Chet Atkins

The Best of Chet Atkins [RCA 1980]

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Although this 1964 best-of collection doesn't actually touch Atkins' big hits from his RCA catalogue up to that time, it's a best of album in the best sense -- musically speaking. There is absolutely splendid music to be heard here; side one alone is an unbroken string of pearls. Whatever your musical orientation, it's hard to resist Atkins' dead-on note selection in tunes like the gorgeously sophisticated "Jitterbug Waltz," the percolating "Peanut Vendor" for classical guitar, the clever "Yankee Doodle Dixie," the poised "Country Gentleman," or the debonair adaptation of Alfven's "Swedish Rhapsody." Indeed, the programmers actually bypassed the charted hits from the Teensville album in favor of a superior cut from that record, a memorably elegant treatment of Django Reinhardt's "Django's Castle." While in no way thoroughly representative of the Atkins catalogue, it's a hugely enjoyable LP on its own terms. In the stereo version, the mono tracks are treated with electronic -- read "fake" -- stereo, but it's worth putting up with.

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