down Home (1962)

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ITEM# SR-LSP2450
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Down Home

Released: 1962
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-2450
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Salty Dog Rag
02 I'm A Pilgrim
03 Trambone
04 Steel Guitar Rag
05 Little Feet
06 Blue Steel Blues
07 Windy And Warm
08 I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow
09 Never On Sunday
10 The Girl Friend Of The Whirling Dervish
11 Give The World A Smile
12 Tuxedo Junction
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Album Review

by William Ruhlmann [allmusic.com]

After the commercial success of Chet Atkins' 12th 12" LP, Chet Atkins' Workshop, which peaked in the pop Top Ten in 1961, RCA Victor Records decided to turn the country guitarist into an easy listening bandleader a la Ray Conniff on his next release, The Most Popular Guitar. But that LP didn't come close to the sales of its predecessor, and after a holiday collection (Christmas With Chet Atkins) at the end of the year, RCA opted to let Atkins do what he wanted again. Hence, his 15th long-player, Down Home. The contrast from his previous secular release couldn't have been more dramatic. The scantily clad lass with the come-hither smile on the cover of The Most Popular Guitar was replaced by a front-porch-swing shot of Atkins himself, guitar in hand, a vintage car in the background, and a faithful dog at his feet. And the strings that dominated The Most Popular Guitar were replaced by Atkins' free-picking studio regulars, supporting him on a varied collection that never strayed far in the arrangements from an old-time country feeling, even when a saxophone intruded here and there. "Salty Dog Rag," the leadoff track, was not the kind of material you'd have heard on The Most Popular Guitar, but it was no doubt closer to Atkins' taste. The rest of the album, while mixing in a current movie theme ("Never on Sunday") and a swing era classic ("Tuxedo Junction"), kept doubling back to country styles. And -- what do you know? -- Down Home outpolled The Most Popular Guitar by 88 places in the Billboard LP charts, returning him to the Top 40, which seemed to indicate that when you let Atkins do what he liked, his fans probably would like it too.


Chet Atkins 1962 Caribbean Guitar (RCA LSP-2549)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Caribbean Guitar

Released: 1962
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-2549
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Mayan Dance
02 Yellow Bird
03 Wild Orchids
04 The Bandit
05 Jungle Dream
06 The Banana Boat Song
07 Montego Bay
08 Theme From "Come September"
09 Moon Over Miami
10 Come To The Mardi Gras
11 The Enchanted Sea
12 Temptation
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Chet Atkins - The Guitar Genius [Mono] [RCA Camden CAL 753] (1963)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

The Guitar Genius [Mono]

Released: 1963
Label: RCA CAMDEN
Catalog: CAL 753
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Heartbreak Hotel
02 Swanee River
03 Blackjack
04 I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time
05 Daar's 'N Wind Wat Waai
06 It's Now Or Never
07 Out Of Nowhere
08 Hidden Charm
09 Even Tho'
10 When Day Is Done
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Album Review

by Bruce Eder [allmusic.com]

The Guitar Genius is one strange album -- good, but strange -- beginning with its title. Of course there's plenty of guitar here, but there's also a surprising number of pieces that rely on vocals. It opens up with Chet Atkins' delightfully bluesy instrumental rendition of "Heartbreak Hotel," a song on whose original recording session with Elvis Presley he played -- he adds enough wrinkles of his own to it to make it work as an instrumental. From there, however, this album is somewhat of a very mixed stylistic bag, proceeding with a pop-style rendition (complete with vocal, and dizzying string pyrotechnics) of "Swanee River"; a sound effects- and vocal-laden rendition of "Blackjack" is more distracting than anything else, despite the high standard of playing -- much better is "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time," which forces a vocal (albeit a very tasteful one) on you for part of its length but gives you enough solo guitar to impress; "Out of Nowhere" is patterned similarly, but "It's Now or Never" is purely instrumental.


Chet Atkins - Travelin' [RCA Victor LSP 2678] (1963)

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ITEM# SR-RCLSP2678
Ratings: C=G; LP=G

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Travelin'

Released: 1963
Label: RCA Victor
Catalog: LSP 2678
Genre: Blues, Folk, World, & Country
Note: German Pressing


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Wheels
02 Calcutta
03 La Dolce Vita
04 Exodus
05 Baubles, Bangles And Beads
06 Naboonspruit Polka
07 Muskrat Ramble
08 Waram Patat
09 Volare
10 Mossie Se Moses
11 Sweetness
12 The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
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Album Review

Travelin' is the title of a recording by American guitarist Chet Atkins, released in 1963.

The liner notes, titled ''Smash Hit Tunes from His History-making International Tour'', portray Atkins' tour of South Africa with Jim Reeves and Floyd Cramer.

