Chet Atkins hit the jackpot with his 12th 12" LP release, Chet Atkins' Workshop, which soared into the pop Top Ten, and RCA Victor Records hopefully released his 13th one with the title The Most Popular Guitar and adorned it with a cover picture of a comely girl in a negligee. The notion here seems to have been to present Atkins not so much as a guitar instrumentalist (though his guitar playing was, as usual, front and center) as the leader of a lush studio orchestra and chorus playing easy listening favorites in the manner of Percy Faith. The varied selections ranged from show tunes like the leadoff track, George and Ira Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Porgy and Bess, to recent pop hits like the Platters' "My Prayer" and swing era favorites such as "East of the Sun (West of the Moon)." But no matter the source, the treatment was in middle-of-the-road ballad form, with piano and harpsichord, muted horns, swirling strings, and wordless choruses augmenting Atkins' dreamy electric-guitar stylings. But perhaps Chet Atkins was not destined to become the next Ray Conniff. In any case, The Most Popular Guitar, despite spending ten weeks in the Billboard LP chart, did not match the sales of Chet Atkins' Workshop, and the guitarist was free to go his own way, making whatever style of record he wanted in the future.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann