Chet Atkins

The Best of Chet Atkins & Friends

  • AllMusic Rating
    9
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Here, we skim off the cream from one of the most remarkable series of duets in the history of recording. The list of partners Chet Atkins has recorded with is astonishing in its breadth, and this LP only covers the list up to 1976, with not a single weak or even middling selection. Without batting an eye, he can engage in a remarkable country-jazz flavored duet with Lenny Breau on "Sweet Georgia Brown," exchange some swinging picking and bowing with Johnny Gimble (and briefly Charlie McCoy) on "Fiddlin' Around," or sing good-naturedly in front of Ray Stevens' simulated live show on the goofy novelty tune "Frog Kissin'." Another highlight is the extended fun and games with Les Paul on "Avalon" (from Chester and Lester), with the hilarious studio chatter left in -- and not to be missed is a sample of Atkins' successful collaboration with the massive forces of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops on "The Battle of New Orleans/Sugarfoot Rag." A few of the tracks are available nowhere else, among them a cooking session with Boots Randolph ("Terry on the Turnpike"), and a cozy duet with Dolly Parton on her East Tennessee-flavored tune "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind." In addition, he trades licks with country stars like Jerry Reed, Merle Travis, Hank Snow, and Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass. All of which proves that Chet Atkins is an eclectic musician in the best sense; he fits in virtually everywhere, his curiosity about different kinds of music knows no bounds, and his musicality accompanies him at all times.

blue highlight denotes track pick