Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Entertainer.

In the previous post on Jerry Reed, we linked to a Chet Atkins clip from 1975, a solo performance of the Scott Joplin rag from 1902, "The Entertainer". We think you'll agree, it's deserving of a post all its own.

I keep coming back to one thought after viewing this clip multiple times: Chet Atkins' fingers look as though they were genetically programmed to play guitar. And it's hardly original to point out that he's probably the most natural guitar player to ever live; he just seems completely at one with the instrument. Add to that his gentlemanly countenance, the muffled thud of his boots keeping time, and a smashing polka-dot shirt, and it all adds up to 2 minutes and 15 seconds of prime Chetness: controlled relaxation, and casual mastery. And don't miss the lick he throws in around 1:30 - I had to rewind a few times to catch it, but check the expression on his face: he surprised himself with that one.

As a bonus, we also bring you a clip from the early 80's, and what looks like a variety show from Hell gone completely awry: Chet and frequent collaborator Paul Yandell performing a Beatles medley, beautifully played but frequently marred by cheesy orchestration and wholly unnecessary backing vocals hidden off-stage. Chet plays along with the "hey, we're recording here" conceit, before being joined by the bleach-blonde host, and, of course...Tina Turner? Chet, of course, takes it all in stride...the consummate professional.

"The Entertainer", live 1975, show unknown. Plus: "If I Fell / For No One / Something / Lady Madonna", early 80's variety program (not great quality, but WTF factor + 5):

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