Chet Atkins

Our Man in Nashville

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If any of RCA Victor's extensive series of "Our Man in So-and-So" albums bore the ring of truth, it was this one, for Chet Atkins indeed was RCA's point man in Nashville, in charge of the operation. For all of that, Chester remains his usual unclassifiable self, dealing out the country picking, smooth easy listening guitar, jazz, and even some very mild rock & roll on this session, with some overdubbed strings discreetly decorating a few tracks. "The Old Double Shuffle" bears a slight resemblance to "If I Had a Hammer," and "A House in New Orleans" is an Atkins paraphrase of "St. James Infirmary," which converts to his finger-picking style, with help from trumpet and harmonica soloists. Setting an example for his A&R department, Atkins respectfully plays the tunes of Ben E. King's "Spanish Harlem" and the Burl Ives hit "A Little Bitty Tear" in perfectly straight fashion. However, the tune of "Goodnight Irene" is thoroughly dodged and embroidered in elegant style, with some nice harmonica (Charlie McCoy?). And, as on so many Atkins albums, there is at least one track that one can develop a guilty addiction to for no particular reason; here, it's the happy-go-lucky "Always on Saturday."

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