This critically acclaimed 1980 release by two musical legends has finally made it to CD, and listeners are all the more fortunate because of it. Two of the finest guitarists the world has ever produced are together on one fun-filled record. It's odd to imagine, but a fact nonetheless, that Doc Watson and Chet Atkins both sprang from the Great Smoky Mountains at almost the same time, and really didn't grow up all that far down the road from one another. It's also interesting to note that each of them idolized the guitarist Merle Travis to such an extent that both men named their children after the picker (Doc's son, Merle Watson, and Chet's daughter, Merle Atkins). Chet Atkins was by far one of the most popular guitarists of all time, and his six-string magic shines brightly here. The red-hot picking flows like water from a backyard faucet on "Dill Pickle Rag," an old '30s ragtime number. More ragtime is included in the medley "Tennessee Rag/Beaumont Rag"; "Texas Gales/Old Joe Clark," is another medley that allows both musicians to show their stuff. The flat-picking is marvelous. The same holds true for "Black and White/Ragtime Annie." "Flatt Did It" was written by Atkins and Watson to commemorate the musical accomplishments of their friend, the late Lester Flatt, and they fill the piece with enough Flatt-inspired licks to please any Flatt & Scruggs fan. There are also some really nice vocals on the record, one of the finest of which is "You're Gonna Be Sorry," an old Alton and Rabon Delmore tune from the '40s. There is also the tongue-in-cheek "Me and Chet Made a Record" and the outstanding Karl Davis composition "Don't Monkey 'Round My Widder." "Goodnight Waltz" is a beautiful old Midnight Ramblers song, and Atkins and Watson create an impressive interpretation from beginning to end. The set closes with the foot-stompin' spiritual "On My Way to Canaan's Land," with an arrangement from Atkins and Watson that incorporates a few names of fellow country music artists, adding another personal touch to an already deeply personal recording.
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AllMusic Review by Michael B. Smith