Saturday, June 20, 2009


Today would have been Chet Atkins' 85th birthday.

Chet took the "chicken-picken" style of Merle Travis and made a distinctive variation all his own. Along with Doc Watson and Norman Blake, Chet played some of the most crisp and clean guitar ever cooked up, all the while keeping it warm and friendly to the ear. A true original, Chet was always one of those players who even a casual fan could always identify with just the first few notes.

Here's a hint at Chet's talents. As with all great instrumentalists, the rule of Uncle Jeffy's thumb is "Shut up and learn something."

It's also the 61st anniversary of the day "Toast of the Town" made it's television debut.

Later they changed the title to "The Ed Sullivan Show", and it's just as well since that's what everyone in the country watching it, called it anyway. This show ran from 1948 until 1971 and I can remember watching it even as a kid. Granted I watched it for appearances of The Muppets and Topo Gigio, but it's also the first place I ever got to see Bill Cosby, Robert Klein, David Steinberg, Stiller and Meara, Fred Willard and any number of great comic minds. History also remembers it for giving the first US national exposure to Elvis Presley and The Beatles, and of course any number of stories about appearances by The Doors, The Rolling Stones and any number of other music greats. This is hard to relate the importance of to younger folks though, as this was back when television was a more special thing, and shows an event.

To quote Cousin Frank this is all back, "when things were like...cooler."

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