Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Chet Atkins - Down Homedotdotdot
artworkOne of the great country studio players of the fifties was Chat Atkins. His playing influenced scores of other players, including the Ventures. These vintage RCA sides include a few tunes that were covered by surf or rock instro bands later on. Down Home dates from 1962, and contains some tasty picking.
Picks: I'm A Pilgrim, Trambone, Steel Guitar Rag, Little Feet, Blue Steel Blues, Windy and Warm, I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow, Never On Sunday, The Girl Friend Of The Whirling Dervish, Give The World A Smile, Tuxedo Junction

Track by Track Review

I'm A Pilgrim dotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

Light weight plucky pickin', slightly country, slightly fluffy, and altogether precise.

Trambone dotdotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

Covered by the Intruders (flip side of "Wild Goose") and the Krew Kats, among others, this playful tune is a Chet Atkins original. It has a happy plucky lilt, and plays lightly on a bouncy theme. Very suave, and just a little MOR. Bob Moore and Floyd Cramer support. 1956.

Steel Guitar Rag dotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

This happy go lucky Merle Travis tune is played without benefit of a lap steel. It retains the playfulness, but substitutes harmonica for the smooth sway of the steel. The sax sounds to me like Boots Randolph.

Little Feet dotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

Inspiring the seventies band name, this Chet Atkins country waltz plays lightly on the nerves. Suave and refined, in an MOR style.

Blue Steel Blues dotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

This is a bluesy country thing with a cool rhythm track and a jazzy lead line. It's among the more rock oriented tracks here. Chunky and polished.

Windy and Warm dotdotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

John D. Loudermilk's fantastic charmer is portrayed here is a plucky and playful setting. The piano and a lack of reverb are all that set it apart from surf. The chorus is sorta strange, but otherwise it's mighty close to the grand Neon Spores cover. This can't be played unless you're happy. The grins just ooze from it's tongue-in-cheek structure. Loudermilk was a great writer. I sure would like to see his better work come out on CD in his own voice and guitar. 1961.

I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow dotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

This is a light weight Chet Atkins tune with a blues basis and a warm sound. Definitely front porch pickin' music.

Never On Sunday dotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

This film score tune is cooler than the original, and less hokey than Dick Dale's version thanks to the lack of trumpet and the smooth guitar work.

The Girl Friend Of The Whirling Dervish dotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

Middle eastern leanings and jazzy playing, this could easily become a surf number. It's melodic and well written by Johnny Mercer and friends. This rendition is light and fluffy, but imagine a great damped surf guitar like Mike Guerrero and a Steve Douglas style sax... what a cool tune it would be. At the other extreme, perhaps the Mermen or Get Wet would make this shine!

Give The World A Smile dotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

Pure fluff for the aged... pretty, but without anything that could be mistaken for edge or power.

Tuxedo Junction dotdotdot
Country MOR (Instrumental)

Gentle country plucking, fluid writing, and the same sense as the theme to Petticoat Junction or the "Fishin' Hole" (theme from the Andy Griffith Show - Mayberry R.F.D.).