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Chester & Lester

Chet Atkins & Les Paul

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Album Review

Chester & Lester is a beautiful and fun album by two masters. It was recorded in the mid-'70s when Chet Atkins was in his fifties and Les Paul was in his sixties. The latter had been in retirement for a decade before the recording of this album. Nashville studio musicians, including Randy Goodrum on piano and Larrie Londin on drums, back up the master guitarists, but this is by no means a country album. In fact, this album swings on classics such as "Birth of the Blues," "Avalon," and "Caravan." Other classic songs, including "It's Been a Long Time" and "It Had to Be You," are beautifully rendered, featuring Les Paul's instantly recognizable ringing bell tone and Chet Atkins' fluid, slightly twangy sound. The recording has an informal feel, with between-song banter (and even some joking in the middle of songs) included on the record, which adds to the enjoyment and warmth of this album. The listener knows that the musicians are having a great time. According to the liner notes, only two songs have any overdubs, so, "You hear the music just as it came down." And it all "came down" beautifully. [The 2007 edition included bonus tracks.]

Biography

Born: 20 June 1924 in Luttrell, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Without Chet Atkins, country music may never have crossed over into the pop charts in the '50s and '60s. Although he recorded hundreds of solo records, Atkins' largest influence came as a session musician and a record producer. During the '50s and '60s, he helped create the Nashville...
Full bio