Writing for Allmusic, critic Steven Cook wrote of the album ''While often seen as no more than hokey, easy listening ephemera, Atkins' many sides from the '60s deserve a reassessment. The stellar jazz dates Atkins later did at Columbia may better showcase his jazz leanings, but these RCA discs still have a wealth of quality picking and a good share of top-drawer material.'' [wikipedia.org]


Chet Atkins: Teen Scene (1963)

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ITEM# SR-LPM2719
Ratings: C=G; LP=G+

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Teen Scene [Mono]

Released: 1963
Label: RCA
Catalog: LPM-2719
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 I Got A Woman
02 Rumpus
03 I Love How You Love Me
04 Alley Cat
05 Walk Right In
06 Back Home Again In Indiana
07 Teen Scene
08 Sweetie Baby
09 A Little Evil
10 I Will
11 Bye Bye Birdie
12 Susie-Q
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Chet Atkins - Guitar Country [RCA Victor LSP-2783] (1964)

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ITEM# SR-RCLSP2783
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Guitar Country

Released: 1964
Label: RCA Victor
Catalog: LSP-2783
Genre: Country, Jazz, Easy Listening


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Freight Train
02 A Little Bit Of Blues
03 Nine Pound Hammer
04 Dobro
05 Kentucky
06 Vaya Con Dios
07 Winter Walkin'
08 Guitar Country
09 Sugarfoot Rag
10 Gone
11 Copper Kettle
12 Yes Ma'am
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Album Review

Guitar Country is the twenty-fourth studio album by American guitarist Chet Atkins. It was nominated for the 1964 Best Country & Western Album Grammy award but did not win. It reached number 1 on the Country albums charts. Prior to 1964, there was no separate genre chart for Country LPs, thus Chet's previous charting albums were on the Pop charts. Numerous future Atkins releases ''crossed over'' from the Country and Pop charts. [wikipedia.org]


Chet Atkins 1965 Progressive Pickin' (RCA LSP-2908)

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ITEM# SR-LSP2908
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Progressive Pickin'

Released: 1964
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-2908
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Gravy Waltz
02 Love Letters
03 Early Times
04 Satan's Doll
05 Summertime
06 Kicky
07 Jordu
08 I Remember You
09 Bluesette
10 So Rare
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Chet Atkins - My Favorite Guitars [RCA Victor LSP-3316] (1964)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

My Favorite Guitars

Released: 1964
Label: RCA Victor
Catalog: LSP-3316
Genre: Folk, World, Country
NOTE: 1965 stereo release


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Levee Walking
02 Wimoweh
03 One Note Samba
04 Moon Of Manakoora
05 Travelin'
06 Say It With Soul
07 Josephine
08 Rose Ann
09 Sukiyaki
10 It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
11 El Vaquero
12 Chopin Waltz No. 10 In B Minor
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Album Review

My Favorite Guitars is the title of a recording by Chet Atkins. The guitars referred to are Atkins' signature Gretsch "Country Gentleman" electric guitar, a Brazilian Del Vecchio (guitar maker) resonator guitar presented to him by Los Indios Tabajaras, and a Spanish Juan Estruch classical guitar, all visible on the LP cover photo. It is another example of Atkins' 1960's easy-going, easy-listening guitar playing. [wikipedia.org]


Chet Atkins: Chet Atkins Picks On The Beatles (1966)

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ITEM# SR-LPM3531
Ratings: C=VG; LP=G+

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Picks On The Beatles [MONO]

Released: 1966
Label: RCA
Catalog: LPM-3531
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 I Feel Fine
02 Yesterday
03 If I Fell
04 Can't Buy Me Love
05 I'll Cry Instead
06 Things We Said Today
07 Hard Day's Night
08 I'll Follow The Sun
09 She's A Woman
10 And I Love Her
11 Michelle
12 She Loves You
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Chet Atkins - The Best Of Chet Atkins Volume 2 [MONO] (RCA LPM-3558) (1966)

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ITEM# SR-RCLPM3558
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

The Best Of Chet Atkins Volume 2 [Mono]

Released: 1966
Label: RCA
Catalog: LPM-3558
Genre: Country / Pop / Jazz
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Yakety Axe
02 Limelight
03 Josephine
04 Alley Cat
05 Whatever Will Be, Will Be
(Que Sera, Sera)
06 White Silver Sands
07 Oh, Lonesome Me
08 Never On Sunday
09 Give The World A Smile
10 Freight Train
11 Cloudy And Cool
12 Wheels
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Chet Atkins: From Nashville With Love (1966)

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ITEM# SR-LSP3647
Ratings: C=VG-; LP=VG

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

From Nashville With Love

Released: 1966
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-3647
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 La Fiesta
02 The Song From Moulin Rouge
(Where Is Your Heart)
03 Something Tender
04 Romance
05 Drina
06 Al-Di-La
07 From Nashville With Love
08 English Leather
09 After The Tears
10 Stranger On The Shore
11 Soul Journey
12 I Love Paris
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Chet Atkins: Picks The Best (1967)

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ITEM# SR-ANL10981
Ratings: C=VG; LP=VG

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Picks The Best

Originally Released: 1967 (RCA LSP-3818)
This Reissue: 1975
Label: RCA
Catalog: ANL1-0981
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 You'll Never Walk Alone
02 Lovely Weather
03 Insensatez (How Insensitive)
04 Colonel Bogey
05 Nuages
06 Anna (El Negro Zumbon)
07 Battle Hymn Of The Republic
08 All (Theme From "Run For Your Wife")
09 El Paso
10 Tears
11 I Wish I Knew
12 Ay Ay Ay
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Chet Atkins - Chet (RCA Camden CAS-2182) (1967)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Chet

