When I First Heard Chet
Well, like Ray (Cummins), I played trumpet in high school, except that my trumpet idol was Harry James... difference in age, I guess.
But after school I played Rock 'n' Roll on my new Gibson Les Paul Jr., and tried to be Jerry Lee Lewis on the piano. Sometimes I think that if I had concentrated on one
instrument, I would have been a lot better off.
The first time I heard Chet, I was about 14 or so, and someone played his version of "Walk, Don't Run" from his "Teen Scene" album...and I didn't like it...I was sold on
the Ventures version (probably because I had just learned it). I also didn't believe that he was doing it all...at one time. I was convinced it was "overdubbing".
But, as time passed, the more I learned about the guitar, the more impressed I was with
Chet. Then, I heard "Meet Mr. Callahan", and that did it...I've marveled over
him ever since.
However, Conyers, Ga, did not have an over-abundance of pickers, much less fingerstyle pickers, so Chet's style might as well have been on Mars, it was so
inaccessable to me.
Then in the 70's I picked up an album called "Pickin' with Chet" or something like that, where you have the tab and play along with him from the record. I learned the
main part of "Windy and Warm" and "Nine-Pound Hammer", and that go me hooked.
As years passed, moved away from the guitar and started playing keyboards in various bands.
In the early 90's, I had a triple-bypass, and while I was home recuperating, I picked out "Yankee Doodle Dixie"...worked on it for weeks, only to find out later it was in
the wrong key. After I got well, and went back to work, I forgot how I did it.
Then I discovered "TAB"...(I know, better late than never). Its opened up the Chet world to me...not that I can play them all, but at least its something to learn from.
Now one of my main past times is writing TAB in Tabledit, and Larry Kuhns even put a spot for some of my stuff on his web page...I was honored.
'Tis my opinion, now, that anyone who listens to Chet, and doesn't appreciate him, knows absolutely nothing about the guitar. And I won't even get into how he
revolutionized the industry with the "Nashville Sound" and helped numerous people on their way to stardom.
But most important, and I have never met, or even seen Chet live, is that he strikes me as a warm and wonderful human being.