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Chet Atkins: Travelin'

Album Notes

Besides doing session work and helping to create the Nashville sound while at RCA, guitarist Chet Atkins cut many jazz- and pop-inflected country instrumental albums under his own name. After producing sides for country stars like Don Gibson, Connie Smith, and Eddy Arnold, Atkins would team up with pianist Floyd Cramer, tenor saxophonist Boots Randolph, and other RCA musicians to reel off smooth, but usually engaging, covers of everything from blues and schmaltzy standards to Beatles tunes. While often seen as no more than hokey, easy listening ephemera, Atkins' many sides from the '60s deserve a reassessment. The stellar jazz dates Atkins later did at Columbia may better showcase his jazz leanings, but these RCA discs still have a wealth of quality picking and a good share of top-drawer material. This time out, Atkins showcases music from around the world, mixing in warhorses like "Exodus" and "Volare" with nice surprises like Nino Rota's "La Dolce Vita." Of course, the album has a few overly glib and stiff moments but, in spite of the mire, the playing is always great. And even though it's out of print, Travelin' usually can be found for just a few dollars at your local vinyl emporium. ~ Stephen Cook



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