Sunday, July 10, 2011

A-pickin' and a-grinnin'

This started out as another Theme Song Sunday post about "Mr. Sandman," one of my favorite songs of all time.  Briefly, one of the most gorgeous things I've ever heard was "Mr. Sandman" performed by a 15 piece steel drum band on a street corner.  I searched YouTube and came up empty but I did find Pomplamoose's version so I was going to write about that instead because their video is so cool.  Then I clicked on Chet Atkins' cover in their sidebar and kept on clicking on all the Atkins I could find.

According to his Wikipedia page Atkins' first job was as a fiddle and guitar player for WNOX-AM in Knoxville, TN in 1942.  Over the course of a career than lasted 59 years until his death in 2001 he won 13 Grammy's for performance and one for Lifetime Achievement.  He performed with Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Family, Mark Knoffler, his hero Merle Travis, everybody's hero Les Paul and the Jordanaires (best known for backing Elvis).  Not bad for a high school drop out.

He covered everything, including songs I've mentioned elsewhere like "Stars and Stripes Forever" and "City of New Orleans."  Below you'll find his cover of Dave Brubek's "Take Five" which he said was the most difficult piece of music he ever played.  Aren't the most difficult things the most worth it?  Thanks, Chet.


  1. Mr. Sandman? Why is that your favorite? (just curious)

  2. Have you ever heard the Chordettes version? It's the one that immediately comes to mind (don't you want a man to have wavy hair like Liberace?) with all those gorgeous dreamy voices in tight harmony. It's really beautiful but what totally sold me on it was the steel drum band on the street corner.

  3. I think I know the one you're thinking of (thought it was the Andrews Sisters, though -- grin). Can't imagine what it would be like on steel drum.


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