Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins in Hollywood

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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' 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.

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