Chet Atkins

The Pops Goes Country

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Chet Atkins's first collaboration with Arthur Fiedler and his mighty Boston Pops is one of those rare cases when the original idea is inferior to the sequel (the follow-up being Chet Picks on the Pops). In the case of The Pops Goes Country, the problem perhaps lies in the selection of country/folk songs, which collapse under the inflated symphonic treatment that arranger Richard Hayman drapes all over their unpretentious frameworks. Tunes like "Tennessee Waltz," "Faded Love," "Cold, Cold Heart," and "Adios Amigo" did not seem to inspire Atkins very much at this stage in his busy life either; he goes at many of them in rote fashion, without many of the nuances and harmonic twists that he would find in hit pop material in his second album with Fiedler. Not all is lost, though; "Alabama Jubilee" gets one of the better, more energetic treatments; John Loudermilk's "Windy and Warm" breathes more life into Atkins' fingerpicking; and the orchestra sounds great in Boston's resonant Symphony Hall. But they would do much better next time.

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