Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chet Atkins and Les Paul - Chester & Lester

My dad got me this album a few years ago on a whim, an original vinyl edition purchased on ebay in great shape.

He told me that he stumbled across the record himself, bought it, and then purchased another copy for me as he was impressed with the results.

Chester and Lester is a lighthearted recording of two guitar kings Chet Atkins and Les Paul. Perhaps you’ve heard of one of them, or perhaps you play one of their guitars.

The two gentlemen joke around, show off, and show genuine appreciation for one another in what can best be described as a fly-on-the-wall recording where nobody really takes themselves too seriously, but the guitar riffs are as serious as a heart attack.

Nothing sounds like it’s too difficult for these masters, but in the ears of a novice like me, there are several moments where I was shaking my head in disbelief as Chet (in his 50’s at the time) and Les (in his 60’s) completely master the frets.

Chester and Lester was recorded in two days with no overdubs and no shortage of joy within the grooves of my copy. Without question, if you don’t get a kick out of the honery shenanigans that these two legends dish out in such short order, then music may not be the answer to soothe your ills.

Because even a barely-capable player like yours truly finds Chester and Lester to be both an inspiration and validation of the power of music and its ability to build a bridge to a better life.

Thank goodness someone had the good sense to get these two together for an impromptu meeting that can provide a lifetime of joy with each subsequent listen.

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