Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins at Home

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The photo of Chet Atkins thoughtfully leaning on his guitar, surrounded by now-coveted vintage recording equipment in his knotty pine-paneled home recording studio, immediately conjures cozy images of the 1950s. Yet the record still sounds timeless for its musical beauty and taste, as well as a catholic repertoire that now falls completely outside the boundaries of Nashville country. There is some elegantly played Ellington ("Sophisticated Lady"), two Lecuona tunes ("Say Si Si," "Jungle Drums"), novelties like "Nagasaki," and a clever contrapuntal teaming of two tunes ("Yankee Doodle Dixie") where Atkins ends the Civil War by uniting Northern sophistication and Southern down-home feeling. As usual, he employs harmonics, the tremolo bar, electronic echo, and reverb effects with discretion and restraint. In addition, the record allegedly features an early electronic accompanying instrument that Atkins called the "Invisible Bass Man," which is almost as inaudible as it is invisible.

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