Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

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Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Larry Marchino » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:53 pm

My son downloaded a CD for me by a Norm Kass & Chet Atkins (Buckaroo and other Guitar County & Western Favorites). I am wondering if anyone out there knows anything about this. I am actually wondering if it is really Chet. I don't think Chet recorded Buckaroo and actually it doesn't sound like he is on that tune. On the tunes that does sound like it could be Chet there are no definitive Chet licks and the "Chet parts" are not particularly difficult. So I'm wondering if it really is him. Also, who is Norm Kass? I know a couple of tunes on the Read My Licks CD were written or co-written by R. L. Kass and he was on the Read My Licks video as part of Chet's band. But I'm unfamiliar with Norm Kass. When I google Norm Kass all I can find is the CD my son downloaded for me (and info about someone running for office), but no bio or other info pertaining to a guitar player. Just wondering if anyone out there knows anything about this. I have been puzzling over this for a while and decided to check with the experts on the Chetboard. Thanks in advance for any information anyone may be able to tell me! Thanks.
Larry Marchino
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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Randy Finney » Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:33 pm

I have been researching Chet for a few years and this is the first time I have heard of this one. Thanks for posting this.

I just listened to it online. Wow. It is kinda weird, isn't it? It certainly isn't Chet playing to the standard for which we all know him.

I haven't discovered anything about the history of the recording...yet...maybe, never will...but, the label, Crown Records, was not very good. They were a bottom feeder subsidiary of Modern Records (Modern began in 1945).

According to David Edwards and Mike Callahan of Both Sides Now,

"Crown was started in 1957 and continued for about a dozen years, earning itself the reputation of the king of the junk record labels. Aside from endlessly reissuing the legitimate hits that were on Modern and RPM, and the B.B. King material, what Crown had to offer was musical junk food on plastic plates. The covers and the vinyl were cheaply made, fell apart almost instantly, and the records sounded worn out right out of the package."

You can read the complete history of Modern/Crown at Both Sides Now http://www.bsnpubs.com/ . Just click on "Discographies" and scroll to the bottom of the page for the link to "Modern/RPM/Crown/Kent - Bahai Brothers".

Actually, if you are into this aspect of music history, there are interesting stories on about 3 dozen different record labels.

Also, somebody reviewed it on Amazon. He said his father used to listen to this record when he was a kid. He also claims that all the song titles are wrong (they are displaced by one ascending, therefore, "Buckaroo is really the first tune).

At any rate, hopefully someone else on the Chetboard knows a lot more about the history of this recording and will post it.

Randy
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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Tony Enamel » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:55 am

Larry Marchino wrote:Also, who is Norm Kass? I know a couple of tunes on the Read My Licks CD were written or co-written by R. L. Kass and he was on the Read My Licks video as part of Chet's band. But I'm unfamiliar with Norm Kass.


I can't contribute any information to the identity of Norm Kass, but I think it's very unlikely that he's connected to R.L. Kass. R.L. Kass is a pseydonym of songwriter Robert Lee Castleman.

http://www.robertleecastleman.com/homepage.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Lee_Castleman

Regards,

Ingo
If it ain't got the groove, the bodies won't move.
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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Randy Finney » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:08 am

I found two leads for finding out more about Norm Kass.

One was on the Steel Guitar Forum. Herb Steiner posted:

"Here's a shot from the 1972 Country Music Show put on at MacArthur Park by Local 47. I had just moved to TX and was back in LA for a few days when Garland called to have me do the show with him. Archie Francis is on drums, it looks like Norm Kass on lead guitar, and I can't identify or remember the other players. Also on that show was Jimmy Lawton, and I played with him also. He had Thumbs Carlisle on lead guitar, and that was the only gig I got to play with Thumbs."

However, the photo is missing from the post. I have sent this email to Herb:

"Dear Herb,

I noticed on the Steel Guitar Forum you posted that you had worked a gig with Norm Kass for the 1972 Country Music Show put on at MacArthur Park by Local 47.

I am a fan of Chet Atkins. The name "Norm Kass" recently came up on the Internet Discussion Forum dedicated to Chet (www.misterguitar.us), as having recorded with Chet on the album "Buckaroo & Other Guitar Country & Western Favorites" on the Crown Label.

Any information you could share about Norm's career would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Randy Finney
(416) 722-6524"


The other lead was that a visitor to James Burton's website posted this message:

"James, Remember Norm Kass, Jay Dee, the old Palomino in N. Hollywood?
Your old Corvette? 24 guitars, then, the old days, etc.
Last ran into you in line at the Toluca Lake Post Office...
I've been trying to get in touch for some years now.
Rowland

Rowland from Greenville, N.C.
Received September 2, 2007"

So, we can be pretty sure that Norm Kass is a real person.

Hopefully, Herb Steiner will get back to us.

Randy
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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Larry Marchino » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:54 pm

Randy,
Thanks for the info! Sounds like this might be a Chet recording from the early 50's maybe. I'll be interested to see if you learn more. This is interesting. Thanks.
Larry
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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Doug Working » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:39 pm

I too listened to this album and bought it for "further inspection".

At first I thought I had discovered a rare treasure, as I have just about every recording Chet ever made, including studio out-takes.

But as I listened intently, I thought this sounds "almost sorta" like Chet. But it's like if it truly is, it lacks Chet's "sparkle". Specifically, Chet's favorite licks that he regularly used. And the tone of the guitar itself doesn't sound like any guitar I have ever heard Chet play. Some of it falls flat on my ear. Bordering on insipid. In my heart I want to believe I found a previously undiscovered Chet treasure....but I am truly not convinced. I want to say Chet on his worst day sounds much better than whoever this is on their best day.

I sure hope a definitive conclusion can be reached by someone with substantial expertise.
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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Dean Peterson » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:50 pm

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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Doug Working » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:47 pm

That guy in the video is pretty good, but he sure ain't no Chet Atkins.

Anyway, from listening to the recordings, I'm figuring that Norm Kass was the guy playing the steel guitar.

The guy in the video link used a flat pick, and whoever the guitarist in the Kass recordings used a thumb pick and played finger style, like Chet.

But I'm still not convinced it was Chet. It's possible, I suppose, but I'm not convinced. As I said, lacks the sparkle that Chet put in all his tunes. (In my opinion). Now on the other hand, why would they put Chet's name on it if it wasn't Chet??

Part of the reason that I think it wasn't real good was that the fidelity or the recording quality of the recordings them self seemed to be second rate. I'm not sure Chet would have settled for that.

Then on the other hand. If it was recorded before Chet really came into his own and started at RCA, maybe then he didn't have a lot of choice in it. I don't know. All theories on my part.
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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby emjaybee94 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:24 pm

First of all, I haven't heard this record, but if you do an internet search for it, it would appear that there are two distinct variations on sale. Amazon sell it as "Norm Kass & Chet Atkins" nearly all the others sell it without associating Chet's name. I'm wondering if Amazon are trying to pull a fast one on everybody. I would be very cautious of buying it to add to my Chet Atkins record collection.

Regards
Mike Barker
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Re: Norm Kass & Chet Atkins

Postby Doug Working » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:34 pm

I bought it for I-pad out of curiosity, but I'm separating it from my Chet collection, because I'm still not convinced that it is Chet. Something is "OFF", and I can't quite put my finger on it. I'd give my eye tooth to be able to solve the mystery.

And if they are pulling a fast one, well, that's dirty pool, and I think (I would HOPE) Chet's family would be quick to litigate.

Doug
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