Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Chet: not just fingers
Eric V. Jung | Bear Valley, CA United States | 04/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any guitar player knows how hard it is to do what Chet Atkins did with his fingers. What got less recognition was his ability as a composer and arranger. This album has the usual assortment of Chet stuff, ballads, country tunes, pop tunes, in a style that sounds like elevator music to the uneducated but makes a musician say "How did he do that?". The title tune sounds like the kind of acoustic finger-picker that any '60's folkie would have worked on - until it modulates up a key and starts throwing in the kind of variations that few would conceive and hardly anyone but Chet could play.
The real gem of the album is Chet's version of "When You Wish Upon A Star". Like a Bach 4-part invention, it sounds lovely at first hearing, and it gets even better with repeated listenings as you start to realize what he's doing. After a conventional (but beautiful) statement of the song come the variations, including an inventive and technical counterpoint between bass and melody lines. The mind-blowing climax comes with an extended coda of stunning arpeggios which sound as if played on a harp. Chet somehow got 6 strings to sound like 60, with cascading runs of unimaginable difficulty - and beauty. This is not a triumph of studio overdubbing. This is solo Chet at his unbelievable best, both in conception and in execution.
Somebody besides me likes this album. A tv special on Leo Kottke showed him pawing through the used record bin, pulling this album out and holding it up to the camera with a "This is the one!" look."