Archive | April 2017

Chet Atkins/Les Paul – Chester and Lester

(Warning: another phoned in post that shouldn’t reflect on the amazingness of the record being discussed.)

So, I’m not sure where this is going to go today. I’ve drunk half of my coffee, and yet the caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet. So I’m just sort of sitting here staring at the screen wondering what I’m going to say about this record. That record being Chet Atkins and Les Paul’s 1976 collaboration ‘Chester and Lester’. I fantastic record featuring two world class guitarists. You don’t get much better than these two guys.

As I mentioned yesterday, I wasn’t much of a Chet Atkins fan most of my life. I was aware that he was an amazing guitarist in his field. But as you know, I’ve identified as a metal head and classic rock fan most my life. I recognize great players when I heard them, but I just didn’t spend much time with bluegrass and country most my life. Therefore, Chet Atkins has remained in my periphery most my life. Les Paul has a similar story for me. I first heard of him in 1988 or 1989 when HBO did a special on him. It showcased Paul jamming with many contemporary guitarists and was mind blowing to a 14 year Dave. But aside from that I never pursued his music. But I alway held both guitarists in high regard, even if I didn’t listen to their music.

I first became aware of this record existence in 2010 or 2011 when I first started subscribing to Netflix. There was this excellent documentary on Les Paul and they mentioned this record. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.

According to Chet Atkins, he had convinced Les Paul to come out of retirement to do this one record with him. So Les traveled to wherever the studio was and the two of them with the band set up and did a full day of rehearsals, which were recorded. At the end of the day, Les announced he was going home and whatever they had recorded that day was the record.

The result being a loose laid back record with a bit of banter between Atkins and Paul. It sounds more like a jam session than a recording session, what it essentially is. You can tell the two of them were having fun playing together. Throughout the songs the two guitarist are cracking jokes, teasing each other while trading guitar licks. In between songs you can hear the musicians laughing. I imagine this was a fun day in the studio for everyone one involved.

So that is it for this record. As I’ve said, I’m not feeling this whole writing thing this morning. I’m test driving Google docs this month to see whether I want to renew my subscription to Microsoft Office or not. If I can get everything I need out of Google docs, I might just stick with that. Anyway, I mention it because there is a plugin in Docs that analyzes your document and helps you fix your grammar and sentence structures. It also rates how readable and at what grade level your writing is. According to GradeProofs metrics, this document is at a 64% readability percentage and is written at 8th grade level. So it’s not my best effort.

I’ll leave you with that.


Chet Atkins – Pick on Jerry Reed

That moment when you realize that the last record you played was at 45 RPM and the one you just threw on is 33 RPM, Oops! That happens to me quite a bit, there is one artist who I listen to fairly often, whose record bounces between 33 and 45 and I always forget to switch it back after changing records. So, when I threw on today’s record, ‘Chet Atkins Pick on Jerry Reed’ it sounded all crazy, but still kind of cool.


You know what it sounded like? Have you ever listened to early Les Paul records when he first developed his sound on sound technology? If you haven’t you should check it out (I’ll try and see if I can some videos to link to). Anyway, Les Paul was possibly the first musician to develop sound on sound recording, and the first to really experiment with it, layering tons and tons of guitars on top of each other.  Some of the early experiments he’d toy with a pitch, recording parts at different speeds, faster and slower, and when he played back at normal speed, some of the guitar parts sounded really fast and hi pitched. Anyway, that is what today’s record sounded like when I first started playing it before I figured out I was playing at the wrong speed.


So, as you may have guessed, I’m sort of just bullshitting my way throw today’s review because I really don’t have much to say about this record. That’s not to say I don’t like it, barely know it, or that it’s not any good. I really like, listen to somewhat frequently, and I think it’s really good. I just don’t have a big discovery story with it, and it wasn’t a major soundtrack of my life. It’s just a record I own and throw on time to time when I’m looking for something different to listen to.


In fact, I’m not sure when or where I bought this copy I’m listening to right now. Well I can ballpark when, somewhere in early 2013, but I have no idea where I picked it up. If memory serves me correctly I bought this record early in my vinyl collecting days, which started around spring of 2013 (I think). But I can’t nail it down beyond that. I’m not sure if I bought from this guy Phil’s who ran a store in his garage, off of my friend Rick, or at one of the shops in Antique World, which is usually where most of those early purchases were made. All I can tell you is I have it now.


In fact, I’m not even sure why I decided to buy it. Though I like finger picking guitar style, it’s never been very high on my list of favorite genres. Same with Chet Atkins, I have always been aware that he was a guitar god from the 70’s in the country/bluegrass world. But I never went out of my way to really dig into his music. In fact, this is the first of two records I own by him, and the only two I have ever listened to.  So, I’m not sure what prompted me to buy it.


If I were to guess on why I bought this record, I would base in this weird desire I had for a long time where I thought I wanted to own as much music in as many different genres’s as possible, so as to have the perfect music on hand for whatever situation I ever happen to be in. Though I have always been a fan of many different types of music, and feel I’m open minded about music in general, I believe this desire to have a wide variety of music stems from my days of being a sound guy at the Z Lounge back in the mid 2000’s. I sort of prided myself on being able to pull up any record on my iPod that would fit what style music was playing that night.


After I left that job I still wanted to have a wide variety of music on my iPod, one to make shuffles interesting, and two, to be able to play something for every situation. I had it in my head that somehow, I was going to be hosting parties or get together, and I would want to be able to provide fitting music that would please as wide of range of people’s tastes as possible. And when I started collecting records, I carried on that practice.


But here’s the thing, I never host any parties what’s so ever. Out of the small group of friends I was hanging out and collecting records with in New York, I was the only one that didn’t have nights where we gathered at my place and played my records. I was living with my parents at the time, I lived about 30 miles away from everyone, and it just never was a convenient place to gather. So, it never happened.


And as far as shuffling playlist goes, I never do that anymore. For the most part when I’m walking or driving around with my iPod, I’m listening to podcasts most the time. The only time I play music on my iPod is when I’m reading or when I’m writing a review and I’m not playing the vinyl. So, the idea that I want a wide range of music on my iPod for interesting shuffles and entertaining others doesn’t apply to me anymore.


All that said though, even though I’m not sure why I bought this record, I’m glad I did, because I do really like it. I may not play it all the time, but occasionally I get in a mood and throw it on. And I’m always glad when I do. Take that for whatever it is.