Chet Atkins

My Favorite Guitars/It's a Guitar World

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Chet Atkins' albums of easygoing easy listening guitar playing had become a standard feature of the RCA Victor release schedule by the mid-'60s, and this two-fer CD reissue combines two typical efforts, Atkins' 22nd 12" LP, My Favorite Guitars (1965), and his 26th, It's a Guitar World (1967). The two albums were united -- nominally -- by their international themes. Like such earlier efforts as Travelin', both albums feature songs referring to faraway places or having vaguely exotic themes -- at least, some of the time. Of course, the guitarist and his cronies never left Nashville, but that didn't keep them from referring to South Africa ("Wimoweh"), Brazil ("One Note Samba"), the South Seas ("Moon of Manakoora"), Japan ("Sukiyaki"), India ("January in Bombay"), Russia ("Lara's Theme"), and France ("Et Maintenant [What Now My Love]"), among other places. Often, of course, they were traveling no farther than the American hit parade with such choices, and the jazz ("It Don't Mean a Thing [If It Ain't Got That Swing]") and R&B ("What'd I Say") covers didn't fit the theme, but that didn't matter. The title My Favorite Guitars signaled that Atkins was playing his three choice instruments, an electric, an acoustic, and a classical instrument, on different songs. He also offered a fine solo version of the Beatles' "For No One" and combined with visiting sitarist Harihar Rao for "Ranjana," reflecting the mid-'60s vogue for Indian sounds. Somehow, it all came out sounding like what it was, music made by Music Row pros. But that remained hard to fault.

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