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Chet Atkins with Tommy Emmanuel

The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World – 1997 (Columbia)

Reviewed by Dan Kuchar

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CDs by Chet Atkins with Tommy Emmanuel

On his latest, Chet Atkins teams up with Aussie guitar wunderkind Tommy Emmanuel to forge yet another superb collaborative effort.

Emmanuel's guitar style is at times astonishingly similar to Atkins's (witness opening cut "Borsalino") and quite contrasting at other times ("Mr. Guitar"). Overall, this album is sweet and wonderful candy for the ear. The arrangements are extremely spare usually featuring only light bass and drums to support the deceptively simple guitar stylings of Atkins and Emmanuel. Chet and Tommy cover a wide variety of music melding Spanish, jazz, bluegrass and even a medley of Australian anthems "Waltzing Matilda" and "Road to Gundaghi." The only disappointments are when they sing (more like narrate) the title track and "Ode to Mel Bay," a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the author of the world famous beginning guitar method books. "Ode" comes complete with Atkins' mocking "Red River Valley" solo where he manages to sound like a beginner guitarist.

Otherwise, these finger pickers taking over the world would be quite an improvement.