Released: 1967
Label: RCA Camden
Catalog: CAS-2182
Genre: Country
NOTE: cover has a sticker and a slight tear on it
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Foggy Mountain Top
02 Truck Drivers Blues
03 Bandera
04 Make The World Go Away
05 Oh Baby Mine (I Get So Lonely)
06 Oklahoma Hills
07 Just Out Of Reach
08 Wabash Cannon Ball
09 Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)
10 Goin' Down The Road (Feelin' Bad)
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Chet Atkins - It's A Guitar World (RCA LSP-3728) (1967)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

It's A Guitar World

Released: 1967
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-3728
Genre: Country / Pop / World
T R A C K L I S T:
01 What'd I Say
02 Cast Your Fate To The Wind
03 Lara's Theme
04 A Taste Of Honey
05 For No One
06 Pickin' Nashville
07 January In Bombay
08 Ranjana
09 Et Maintenant (What Now My Love)
10 'Na Voce, 'Na Chitarra E'O Poco 'E Luna
11 Star Time
12 Sempre
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Album Review

Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

This attractive LP from Chester Burton Atkins purports to leap international boundaries, but for the most part, he stays right home in Nashville. Categories certainly go by the boards as Atkins seamlessly translates "What'd I Say" into his fingerpicking language and Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" gets a lovely straight-ahead treatment. There are also then-recent hits from the Tijuana Brass ("A Taste of Honey," "What Now My Love"), a quiet solo rendering of the Beatles' "For No One," and some ventures south of the border. The most intriguing, and certainly most bizarre, international experiment is a brief session with Indian sitarist Harihar Rao, who just happened to be passing through Nashville. "January in Bombay" is really "The Battle of New Orleans" with Rao strumming wildly, incoherently, on the gopi (either Rao had gone avant-garde or, more likely, he avant garde a clue), but then Rao gets some responsive sitar licks going as the track fades. "Ranjana" has a sitar lead with Atkins playing in unison, but the tune is quite Western and the backing is straight Nashville country, with a drone and a solo on one chord by Rao, and another by Atkins in his own countrified idiom. Hey, it was 1967, and India was in, but this fusion really needed a shotgun to make it happen.


Chet Atkins - Class Guitar (RCA LSP-3885) (1967)

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ITEM# SR-RCLSP3885
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Class Guitar

Released: 1967
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-3885
Genre: Country / Classical Guitar
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Yellow Bird
02 Malaguenas
03 Morenita Do Brazil
04 Testament Of Amelia
05 Acutely Cute
06 Little Music Box / Lagrima
07 El Humahuaqueno
08 Ave Maria (Schubert)
09 Scherzino Mexicano
10 Manha De Carnaval
11 Cancion Triste
12 To Be In Love
13 I Feel Pretty
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Chet Atkins: Solo Flights (1968)

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ITEM# SR-LSP3922
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG-

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Solo Flights

Released: 1968
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-3922
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Drive-In
02 Three Little Words
03 Autumn Leaves
04 Chet's Tune
05 Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
06 Cheek To Cheek
07 Cindy, Oh Cindy
08 When You Wish Upon A Star
09 Music To Watch Girls By
10 Choro Da Saudade
11 Gonna Get Along Without You Now
12 Georgy Girl
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

Though incredibly busy running RCA Victor's Nashville operation, Chet Atkins still found some time and enterprise to perform some musical experiments on his own. It was a simple idea, really, replacing the two lower strings on his electric guitar with the E and A strings from an electric bass, thus lowering the tone by an octave and creating a fuller balance. With this idea, Atkins' disarmingly easygoing fingerpicking facility threatened to put every bass player in Nashville out of business, but the so-called "Octabass Guitar" evidently wasn't pursued much further. Indeed, only on side one of this LP do listeners hear the new instrument on a series of mostly jazz and pop standards -- including the newly minted Joe Zawinul soul/jazz vehicle "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." The bass strings give the tracks a different sound, but since one man is playing two parts in the same unified manner style, listeners will not really perceive the illusion of a genuine guitar/bass duet. The side also contains a polished remake of "Chet's Tune," the song on which just about every artist on RCA Victor's Nashville roster had pitched in on to surprise their label boss earlier that year. Side two is simplicity itself; delicate, lovingly caressed solo acoustic guitar tracks with only an occasional celesta or hi-hat cymbal set in the background. Give "Gonna Get Along Without You Now" the most points for likeability on this low-key side. All told, this is one of Atkins' more pleasing collections from that era.


Chet Atkins - Hometown Guitar [RCA Victor LSP-4017] (1968)

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ITEM# SR-RCLSP4017
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Hometown Guitar

Released: 1968
Label: RCA Victor
Catalog: LSP-4017
Genre: Folk, World, & Country


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Big Daddy
02 Sittin' On Top Of The World
03 Huntin' Boots
04 Blue Guitar
05 Cattle Call
06 Back To Old Smoky Mountain
07 Sweet Georgia Brown
08 Blue Angel
09 Get On With It
10 Reed's Ramble
11 Pickin' Pot Pie
12 The Last Thing On My Mind
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Album Review

Hometown Guitar is the thirty-fourth studio album by Chet Atkins. It peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. [wikipedia.org]


Chet Atkins: Solid Gold '68 (1968)

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ITEM# SR-LSP4061
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Solid Gold '68

