Chester Lester(Bonus Tracks) CD (2007)

Artist: Chet Atkins

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Genius guitar innovators duet on pop standards

by on 8/22/2007

Recorded in 1975, this LP (augmented here by four bonus track) found two innovators of electric guitar playing in easy-going sessions filled with friendly instrumental interplay. The elder of the two, Les Paul, had been effectively retired for a decade when Atkins lured him into the studio. The seeds had been planted a few months earlier when the guitarists met up in a New York hotel room for an informal jam session; the music flowed so smoothly that it suggested a recording date was in order. ¶ The connection between Paul and Atkins happened many years before they met. Paul's jazz trio featured Atkins' half brother Jimmy as a vocalist and rhythm guitarist at the end of the 1930s, and as the younger Atkins followed his brother's work, he picked up the band leader's fingerings. Atkins' love of Merle Travis led him more towards country, but like Paul, he always kept a love of pop and jazz in his playing. Aktins even acquired one of Les Paul's guitars, and used it on his very first session for RCA. ¶ By the mid-70s Les Paul was retired and Chet Atkins was increasingly absorbed by executive work at RCA Nashville. In 1974 Atkins paired himself with Merle Travis for an album, "The Atkins-Travis Travelling Show," which prompted a friend to suggest he try a pairing with Les Paul. The two guitarists worked out a song list that collected pop and jazz standards, with arrangements that merged details from each of their lengthy recording and performing careers. ¶ With Atkins' guitar stage left, and Paul's stage right, the disc plays like a conversation, with each taking turns at lead between some coordinated unison playing. The difference in their styles is subtle but immediate, with Atkins' staccato inflections often more country and blue than the cool of Paul's jazz fingerings. The use of head (non-written) arrangements gave these sessions a very organic feel, with the Nashville rhythm section (piano, drums, bass, guitar) integrated seamlessly with the guitarists. There's some friendly competition, with each showing off their remarkable chops and goading the other to greater heights, and there's plenty of friendly verbal jousting before, after and during the. Paul used his renowned overdubbing on only a pair of tracks ("Caravan" and "Lover Come back to Me"), so the sessions remained quite spontaneous. ¶ The four bonus tracks include an alternate version of "Caravan," as well as a rehearsal of "Moonglow / Picnic" that picks up slowly as the duo finds their way through the medley, and eventually dissolves into their own instant review of the performance. Superstar pairings have become such common "events" that they've lost a great deal of their magic, but this one – two genius innovators getting together just to play – is still as musically rich as the day it was originally recorded. [©2007 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]

