Picks and Pans Review: Sails

updated 07/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Chet Atkins

It has been two years since Atkins matched guitar riffs with a corps of jazz and rock talents on his album Stay Tuned. So the novelty has had time to wear off. That wouldn't be bad, but this follow-up, another all-instrumental production, doesn't generate nearly as much energy or excitement as the original. Mark Knopfler returns to duet evocatively with Atkins on Why Worry, off the Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms record, and the livelier On a Roll. Earl Klugh adds his touch to Laffin' at Life. But there are some notable absentees from the first LP, such as George Benson and Mark O'Connor. The new musicians brought in by Atkins and co-producer David Hungate—saxophonist Jim Horn for example—aren't used to great effect. And too many songs seem unfocused. Atkins' tone and precision are always astonishing, but when they don't lead to anything melodically, as is often the case on this album, he sounds like a finely tuned engine that's idling. (Columbia)

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