of the 50s, 60s and beyond....

Chet Atkins

1924 - 2001

Well,Chet has been my musical company as long as I can think back to to the early teenage days in the 50th. Somehow he never got me real “high” -  like dancing and shouting with the music - after all his music did not compete with  R&R  music. But he was THERE all the time. His guitar artistry grew more and more sophisticated . And when he got together with other artists - he was the one to take the lead. I think of some numbers accompanied by a Sitar ( with Harihar Rao - “January In Bombay “ ) or the album “Reminiscing” with Hank Snow ( Yes, he could play the guitar, too ! ). And then the epitomy of enjoyment for us R&R fans came when Mark Knopfler joined him for a session to record that extraordinary album “Neck And Neck”. . The duo Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins also produced great music - that kind of  music you certainly won’t run into for a  v e r y  long time.

When Chet appeared on stage - not being able to play any more due to a stroke - I suffered. When he died in 2001 the whole “Guitar World” cried. Just look up his official site  WWW.Misterguitar.comand you will get all the information you need.

Here a short summary of his musical life ( taken from various sites ):

Chet Atkins started his  career in New York as the manager of RCA's Nashville division. in 1957 to act as head of pop A&R. However, he 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 5 hit in 1965 with a reworking of Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax," retitled "Yakety Axe;" The song crossed over to the pop charts. Atkins' role behind the scene 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 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.
In 1982, he 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. Throughout his career, Chet Atkins earned numerous awards, including 11 Grammy awards and nine CMA "Instrumentalist of the Year" honors, as well as "Lifetime Achievement Award" from NARAS.

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My personal top 5

1

Poor Boy Blues

2

Nifty Fifties

3

Vincent

4

Around The Bend

5

Yakety Axe

1

2

Poor Boy Blues - Mark Knopfler and Chet having a lot of fun riding along music lane at high speed - pure fun to listen to.

Nifty Fifties - Full guitar sound, soft and yet powerful - just a pleasure to bathe in the sound.. 

3

VINCENT - Don McLean must love it -a great song raised to a new level of artistry. The song was played in the Grand Old Opry for Chet’s funeral..... 

4

Around The Bend - The introduction .to this song conveys a distinct atmosphere of wide open spaces and nature - would you have guessed Chet did that kind of music, too ?

5

YAKETY AXE - Almost a classic since 1965 - and then this remake together with Mark Knopfler! I just love the power of this song. Very interesting the change of style of this almost “rockish” version in contrast to the fast runs of the original version. Definitely one of the enduring instrumentals.

Brahm’s Lullaby - Younger folks may wonder why I picked this particular album “Chet Atkins and Hank Snow” and this particular song  as a bonus. The song itself old as Brahms himself , but the combination of an electric and acoustic guitar, exchanging the main tune back and forth - absolutely clean and perfect - certainly deserves the due attention. I put it here in its full length - knowing that somewhere someone will also get the enjoyment out of it as I do. Relax , lean back and listen to those two guys  :-).

Links:

The Official Website Of Chet Atkins

I Like Chet Atkins.- Fan Site

Fan Site