Released: 1968
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4061
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Slick
02 Lady Madonna
03 Prayer Meetin'
04 Sealed With A Kiss
05 Stoned Soul Picnic
06 The Sound Of Silence
07 Mrs. Robinson
08 Harper Valley Pta
09 Light My Fire
10 Sleep Safe And Warm
11 Grazing In The Grass
12 It Never Hurts To Ask
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

By 1968, Chet Atkins was so caught up in the Nashville music machine that he helped create -- and perhaps so consumed with production and executive tasks -- that putting much thought into his own records had to take a back seat. Either that or forces out of his control told him to do this and that. Hence Solid Gold '68, a mostly overproduced, perfunctory collection of period pop hits that does neither the guitarist nor the tunes much good. Atkins mostly ambles through things like "Lady Madonna," "The Sound of Silence," "Harper Valley P.T.A.," and "Grazing in the Grass" in his easygoing pop/rock mode, although he does display some Southern-tinged affinity for Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic." The orchestrations by Nashville mainstay Bill Walker are hackwork; those by Cam Mullins are somewhat better, with more personality. Only completists who must hear everything need search for this.


Chet Atkins: Solid Gold '69 (1969)

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ITEM# SR-LSP4244
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Solid Gold '69

Released: 1969
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4244
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Aquarius
02 Both Sides Now
03 Son Of A Preacher Man
04 My Way
05 Blackbird
06 I'll Never Fall In Love Again
07 So What's New
08 Folsom Prison Blues
09 Jean
10 Love Theme From "Romeo And Juliet"
11 Hey Jude
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Lover's Guitar

Released: 1969
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4135
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Recuerdos De La Alhambra
02 Theme From "Zorba The Greek"
03 Hawaiian Wedding Song
04 The Look Of Love
05 Cajita De Musica (Little Music Box)
06 Cancion Del Viento (Song Of The Wind)
07 Estudio Brillante
08 La Madrugada (The Early Dawn)
09 If I Should Lose You
10 Those Were The Days
11 The Odd Folks Of Okracoke
12 Until It's Time For You To Go
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Chet Atkins: Chet Picks On The Pops (1969) Chet Atkins / Spanish Harlem from "Chet Picks On The Pops"

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ITEM# SR-LSC3104
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Chet Picks On The Pops

Released: 1969
Label: RCA Red Seal
Catalog: LSC-3104
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pops
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Delilah
02 Ode To Billy Joe
03 Scarborough Fair / Canticle
04 Wimoweh
05 By The Time I Get To Phoenix
06 This Guy's In Love With You
07 Spanish Harlem
08 Galveston
09 The Last Waltz
10 The Battle Of New Orleans /
Sugarfoot Rag
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

It was considered a badge of honor for a pop artist to play with the Boston Pops in Arthur Fiedler's day -- a sure sign that he or she had made it -- and Fiedler could make nearly any improbable combination of artists and styles sound zesty and original. Nevertheless, it is still surprising how well this experiment works, despite the formulaic driving idea (symphonic treatments of '60s pop hits). For that, one can thank Atkins' superb taste; Fiedler's enthusiasm; some good, idiomatically sweeping sympho-pop arrangements by Boston Pops stalwart Richard Hayman; and the fabulously resonant acoustics of Boston's Symphony Hall. With a twist or two of the harmonies and some tasty echo delay work, Chet turns Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe" into a haunting piece of work, just as effective in its way as the original hit single. "Wimoweh" lifts off with a fine kicking beat and some pithy finger-picking, and as the sole nod to Atkins' Tennessee roots, the LP concludes with a medley of "The Battle of New Orleans" and "Sugarfoot Rag" that is both inflated and loads of fun. The nice thing about this album -- the second Atkins/Fiedler session -- is that it is a collaboration, not just a star solo turn with orchestral backing, with Atkins fitting comfortably into the Boston Pops' then-distinctive sound.


Chet Atkins 1969 Relaxin' With Chet (RCA Camden CAS-2296)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Relaxin' With Chet

Released: 1969
Label: RCA Camden
Catalog: CAS-2296
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop / Blues
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Blues For Dr. Joe
02 Sophisticated Lady
03 Yesterdays
04 Say "Si Si"
05 Vilia
06 Martha
07 In The Chapel In The Moonlight
08 Czardas
09 Nagasaki
10 April In Portugal
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Chet Atkins - The Nashville String Band (Atkins - Homer And Jethro) (RCA LSP-4274) (1969)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins w/Homer and Jethro

Title:

The Nashville String Band

Released: 1969
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4274
Genre: Country / Easy Listening
T R A C K L I S T:
01 La Fiesta
02 Yellow Bird
03 El Paso
04 Granada
05 Adios Amigos
06 La Golondrina (The Swallow)
07 Caribbean
08 Tomorrow's Tears
09 Maria Elena
10 Drina
11 In A Little Spanish Town
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Album Review

The Nashville String Band is an album by The Nashville String Band. The band consisted of Chet Atkins and Homer and Jethro. Chet produced many of Homer & Jethro's later RCA albums and they in turn performed on a number of his.

