Chet Atkins, Mr. Sandman, Mrs. Robinson

Posted in Chet Atkins, Youtube Favs on November 13th, 2011 by Willie

So one day, on a crummy radio in the 1940s, Chet Atkins was listening to Merle Travis play guitar.  He thought for sure that what Merle was doing was picking with his thumb and two fingers, because if he was just using his thumb and index finger, it would have been impossible.  It turned out Merle was just using his thumb and index finger, so what Chet accidentally did was invent his own style of guitar playing known as the “Atkins Style.”  Chet was a massively influential and beautiful guitar player who did everything from jazz, folk, country, rock, blues, and even classical.   I have two gorgeous clips of Chet.  One is from 1954, in color no less, of a TV performance he did of “Mr. Sandman,” the song that defines 50s dreaminess.  The other is probably 25 years later or so of him doing Simon and Garfunkel’s immortal “Mrs. Robinson,” all as a stunning guitar solo.  To appreciate Chet, is to appreciate the artistry of the true guitar virtuoso.  His timing, feel, and fluidity are second to none, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the work of a master.

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The Everly Brothers and John Lennon, All I Have to Do Is Dream, Cathy's Clown

Posted in John Lennon, The Everly Brothers, Youtube Favs on July 24th, 2011 by Willie

Dreams are mysterious and crazy things.  Sometimes you’ll have a dream and have no idea of what to make of it.  Songs simply about dreams, even sort of romantic cliched ones, are sometimes enough just to trigger those feelings of the novel, the unexplained, and the otherworldly.  Such is the case with the 1958 Felice and Boudleaux Bryant penned classic, “All I Have to Do Is Dream” performed by the Everly Brothers and Chet Atkins, (on guitar.)  Don and Phil Everly, are still out there today, singing their unique brand of 50s dream rock, living legends found unstoppable by age or changing trends.  The song is an intoxicating whirlpool of perfect close vocal harmonies, and proto-psychedelic lyrics about love and dreaming.  In the performance below you also get “Cathy’s Clown,” their gorgeous 1960 hit that really ensnared John Lennon of Beatle fame in its beautiful structure.  Speaking of the Beatles, the Everlys were always listed as a MASSIVE influence on John and Paul, and all you gotta do is see the video below to guess why.  Two boys singing pop with flawless harmony as if it was second nature.  The Beatles just took that as a device and added it to their already killer repertoire of songwriting and performing mastery.  As a bonus, I’ve included a demo by John in the 70s of him trying out his own version of “Cathy’s Clown.”  It’s brilliant and sad.  Enjoy.

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