The Essential Chet Atkins
In addition to being a legendary guitar player, Chet Atkins is widely known for his work as a record producer, and in that respect he has a lot to answer for—primarily being one of the first to drop fiddle and banjo from recordings in an attempt to court a pop audience. Fortunately, this retrospective focuses on Atkins’ pickin’. He was highly influenced by Merle Travis, Django Reinhardt and Les Paul, and it can be heard on this two-disc collection on tracks like “Guitar Blues (Pickin’ the Blues)” and “Mainstreet Breakdown.” The songs range from country pickin’ (“Root, Hog or Die”) to rock (“Teen Scene”) and even jazz (“Take Five”). The set also includes some samples of Atkins’ session work with artists like Don Gibson, the Carter Sisters and Eddy Arnold. Heck, the tasteful sounds of this collection are almost enough to make a fella forgive Atkins for inventing the “Nashville Sound” … almost.