They released 6 albums on the RCA label. [wikipedia.org]


Chet Atkins - C.B. Atkins And C.E. Snow By Special Request (With Hank Snow) (RCA LSP-4254) (1970)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins and Hank Snow

Title:

C.B. Atkins And C.E. Snow By Special Request

Released: 1970
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4254
Genre: Country
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Limbo Rock
02 Tammy
03 Wheels
04 Everybody Does It In Hawaii
05 Tiptoeing
06 Poison Love
07 Hold Me Tight
08 Jamaica Farewell
09 I Saw The Light
10 The Green Leaves Of Summer
11 Difficult
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Album Review

by John Haight [sonic-recreation.com]

Beautiful guitar duets.


Chet Atkins: Yestergroovin' (1970)

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ITEM# SR-LSP4331
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Yestergroovin'

Released: 1970
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4331
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Steeplechase Lane
02 Tennessee Pride
03 Rocky Top
04 Gotta Travel On
05 Cherokee
06 Country Champagne
07 Liberty
08 Inka Dinka Doo
09 Bring Me Sunshine
10 Yestergroovin'
11 How High The Moon
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

The double-fold cover of this sleeper in Chet Atkins's huge catalogue depicts an old-fashioned general store in the country -- and in a sense, that's what this LP is, a throwback to some of his earlier, less-cluttered, more musical albums. It's a relaxed, friendly, assured package, where the jazz, rock, electronic and other elements in playing reveal themselves modestly within the countrified context. The leadoff track "Steeplechase Lane" is clearly the best thing on the record, a great nostalgic Jerry Reed tune, with beautiful finger-picking, harmonics, and staccato work by Atkins. The wheezy old Jimmy Durante signature "Inka Dinka Doo" is brought up to date (as of 1970) via a wah-wah pedal and "Tennessee Pride" is actually a tense country-rocker. Of the jazz-oriented standards, "Cherokee" finds him using octaves, harmonics, sophisticated chords, and a jazz organ backing, and "How High The Moon" is easily slotted into the Chet Atkins finger-picking groove. Lovely record; one of his best from this period.


Chet Atkins: Me And Jerry (with Jerry Reed) (1970)

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ITEM# SR-LSP4396
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Me And Jerry [With Jerry Reed]

Released: 1970
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4396
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Tennessee Stud
02 Bridge Over Troubled Water
03 Macarthur Park
04 Old Man River
05 Nut Sundae
06 Cannonball Rag
07 Wreck Of The John B
08 Stump Water
09 The January-February March
10 Something
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Album Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine [allmusic.com]

Me & Jerry may be the first of Chet & Jerry's recorded duets, but it's so relaxed in its interplay that it's clear that the two guitarists had been picking together for a long time. It's that smooth, easy feel that's the chief appeal of Me & Jerry, but it's also deceptive, hiding just how clever the duo's rearrangements of "MacArthur Park" and "Something" are. Then again, virtuosity is always more appealing when it doesn't call attention to itself, a trap Atkins and Reed always avoid here. The two simply lay back and play, trading lines and licks with an easy grace, having so much fun that it's impossible to not share in their joy.


Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer, Boots Randolph: Chet, Floyd And Boots (1971) Chet Atkins / From Nashville With Love from "Chet, Floyd And Boots"

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ITEM# SR-CAS2523
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Artist:

Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer, Boots Randolph

Title:

Chet, Floyd And Boots

Released: 1971
Label: RCA Camden Pickwick
Catalog: CAS-2523
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Hot Mocking Bird
(Chet Atkins)
02 Piano Roll Rock
(Floyd Cramer)
03 Big Daddy
(Boots Randolph)
04 Oh Lonesome Me
(Chet Atkins)
05 Georgia On My Mind
(Floyd Cramer)
06 Yakety Sax
(Boots Randolph)
07 From Nashville With Love
(Chet Atkins)
08 Cast Your Fate To The Wind
(Floyd Cramer)
09 Temptation
(Boots Randolph)
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Chet Atkins - For The Good Times And Other Country Moods [RCA LSP-4464] (1971)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

For The Good Times And Other Country Moods

Released: 1971
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4464
Genre: Country
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Snowbird
02 Chaplin In New Shoes
03 Walk Right Back
04 Tuck Me To Sleep In My Old Kentucky Home
05 Vesti la giubba
06 For The Good Times And Other Country Moods
07 El Condor Pasa
08 Just One Time
09 Together Alone
10 Theme from "Love Story"
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Chet Atkins 1971 Pickin' My Way (RCA LSP-4585)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Pickin' My Way

Released: 1971
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4585
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
NOTE: LP jacket has a notch cut out
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Lover Come Back To Me
02 The Boxer
03 Hellacious
04 I Never Knew
05 Wabash Blues
06 Black Mountain Rag
07 Junk
08 When You Wish Upon Star
09 Floatin' Down To Cotton Town
10 Pickin' My Way
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Chet Atkins - Nashville Gold (RCA Camden CAS-2555) (1972)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Nashville Gold

Released: 1972
Label: RCA Camden
Catalog: CAS-2555
Genre: Country / Easy Listening
T R A C K L I S T:
01 La Fiesta
02 Down Home
03 I Know How You Love Me
04 I Got A Woman
05 Whispering
06 Alley Cat
07 Arkansaw Traveler
08 Spanish Harlem
09 Django's Castle
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Chet Atkins 1972 Picks On The Hits (RCA LSP-4754)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Picks On The Hits

