Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Chet Atkins - Teensvilledotdot
artworkChet Atkins was a great player. What this album proves is the axiom "the sooner the majors go bankrupt, the better." With a couple of exceptions, these are factory sessions with nothing to make them important or vital.
Picks: Boo Boo Stick Beat, Take A Message To Mary

Track by Track Review

White Silver Sands dotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Chet Atkins takes the already fluffy pop of Charles "Red" Mathews's "White Silver Sands" and makes if even bouncier and frothier. From pop-country vocal to country instro, this catchy melody still works. While there's no teenage edge, there is the ever-present tendency of major labels to make factory product for adolescents. This is better than Pat Boone or Mariah Carey, but it's still just factory product.

Boo Boo Stick Beat dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This almost novelty Chet Atkins tune is the precursor to some of the things that the Pastel Six used to do, particularly their arrangement of "Cotton High." Rhythmic and percussion oriented. Buddy Harman and John D. Loudermilk melody and rhythm are more then they seem at first glance. Very cool... should be turned into a surf tune by some enterprising surf band.

Oh, Lonesome Me dotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Don Gibson's 1958 hit "Oh, Lonesome Me" was, while a factory product itself, very credible. This arrangement is a testament to contrast between the extreme talent of some session men like Chet Atkins and the meaninglessness of hit remakers at factory labels. Very well played, but completely unremarkable.

One Mint Julep dotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Rudolph Toombs's pop jazz classic has been covered by everyone from Ray Charles to The Wailers, but first saw release in 1951 by The Clovers. While the playing is totally competent, even very strong aside from the sax, the chorus illustrates once again what's wrong with the music factory system.

Take A Message To Mary dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

The tremolo and tone of Chet Atkins's guitar here adds shivers to an already sad and lovely song that The Every Brothers hit with in '59. While I'm sure that Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant didn't intend such a gorgeous instrumental rendering, it's here nonetheless. The chorus dampens it a bit, but if you list past that, it's very nice.

Teensville dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Pimple country spunkin' with silly chorus accompaniment. Not only is it not an interesting song, the horrid pretend-hip chorus ruins anything that might otherwise be cool about it, like the great tinkling keys and infectious beat groove. Wayne Cogswell' melody is only a minimized version of "White Silver Sands."

Night Train dot
Country (Instrumental)

This isn't much of a version of Jimmy Forest's 1951 original. Ultra light weight and commercial-fluffy. Harmless and dismissible.

Come Softly To Me dot
Country (Instrumental)

You wouldn't give this version of The Fleetwoods' "Come Softly To Me" a second glance. Light and fluffy and chorus burdened.

Sleep Walk dot
Country (Instrumental)

This is a very uninteresting version of Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk." Gutless, and missing the primitive emotional content of the brothers Farina's original.

Django's Castle dot
Country (Instrumental)

This is to Django Reinhardt as granny in her rocking chair is to rock'n'roll.

Till There Was You dotdot
Country (Instrumental)

The lovely guitar tone and gentle flow of the arrangement are very nice, except for the pathetic chorus. Meredith Wilson's song is very melodic and romantic, and Chet Atkins keeps it pretty much that way.

Hot Toddy dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

It's 1959, and Chet Atkins is getting softer and more slushy, along with the whole music business. It's a pretty tune, but seems much to pallid for my taste.