Chet Atkins


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This budget-priced three-disc Australian import -- on RCA, so it's official -- compiles Chet Atkins' work from the early '50s to about 1980. Basically, from the time he became "Mr. Guitar" to the end of his prime -- though Atkins remained a monster guitarist until his death in 2001. You would have to know Atkins' music to get any of this because, besides a track listing and a cursory essay on how great he was, there is literally no discographical information provided here. Still, there's enough of his well-known material here for any fan to sit up and take notice, such as "Mr. Sandman," "Barbershop Rag," "Hot Toddy" and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," both with Les Paul, "Teensville," "Sleepwalk," "Terry on the Turnpike" with Boots Randolph, "Make the World Go Away," "Rocky Top," "Tennessee Stud" and "Mystery Train," both with Jerry Reed, and of course, the amazing "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" with Dolly Parton. The vast majority, of course, are instrumentals by Atkins. There are 51 tracks spread over the three discs, sound quality is more than acceptable if not pristine, and the price is right at about 20 dollars. For those who are not given to musicological pursuits, this is a fine set. For those who are, better to seek out some of the Bear Family projects.

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