Released: 1972
Label: RCA
Catalog: LSP-4754
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 The Masterpiece
02 After Midnight
03 Song Sung Blue
04 An Old Fashioned Love Song
05 Amazing Grace
06 Sweet Caroline
07 I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)
08 Vincent
09 Love Theme From "The Godfather"
10 Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
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Chet Atkins: Now And ... Then (1972)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Now And ... Then

Released: 1972 (recorded 1947-1972)
Label: RCA
Catalog: VPSX-6079
NOTE: 2LPs on 1CD
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Canned Heat
(Rec 8.11.47)
02 Galloping On The Guitar
(Rec 2.3.49)
03 Main Street Breakdown
(Rec 10.13.49)
04 Sweet Bunch Of Daisies
(Rec 10.11.51)
05 Chinatown, My Chinatown
(Rec 7.30.52)
06 Oh! By Jingo, Oh! By Gee!
(You're The Only Girl For Me)
(Rec 3.18.53)
07 Country Gentleman
(Rec 3.20.53)
08 Trambone
(Rec 11.29.56)
09 Walk Don't Run
(Rec 7.14.57)
10 Slinkey
(Rec 5.3.58)
11 Boo Boo Stick Beat
(Rec 7.25.59)
12 Blue Steel Blues
(Rec 8.28.61)
13 Freight Train
(Rec 10.1.63)
14 Yakety Axe
(Rec 4.23.65)
15 The Bilbao Song
(Rec 3.23.66)
16 Music To Watch Girls By
(Rec 1.2.68)
17 Blue Angel
(Rec 5.24.68)
18 Mrs. Robinson
(Rec 8.23.68)
19 Estudio Brillante
(Rec 11.19.68)
20 The Odd Folks Of Okracoke
(Rec 12.24.68)
21 Steeplechase Lane
(Rec 1.26.70)
22 El Condor Pasa
(Rec 11.23.70)
23 Snowbird
(Rec 12.11.70)
24 Black Mountain Rag
(Rec 7.14.71)
25 Knee Action
(Rec 6.23.72)
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

Up until the 1990s, this handsome double-LP set was the most recommendable -- and most affordable -- Chet Atkins anthology. It does its share of hunting through the vaults, starting with Atkins' first recording session in 1947 and continuing through a fine cross-section of his early, small-combo fingerpicking sides in the '40s and '50s. The early Django Reinhardt influence shows most explicitly in the rhythm backdrop to "Galloping on the Guitar," and there are such style-defining records as "Main Street Breakdown," "Country Gentleman," and the early rendition of "Walk, Don't Run" that inspired the Ventures. The late '50s bring on some effects experiments like the backwards dynamic attacks of the rock-ish "Trambone" and the proto-wah-wah effects of the delightfully peculiar "Boo Boo Stick Beat." Into the 1960s, the set quickly builds toward Atkins' biggest hit, "Yakety Axe," and chooses wisely among the prolific stream of tracks from uneven albums, staying away from orchestrated cover tunes until fairly late in the game, the last track of side three ("Mrs. Robinson"). The pickings in the late '60s and early '70s are especially good, with delectable things like the solo acoustic "The Odd Folks of Okracoke," Jerry Reed's tunefest "Steeplechase Lane," or the rambunctuous return to Atkins' rural roots on "Black Mountain Rag." The original album came with a handsome booklet containing several photos and a biography/interview of Atkins by Nashville writer Red O'Donnell where the guitarist is characteristically modest and self-critical. The sessions aren't documented as well as A Legendary Performer -- in fact, they're not documented at all except for the recording dates -- nor does it include many of the gems that other anthologies offer, nor is the temptation of fake stereo avoided on the mono tracks. But all told, this is the best summary of Atkins' contributions on the guitar up to that time.


Chet Atkins - Alone [RCA APL1-0159] (1973)

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ITEM# SR-APL10159
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Alone

Released: 1973
Label: RCA
Catalog: APL1-0159
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Hawaiian Slack Key
02 The Claw
03 Spanish Fandango
04 Flop Eared Mule And Other Classics
05 Over The Waves
06 Just As I Am
07 Take Five
08 Smile
09 Blue Finger
10 Me And Bobby Mcgee
11 Londonderry Air
12 The Watkins Man
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Chet Atkins & Les Paul: Chester And Lester (1976)

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Artist:

Chet Atkins & Les Paul

Title:

Chester And Lester

Released: 1976
Label: RCA
Catalog: APL1-1167
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 It's Been A Long Time
02 Medley: Moonglow /
Picnic (Theme from "Picnic")
03 Caravan
04 It Had To Be You
05 Out Of Nowhere
06 Avalon
07 Birth Of The Blues
08 Someday Sweetheart
09 Deed I Do
10 Lover Come Back To Me
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

After eight years away from the microphones, Les Paul joined forces with country music's Chet Atkins in a marvelously relaxed, tasty session of cross-cultural jamming. The sound of the backup band may be Nashville country, but the tunes, mostly drawn from Paul's repertoire, are jazz and pop standards ("Caravan," "It's Been a Long, Long Time," "Avalon," etc.). Both players improvise, duel and converse with the spontaneity of jazz always in the air -- and unlike almost all of Les' recordings since 1947, there is no overdubbing except on "Caravan" and "Lover, Come Back to Me." You won't have any problem telling Chester and Lester apart on these tracks; Les' bright, almost metallic sound and twirling, yet now more economical flurries are a world away from Chet's mellow fingerpicking, lightly tarted with echo. Yet the two styles play brilliantly off each other; one potent example occurs as Chet superimposes the theme from "Picnic" from his repertoire over Les' statement of "Moonglow." A lot of the between-takes session chatter is intentionally left in, with Les's hotfoot voice trading quips with Chet's Tennessee drawl. On "Avalon," heard in two consecutive takes at different speeds, the dialogue is particularly funny, as Atkins mockingly tries to browbeat his old idol. This album (now on CD) had the effect of putting Les Paul well on the road toward canonization by young rock guitarslingers who noticed his name on Gibson instruments.