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Product Overview


Label RCA Records/sbme
SKU 204873585
UPC 828767637921
UPC 14 00828767637921
Format CD
Release Date 7/24/2007
Author Chet Atkins
Associated Artist/Work Almeida, Laurindo
Associated Artist/Work Bogguss, Suzy
Associated Artist/Work Breau, Lenny
Associated Artist/Work Coleman, Jim
Associated Artist/Work Cramer, Floyd
Associated Artist/Work Ears, Rabbit
Associated Artist/Work Rabbit Ears
Associated Artist/Work Watson, Doc
Artist Influence Bill Monroe
Artist Influence Bob Wills
Artist Influence Bucky Pizzarelli
Artist Influence Charlie Christian
Artist Influence Django Reinhardt
Artist Influence George Van Eps
Artist Influence Hank Thompson
Artist Influence Hank Williams
Artist Influence Jimmie Rodgers (Country)
Artist Influence Les Paul
Artist Influence Merle Travis
Artist Influence Milton Brown & His Brownies
Artist Influence Mother Maybelle Carter
Artist Influence Tal Farlow
Artist Influence The Carter Family
Artist Contemporary Buddy Emmons
Artist Contemporary Charley Pride
Artist Contemporary Conway Twitty
Artist Contemporary Doc Watson
Artist Contemporary Don Gibson
Artist Contemporary Eddy Arnold
Artist Contemporary Elvis Presley
Artist Contemporary Floyd Cramer
Artist Contemporary Glen Campbell
Artist Contemporary Hank Garland
Artist Contemporary Hank Snow
Artist Contemporary James Burton
Artist Contemporary James Burton & Ralph Mooney
Artist Contemporary Jerry Byrd
Artist Contemporary Jerry Reed
Artist Contemporary Jim Reeves
Artist Contemporary Joe Maphis
Artist Contemporary Jorgen Ingmann
Artist Contemporary Lenny Breau
Artist Contemporary Les Paul
Artist Contemporary Ralph Mooney
Artist Contemporary Roger Miller (Country)
Artist Contemporary Roy Clark
Artist Contemporary Roy Lanham
Artist Contemporary Skeeter Davis
Artist Contemporary Speedy West
Artist Contemporary The Everly Brothers
Artist Contemporary The Louvin Brothers
Artist Contemporary Waylon Jennings
Artist Follower Albert Lee (Guitar)
Artist Follower Bill Kirchen
Artist Follower Carl Perkins (Rockabilly)
Artist Follower Danny Gatton
Artist Follower Dave Edmunds
Artist Follower George Harrison
Artist Follower Glen Campbell
Artist Follower James Burton
Artist Follower Jerry Reed
Artist Follower Junior Brown
Artist Follower Lenny Breau
Artist Follower Mark Knopfler
Artist Follower Nick Lowe
Artist Follower Rascal Flatts
Artist Follower Roy Clark
Artist Follower Sonny Burgess (Country Singer)
Artist Follower The Hot Club of Cowtown
Technical Info
Engineer Bill Vandevort
Producer Chet Atkins; Bob Irwin (Reissue)
CatalogID 82876763792
Lable Name Columbia Nashville
Released 07/24/2007
Original Release 1977
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Length 50m : 4s
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00828767637921
Album Notes and Credits
Personnel includes: Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Paul Yandell (guitar); Randy Goodrum (piano); Henry Strzelecki, Bob Moore (bass); Larrie London (drums).
Recorded in 1976.
Digitally remastered by Denny Purcell & Jonathan Russell (Georgetown Masters, Nashville, Tennessee).
2 LPs on 1 CD: CHESTER & LESTER (1976)/GUITAR MONSTERS (1978).
Personnel includes: Chet Atkins, Les Paul (guitar); Randy Goodrum (piano); Henry Strzelecki, Bob Moore (bass); Larrie London (drums).
Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.
Personnel: Bobby Thompson (guitar); Paul Yandell, Ray Edenton (guitar); Randy Goodrum (piano); Henry Strzelecki, Bob Moore (bass guitar); Larrie Londin (drums).
Les Paul is known not only for his contributions to the development of the electric guitar, but for his wizardry in the studio as well (he was a pioneer in the use of multi-track recordings). Part of what makes CHESTER AND LESTER such a treat, however, is the straightforward, easy feel of the session, which seems leagues removed from Paul's painstakingly meticulous experiments. A duo date with Chet Atkins (who was greatly influenced and inspired by Paul), CHESTER AND LESTER showcases two guitar icons playing together as friends.
There is a heavy country flavor to these proceedings, but that doesn't keep either guitarist from flinging around stylistic references to jazz and other genres. Atkins' laid-back fingerpicking style is the perfect counterpoint to Paul's fretboard flurries. The sheer mythic weight created by these two innovators playing side by side is almost enough in itself to recommend the album, but--not surprisingly--the music is wonderful too.
Artist Overview
Among fingerstyle country guitar players, perhaps only Merle Travis can rival Chet Atkins, whose distinctive sound defined an entire generation of Nashville country. Atkins has played an equally important role as a record producer. As RCA's chief Nashville producer in the '50s and '60s, Atkins oversaw sessions for Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Jim Reeves, Don Gibson, and countless others. He was one of the chief architects of the polished country style that came to be known as the "Nashville sound," but his own productions were more tasteful and appealing than those for which the genre is frequently lambasted. Atkins remained active into the '90s, but succumbed to cancer in 2001.
Disc 1
1 It's Been a Long, Long Time
2 Moonglow / Picnic (Theme From 'Picnic')
3 Caravan
4 It Had To Be You
5 Out Of Nowhere
6 Avalon
7 Birth Of The Blues
8 Someday Sweetheart
9 Deed I Do
10 Lover Come Back To Me
11 World Is Waiting For the Sunrise, The - (previously unreleased, Bonus Tracks)
12 You Brought a New Kind Of Love To Me - (previously unreleased, Bonus Tracks)
13 Caravan - (previously unreleased, alternate take, Bonus Tracks)
14 Moonglow / Picnic (Theme From 'Picnic') - (previously unreleased, Bonus Tracks/Rehearsal Version)
Product Attributes
Artist Atkins,Chet
Label Rca Records
Music Format Compact Disc

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Genius guitar innovators duet on pop standards by on Aug 22, 2007