Chester & Lester [Bonus Tracks]

Chester & Lester [Bonus Tracks]

3.5 2
by Chet Atkins
     
 

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Originally issued in 1976 and now available on CD with four previously unreleased bonus tracks, this genial in-studio pairing of electric guitar titans remains a most ingratiating disc, as much a pleasure for the listener as it must have been for the artists. Working with a sharp ensemble of Nashville studio stalwarts (including Larrie Londin on drums), Atkins and…  See more details below

Overview

Originally issued in 1976 and now available on CD with four previously unreleased bonus tracks, this genial in-studio pairing of electric guitar titans remains a most ingratiating disc, as much a pleasure for the listener as it must have been for the artists. Working with a sharp ensemble of Nashville studio stalwarts (including Larrie Londin on drums), Atkins and Paul turn a clutch of standards from the Great American Songbook into a most scintillating conversation in song. Sometimes they play it straight, the better to enhance the beauty of great melodies, such as "Moonglow/Theme from 'Picnic' " and "It Had to Be You." Being witty fellows, too, Atkins and Paul inject some whimsy into the proceedings, as when a dreamy workout on the Sammy Cahn-Jule Styne evergreen "It's Been a Long, Long Time" suddenly breaks into a spirited, speed-picked dialogue before settling back into its romantic mode. Near the end of a swaying rendition of "Out of Nowhere," Paul pays homage to his beloved former partner, Mary Ford, by piping up with "Sounds good, Mary!" to which Atkins responds, "Why thank you, honey!" Of the four bonus tracks, two are alternative versions of songs on the original album, but two others are knockout numbers that didn't make the final cut. "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" is a brisk, melodious affair with a slight country-swing flavor and wonderful interplay up and down the neck as the guitarists one-up each other's flourishes, whereas the timeless "You Brought a New Kind of Love" is a striking mid-tempo shuffle that finds the axemen trading variations on the melodic theme. Precisely because it's so unassuming, and the virtuosity so matter-of-fact, Chester & Lester sneaks up on you and then refuses to let go.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
After eight years away from the microphones, Les Paul joined forces with country music's Chet Atkins in a marvelously relaxed, tasty session of cross-cultural jamming. The sound of the backup band may be Nashville country, but the tunes, mostly drawn from Paul's repertoire, are jazz and pop standards ("Caravan," "It's Been a Long, Long Time," "Avalon," etc.). Both players improvise, duel and converse with the spontaneity of jazz always in the air -- and unlike almost all of Les' recordings since 1947, there is no overdubbing except on "Caravan" and "Lover, Come Back to Me." You won't have any problem telling Chester and Lester apart on these tracks; Les' bright, almost metallic sound and twirling, yet now more economical flurries are a world away from Chet's mellow fingerpicking, lightly tarted with echo. Yet the two styles play brilliantly off each other; one potent example occurs as Chet superimposes the theme from "Picnic" from his repertoire over Les' statement of "Moonglow." A lot of the between-takes session chatter is intentionally left in, with Les's hotfoot voice trading quips with Chet's Tennessee drawl. On "Avalon," heard in two consecutive takes at different speeds, the dialogue is particularly funny, as Atkins mockingly tries to browbeat his old idol. This album (now on CD) had the effect of putting Les Paul well on the road toward canonization by young rock guitarslingers who noticed his name on Gibson instruments.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/24/2007
Label:
Rca
UPC:
0828767637921
catalogNumber:
76379
Rank:
1026

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chet Atkins   Primary Artist
Ray Edenton   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Randy Goodrum   Piano
Bob Moore   Bass Guitar
Henry Strzelecki   Bass,Bass Guitar
Bobby Thompson   Guitar
Paul Yandell   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Larrie Londin   Drums
Bob Moore & His Orchestra   Bass

Technical Credits

Sigmund Romberg   Composer
Chet Atkins   Producer,Audio Production
Paul   Author
Sammy Cahn   Composer
Buddy DeSylva   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Nat Hentoff   Liner Notes
Edward Heyman   Composer
Isham Jones   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Fred Rose   Composer
Jule Styne   Composer
Bill Vandevort   Engineer
Rich Kienzle   Liner Notes
Bob Irwin   Producer,Reissue Producer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Walter Hirsch   Composer
Benjamin Franklin Spikes   Composer
Eugene Lockhart   Composer
Ernest Seitz   Composer
John Spikes   Composer

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Chester & Lester [Bonus Tracks] 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
These two guitar masters were so loose it is a wonder they didn't fall off their chairs! Paul in particular acts as if he doesn't know he's being taped. The best tunes are the up-tempo numbers. The contrast in their styles is very interesting; Chet's languid country licks and Les's jazzy runs. A minor classic. 3 1/2 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Recorded in 1975, this LP (augmented here by four bonus track) found two innovators of electric guitar playing in easy-going sessions filled with friendly instrumental interplay. The elder of the two, Les Paul, had been effectively retired for a decade when Atkins lured him into the studio. The seeds had been planted a few months earlier when the guitarists met up in a New York hotel room for an informal jam session the music flowed so smoothly that it suggested a recording date was in order. ¶ The connection between Paul and Atkins happened many years before they met. Paul's jazz trio featured Atkins' half brother Jimmy as a vocalist and rhythm guitarist at the end of the 1930s, and as the younger Atkins followed his brother's work, he picked up the band leader's fingerings. Atkins' love of Merle Travis led him more towards country, but like Paul, he always kept a love of pop and jazz in his playing. Aktins even acquired one of Les Paul's guitars, and used it on his very first session for RCA. ¶ By the mid-70s Les Paul was retired and Chet Atkins was increasingly absorbed by executive work at RCA Nashville. In 1974 Atkins paired himself with Merle Travis for an album, "The Atkins-Travis Travelling Show," which prompted a friend to suggest he try a pairing with Les Paul. The two guitarists worked out a song list that collected pop and jazz standards, with arrangements that merged details from each of their lengthy recording and performing careers. ¶ With Atkins' guitar stage left, and Paul's stage right, the disc plays like a conversation, with each taking turns at lead between some coordinated unison playing. The difference in their styles is subtle but immediate, with Atkins' staccato inflections often more country and blue than the cool of Paul's jazz fingerings. The use of head (non-written) arrangements gave these sessions a very organic feel, with the Nashville rhythm section (piano, drums, bass, guitar) integrated seamlessly with the guitarists. There's some friendly competition, with each showing off their remarkable chops and goading the other to greater heights, and there's plenty of friendly verbal jousting before, after and during the. Paul used his renowned overdubbing on only a pair of tracks ("Caravan" and "Lover Come back to Me"), so the sessions remained quite spontaneous. ¶ The four bonus tracks include an alternate version of "Caravan," as well as a rehearsal of "Moonglow / Picnic" that picks up slowly as the duo finds their way through the medley, and eventually dissolves into their own instant review of the performance. Superstar pairings have become such common "events" that they've lost a great deal of their magic, but this one – two genius innovators getting together just to play – is still as musically rich as the day it was originally recorded. [©2007 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]