Don Gibson with Spanish Guitars--Guitars are the Centerpiece

Don Gibson with Spanish Guitars--Guitars are the Centerpiece

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Don Gibson with Spanish Guitars--Guitars are the Centerpiece
DON GIBSON WITH SPANISH GUITARS

(RCA Victor LSP-3594)
July/1966
Produced by Chet Atkins

Solid country effort from journeyman musician/songwriter with some amazing background guitar playing by producer Chet Atkins, among others.

DON GIBSON WITH SPANISH GUITARS

(RCA Victor LSP-3594)
July/1966
Produced by Chet Atkins

Solid country effort from journeyman musician/songwriter with some amazing background guitar playing by producer Chet Atkins, among others.

Track List

SIDE ONE

BLUES IN MY MIND (Fred Rose)
MARIA ELENA (S.K. Russell - Lorenzo Barcalata - William H. Heagney)
MAKING BELIEVE (Jimmy Work)
JUST CALL ME LONESOME (Rex Griffin)
VAYA CON DIOS (MAY GOD BE WITH YOU) (Larry Russell - Buddy Pepper - Inez James)
ONCE A DAY (Bill Anderson)

SIDE TWO

I CAN'T TELL MY HEART THAT (Johnny Wright - Jack Anglin - Jim Anglin)
WITH YOUR LOVE ON MY MIND (Robert Ford)
(ALL MY FRIENDS ARE GONNA BE) STRANGERS (Liz Anderson)
SOMEBODY LOVES YOU DARLING (Wiley Morris - Zake Morris)
DON'T YOU EVER GET TIRED (OF HURTIN' ME) (Hank Cochran)
STRANGER TO ME (Don Gibson)

Personnel:
Grady Martin, Chet Atkins, Harold Bradley - guitar
Ray Edenton, Velma Smith - rh.guitar
Roy Huskey - bass
Buddy Harman, Jerry Carrigan - drums
Hargus Pig Robbins - piano
Vocals:
The Jordanaires (Hoyt Hawkins, Raymond Walker, Neal Matthews, Gordon Stoker)

Recorded: March 15-16/1966, RCA Victor Studio, Nashville

Editor review

Overall rating 
 
3.6
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Masterful guitar playing revs up album by country

This record turned out to be the surprise in my stack of $1 LPs from a twice-yearly vinyl garage sale held near my home here in Roswell, Ga. As a long-time country listener, I was familiar with Don Gibson and that smooth vocal sound that was practiced by so many male vocalists in the 1960s and early 1970s. I was also aware of his record as a songwriter—which is what makes him most interesting to me.







But I was unprepared to be blown away by the guitar work on this album and it brought me back to a new appreciation of the studio musicianship of Nashville in the 1960s. Obviously, the star of the background show here is Chet Atkins. The Spanish Guitars reference in the title is a bit of a gimmick, as expressed in the somewhat breathless back-of-jacket copy about Gibson being a musical diamond improved by this new “setting.” But the real grinning here is from the picking sprinkled everywhere in this record.







Some of the work is unmistakably that of Chet Atkins but all of the players here are amazingly talented—fluidly fast and super clean in their licks. With only a bit of reverb in the effects bag to lean on, this playing has to be precise and it is. Having Atkins as the producer, obviously, makes a difference as well and you can hear the best of what the Nashville Sound had to offer in the work of Atkins at RCA.







Guitar licks in this album fall like rain from a summer storm—popping up quickly and fading away in unexpected places. The playing is like water being poured from a pitcher and the production values are clean and clear. The album label says it’s recorded in mono with the “Dynagroove” process but the cover declares it stereo. It’s kind of hard to figure as I don’t think it was done with much stereo effect, if any. The Dynagroove recording process doesn’t seem to affect the dynamics of the recording here as badly as some reviewers have complained about with other recordings. Of course, Atkins may well have known the tricks to get the most out of the process as he had been at RCA for years and working with Gibson since 1957 by this time.







Gibson is in fine voice on this record. His voice never seemed to suffer from the demons that affected his career otherwise—the usual hard-living country music ones.. His voice is not the best of the era but it is smooth, pleasant and filled with the emotion that some of the slicker voices lack. His sound of longing and hurt on some of these cuts is spot on—listen to “I Can’t Tell My Heart That.” His sound is well matched to the country-folk-rock blend that Atkins serves up on the arrangements. The style of all of these songs is crisp and deliberate. There is nothing sloppy on this record in terms of vocals, arrangements or playing. Of course, it’s also not that spontaneous either.







This record reminds me all over again just how good you had to be to make it in Nashville in the 1950s and 60s. The singing of Gibson and the session players work on the music are all top notch and well executed. On other Atkins-Gibson collaborations Jerry Reed shows up on guitar. Some good musicians worked sessions for people like Atkins in this time. On the background vocal side, I guess the best I can say for The Jordanaires is that they don’t get in the way all that much.







And, by the way, the songwriters listed on this album are a Who’s Who of 1960s Nashville song masters—Fred Rose, the Anglins, Bill Anderson, Hank Cochran, and, of course, Gibson himself.







Being as this is a 40+ year old pressing, it’s not fair to judge the quality. The copy I have is in excellent shape and plays back well with little noise and tracks true on my turntable. I do not have high-powered record cleaning machine, so I’m sure it could benefit from a deep cleaning beyond simpler tools to improve the background noise I did hear. A quick online search did find used copies available at various used record websites, so it’s not hard to find this either online or via crate diving, I’m sure. Of course, I only paid $1 for mine so I really have no complaints!

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