Chet Atkins: A Legendary Performer, Volume One (1977)

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ITEM# SR-CPL12503
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

A Legendary Performer, Volume One

Released: 1977
Label: RCA
Catalog: CPL1-2503
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Ain'tcha Tired Of Makin' Me Blue (Mono)
02 I've Been Working On The Guitar (Mono)
03 Barber Shop Rag
04 Chinatown, My Chinatown (Mono)
05 Oh! By Jingo! Oh! By Gee!
06 Tiger Rag (Mono)
07 Jitterbug Waltz
08 A Little Bit Of Blues
09 How's The World Treating You
10 Medley: In The Pines;
Wildwood Flower;
On Top Of Old Smoky
11 Michelle
12 Chet's Tune
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Album Review

by Richard S. Ginell [allmusic.com]

Part of RCA's attractive Legendary Performer LP series, the Chet Atkins volume doesn't offer any unreleased goodies, but it does dig deeply into his catalog, resurrecting some rarities and truly choice cuts from the guitar master's first 20 years with the label. Intelligently and chronologically laid out one decade per side, Side A (1947-1957) deals with the early combo fingerpicking sessions, while Side B (1958-1967) is more of a summary of Atkins' profound influence on the Nashville Sound and his stylistic versatility. The set starts with the first song from the first session Atkins made for RCA Victor, "Ain'tcha Tired of Making Me Blue," back when he was being marketed as a vocalist -- a disarmingly modest one with a soft, undiluted East Tennessee accent. "I've Been Working on the Guitar" (Railroad) from three months later finds Atkins' country fingerpicking style pretty well established, and later comes a delightfully jangling "Barber Shop Rag" from 1949 and some fancy electric picking on "Tiger Rag" from 1957. Things turn countrypolitan in a hurry on Side B with the sublime, string-laden "Jitterbug Waltz" -- from a favorite LP of audiophiles, Chet Atkins in Hollywood -- some urbanely funky Jerry Reed blues ("A Little Bit of Blues"), an uneventful medley of backwoods tunes from Atkins' first session with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and a lovely fingerpicking rendition of the Beatles' "Michelle." The most entertaining -- and endearing -- find of the album is "Chet's Tune," a surprise tribute to Atkins by what seems like RCA Victor's entire 1967 Nashville roster, one after another chiming in, one overdubbed line at a time. Here's the extraordinary list of contributors: Floyd Cramer, Jerry Reed. Eddy Arnold, Dottie West, Archie Campbell, Bobby Bare, Norma Jean, George Hamilton IV, Skeeter Davis, Jimmy Dean, Hank Locklin, Jim Ed Brown, Hank Snow, John D. Loudermilk, Connie Smith, Homer & Jethro, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Porter Wagoner, and as a final tweak of the knee, cornpone comedian Don Bowman. This was released only on an obscure single at the time -- and alone, it's worth the hunt for the album. As usual in this series, RCA includes a fascinating booklet loaded with rare photos, session log sheets, and assorted documents. Why RCA mixed genuine monaural tracks with fake stereo ones instead of issuing them all in mono -- and then mistakenly crediting "Jitterbug Waltz" as fake stereo when in fact, it's the real stereo article -- is something only the marketing geniuses can explain, if at all.


Chet Atkins: Country -- After All These Years (1981)

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ITEM# SR-AHL14044
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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Country -- After All These Years

Released: 1981
Label: RCA
Catalog: AHL1-4044
Genre: Country / Jazz / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Orange Blossom Special
02 Ready For The Times To Get Better
03 On The Road Again
04 Storms Never Last
05 Wildwood Flower Arrangement
06 Heart Of Glass
07 Sugar Bush
08 Let 'Em In
09 I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me
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Chet Atkins - Stay Tuned [Columbia FC 39591] (1985)

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ITEM# SR-COFC39591
Ratings: C=VG-; LP=VG+

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Artist:

Chet Atkins

Title:

Stay Tuned

Released: 1985
Label: Columbia
Catalog: FC 39591
Genre: Jazz, Folk, World, & Country


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Sunrise
02 Please Stay Tuned
03 Quiet Eyes
04 A Mouse In The House
05 Some Leather And Lace
06 The Cricket Ballet
07 Cosmic Square Dance
08 The Boot And The Stone
09 Tap Room
10 If I Should Lose You
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Album Review

Cub Koda [allmusic.com]

After decades of recording for RCA Victor, Atkins switched labels; this 1985 effort is a summit meeting of sorts with young guitar hotshots like Larry Carlton, George Benson, Mark Knopfler, Steve Lukather, and Earl Klugh, plus session A-teamers like Boots Randolph, Larrie Londin, David Hungate, Mark O'Connor and others. Atkins' tone is, as usual, faultless, and his playing superb. If the ''meetings'' don't always come off, it's usually due to the overzealousness of the other guitar players (Lukather's over-the-top style screams '80s big hair, for instance), not Chet, whose playing always exercises the utmost in restraint in every situation. All in all, a good modern-day Chet Atkins album, but not the place to start a collection.

