Romantic Guitar of "The Other Chet Atkins"


This LP is a standout among the many fine albums that Chet Atkins produced for RCA Victor. It was recorded in Nashville by the legendary Bill Porter, known to audiophiles for his exceptional recordings of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and others. Within this set you'll find a carefully chosen program of beautifully crafted tunes that evoke the rhythm, melody and color of Spain. Each selection is impeccably arranged and played by Chet alone. On a casual listen, you'd swear that there were other musicians supporting Chet, later to realize that the full, lush sound is from Chet alone. The sound on this release is superb, with the nylon stringed guitars reproduced with both warmth and detail. Another plus is the suprisingly deep, defined bass. I own two copies of this album, both Black Dog Living Stereo label pressings from Indianapolis, with identical 10S/10S stampers. This is one record you'll want to have a back-up copy of. This title has been on The Absolute Sound Superdisc List for many years and deservedly so. Although the record is not rare, it's appearance on the list has pushed the price up over the years. It is not unusual to see near-mint copies selling between $60.00 and $100.00. Even at these prices, it is well worth it, particularly the Indianapolis pressing.

Listening and comparing hundreds of Living Stereo LPs over many years and many systems, I have come to the conclusion that in most cases, the pressings from RCA's facility in Indianapolis are far superior to those pressed at Rockaway and Hollywood. The sound on the Indianapolis pressings is tube-like in the best sense of the word, perfectly balanced between detail and warmth, with a solid bass foundation and smooth highs. The clear and silky midrange is to die for. The quality of the vinyl seems to be higher than that used in the other locations, The quiet vinyl and meticulous pressings impart a lower noise floor, letting low level detail to emerge, and allowing a closer connection to the intent of the music. The records themselves are usually a bit heavier and finished with a rounded edge that makes them a pleasure to handle. Even the printing on the label is of higher quality. RCA must have been aware of this, as most important promotional records as well as custom work was done in Indianapolis. Rockaway pressings are a close second choice, and I wouldn't refuse one if there was no Indianapolis available. Hollywood pressings are a distant third - I avoid them if possible. How to identify the provence of your particular pressing? Look for a capital "I", "R" or "H" stamped (or sometimes inscribed) in the dead wax opposite the matrix numbers.

Coming up: More gems from the Living Stereo catalog, including Chet Atkins "Caribbean Guitar" and Dick Schory's "Music for Bang, Barroom, and Harp", both TAS favorites.

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