Of the many albums I listened to on our old mono RCA Victrola, one in particular stood out and is still one of the most important to me - Chet Atkins in Hollywood. Chet had always been known as a country great at the time but this album with him playing more contemporary songs with a full orchestral backing was quite different. There are also two versions of this album. The original cover features his walnut Gretsch Country Gentleman with the L.A. vista at night in the background. From what I’ve read Chet was not happy with his work on the original so he brought the tapes back to his studio in Nashville and re-recorded the guitar parts. This second version, the re-issue and the one I played along with, features a buxom young lady and a cream colored Gretsch on the cover. It is by far my personal favorite of the two, although this discussion will engender a lot of disagreement with Chet aficiandos. Thankfully I found a high-end CD reproduction of it by Mobile Fidelity Sound some years ago.
Chet Atkins influenced me from the very start and is an ongoing inspiration to this day. As I probably would not have pursued the guitar to the extent I did without him and his music, I respectfully dedicated my first CD to “Mr. Guitar.”