Chet Atkins

Country Pickin'

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As pieced together from a patchwork of RCA sources from the 1950s and 1960s, this extremely inexpensive two-LP set was a marvelous Chet Atkins sampler, concentrating on his more countrified records with minimal, cooking rhythm backing. Even within the country context, there is a lot of variety here - the Les Paul-like playing on "Hot Mocking Bird," the erudite excursions all over the stylistic lot on "Kicky," covers of the big countrypolitan ballad hits "Make the World Go Away" and "Release Me," the relaxed Latin-flavored "Bandera," pop tunes like "April in Portugal" and "Lonesome Road." You also get Atkins specialties like the surpassingly clever "Yankee Doodle Dixie," a folk-bluegrass treatment of "Goin' Down The Road," a stentorian "Wildwood Flower," and an occasional rapid-fire original ("Prancin' Filly"). Some of the tracks are redone in electronic stereo -- as was RCA's bad habit at the time -- but the effect is almost unnoticeable on a few of them. No cheapo drug store throwaway -- even the liner notes are unusually informative for the time -- this can stand beside the more cosmopolitan, full-priced greatest hits Atkins LPs as a countrified supplement.

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