Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Music of "Mr Guitar" Lives On, 24 Nov. 2004
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This review is from: Mr Guitar: The complete recordings 55-60 (Audio CD)
Atkins fans will be queueing up for this Bear Family set, comprising his complete solo output for RCA Victor between 1955-60. As usual with Bear Family,the sound quality is superb, as are the comprehensive session details. If, like me, you already own "Stringin' Along", "Hi Fi In Focus", "Chet Atkins At Home", "Workshop", and the rest, but your old LPs are feeling their age, go out and get this. The SESAC label rarity, "The Best Chet Yet", is included - a copy of this last LP alone would set you back at least the price of the CD set.
For me, the standout features are the several "alternate takes" from the "Workshop" album - no doubt these are Atkins' studio cuts before he re-worked the songs in the privacy of his home facility. There are a number of "previously unissued" gems, like "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" (The Anita Kerr Singers and Floyd Cramer on piano backing up Atkins in their usual style); "High Noon","My Funny Valentine", "Asleep In The Deep" (brother Jim on vocals), "Arrivederci, Roma", and others. One fascinating item is an embryonic version of "Teensville" entitled "Blue Rhapsody"!
The artwork in the book is excellent - an interesting feature is an album entitled "My Brother Sings" - which was pulled by Victor at the last moment. The LP covers and 45 rpm labels are faithfully reproduced, and US, German and British versions are shown.
This period, in many peoples' minds, was Atkins' Golden Age; his playing was fresh and inventive, and in my opinion has stood the test of time these last 40 odd years. We have talented players like Richard Smith and Tommy Emmanuel these days, to build on the foundations that Atkins laid down, but "Mr Guitar" was a "one-off" - in a class of his own.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Mar 2009 17:13:31 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Jan 2014 01:38:50 GMT
P. G. Croft says:
I entirely endorse every word written here. Although I've been a fan of Chets since 1960 ,when I bought 'Workshop', (not a typical set of tracks, for the genius of country 'pickers'.) but I loved the electric 'tricks' created in his own studio, and the glimpse of his fantastic studio equipment shown on the wonderful sleeve, a dream for a teenage would-be guitarist. This is the only way I could obtain a fresh replacement for my wornout vinyl LP. Also not available elsewhere, is the unusual but none the less attractive main theme of, 'The Dark at the top of the Stairs'. Why a German label took on this tremendous and first class labour of love--and not a main stream US one, ie. RCA--I'll never know. Just one gripe--I was aware of this WORK when it was issued in 2004, but just could'nt afford it at that time. I recently made the decision to commit to buy, but could'nt find it on the UK web anywhere. Then eventually, I found a copy on the US Amazon site, and bought it. With all the bother of transit costs and handling charges and customs charges --VAT, it cost me £146 + SECONDHAND. Talk about timing ! To-day, 15/03/2009, this item is offered Brand new at £92.96. GGRRRR !

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Feb 2012 19:29:52 GMT
AD says:
Hello,

Thanks for your remarks! I hadn't noticed the "Comments" feature on these reviews until now, so forgive me for not noticing this!

Sympathise with your experiences buying this box set.

I once owned Atkins' LP "And Then Came Chet Atkins" which I bought via a friend in France soon after it came out. I sold it for about £10, not knowing it would become a rarity. Along with the "Galloping Guitar" LP it is one of his moust sought-after items.

I also once owned a very nice 1958 Country Gentleman guitar, sold that for about £150. Then the Gretsch plant burnt down or the company changed hands or something. Today that guitar goes for about £2,000!!

Best regards,

AD.
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