Artist Biography

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine [allmusic.com]

Without Chet Atkins, country music may never have crossed over into the pop charts in the '50s and '60s. Although he recorded hundreds of solo records, Atkins' largest influence came as a session musician and a record producer. During the '50s and '60s, he helped create the Nashville sound, a style of country music that owed nearly as much to pop as it did to honky tonks.

And as a guitarist, he was without parallel. Atkins' style grew out of his admiration for Merle Travis, expanding Travis' signature syncopated thumb and fingers roll into new territory. Interestingly, Atkins didn't begin his musical career by playing guitar. On the recommendation of his older brother, Lowell, he began playing the fiddle at a child. However, Chet was still attracted to the guitar, and at the age of nine he traded a pistol for a guitar. Atkins learned his instrument rapidly, becoming an accomplished player by the time he left high school in 1941. Using a variety of contacts, he wound up performing on the Bill Carlisle Show on WNOX in Knoxville, TN, as well as becoming part of the Dixie Swingers. Atkins worked with Homer & Jethro while he was at the radio station. After three years, he moved to a radio station in Cincinnati.

Supporting Red Foley, Atkins made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in 1946. That same year, he made his first records, recording for Bullet. Atkins also began making regular performances on the WRVA radio station in Richmond, VA, but he was repeatedly fired because his musical arrangements differed from the expectations of the station's executives. He eventually moved to Springfield, MO, working for the KWTO station. A tape of one of Atkins' performances was sent to RCA Victor's office in Chicago. Eventually, it worked its way to Steve Sholes, the head of country music at RCA. Sholes had heard Atkins previously, and had been trying to find him for several years. By the time Sholes heard the tape, Atkins had moved to Denver, and was playing with Shorty Thompson & His Rangers. Upon receiving the call from RCA, he moved to Nashville to record.

Once he arrived in Nashville, Atkins recorded eight tracks for the label, five of which featured the guitarist singing. Impressed by his playing, Sholes made Atkins the studio guitarist for all of the RCA studio's Nashville sessions in 1949. The following year, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters hired him as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, making his place in Nashville's musical community secure. While he worked for RCA, he played on many hit records and helped fashion the Nashville sound. RCA appreciated his work and made him a consultant to the company's Nashville division in 1953. That year, the label began to issue a number of instrumental albums that showcased Atkins' considerable talents. Two years later, he scored his first hit with a version of "Mr. Sandman"; it was followed by "Silver Bell," a duet with Hank Snow. By the late '50s, Atkins was known throughout the music industry as a first-rate player. Not only did his records sell well, he designed guitars for Gibson and Gretsch; the popularity of these models continues to the present day.

Sholes left for New York in 1957 to act as head of pop A&R, leaving Atkins as the manager of RCA's Nashville division. However, the guitarist didn't abandon performing, and throughout the early '60s his star continued to rise. He played the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960; in 1961, he performed at the White House. Atkins had his first Top Five hit in 1965 with a reworking of Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax," retitled "Yakety Axe"; in addition to being a sizable country hit, the song crossed over to the pop charts. Atkins' role behind the scenes was thriving as well. He produced hits for the majority of RCA's Nashville acts, including Elvis Presley and Eddy Arnold, and discovered a wealth of talent, including Don Gibson, Waylon Jennings, Floyd Cramer, Charley Pride, Bobby Bare, and Connie Smith. Because of his consistent track record, Atkins was promoted to vice president of RCA's country division when Sholes died in 1968.

The following year, Atkins had his last major hit single, "Country Gentleman." In the late '60s and early '70s, several minor hits followed, but only one song, "Prissy" (1968), made it into the Top 40. Instead, the guitarist's major musical contribution in the early part of the '70s was with Homer & Jethro. Under the name the Nashville String Band, the trio released five albums between 1970 and 1972. Following Homer's death, Atkins continued to work with Jethro.

Atkins continued to record for RCA throughout the '70s, although he was creatively stifled by the label by the end of the decade. The guitarist wanted to record a jazz album, but he was met with resistance by the label. In 1982, he left the label and signed with Columbia, releasing his first album for the label, Work It Out With Chet Atkins, in 1983. During his time at Columbia, Atkins departed from his traditional country roots, demonstrating that he was a bold and tasteful jazz guitarist as well. He did return to country on occasion, particularly on duet albums with Mark Knopfler and Jerry Reed, but by and large, Atkins' Columbia records demonstrated a more adventurous guitarist than was previously captured on his RCA albums.

Sadly, Atkins was diagnosed with cancer, and in 1997 doctors removed a tumor from his brain. In his last months, the cancer had made Atkins inactive, and he finally lost the battle on June 30, 2001, at his home in Nashville. Throughout his career, Chet Atkins earned numerous awards, including 11 Grammy awards and nine CMA Instrumentalist of the Year honors, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from NARAS. Although his award list is impressive, it only begins to convey his contribution to country music.
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