The Scene Changes - 1965

~ Arranger Anita Kerr and Perry go over some music.

~ Arranger Anita Kerr and Perry go over some music.
Perry Como with The Anita Kerr Quartet

Perry Goes To Nashville

As Steve Sholes mentioned to me during one of our brief talks at the Perry Como sessions for this album, it’s a tribute to Perry’s flexibility that he reacted so enthusiastically to Steve’s suggestion that he record in Nashville. In my book, it’s a tribute to Perry’s genuine talent that, after not recording for more than a year, he came into a totally unfamiliar studio, worked with musicians he’d only "heard of," and came up with an album that’s perfection on all counts. And, you know, this fellow Perry Como was relaxed through it all — just like everyone says he is! The Scene Changes from New York to Nashville, but there’s no change in the casual, wonderfully characteristic Como approach to a song.

Perry spent about a week in Nashville — sort of basking in our "Nashville Sound" magic. He worked with a select group of skilled craftsmen whose professional manner was as relaxed as his.

Chet Atkins, director of RCA Victor’s Nashville Studios, produced Perry’s album. ( Chet didn’t so much as touch his famous guitar throughout! ) Anita Kerr, who really has an overabundance of talent for just one girl, wrote all the arrangements and backed Perry vocally with her Anita Kerr Quartet.

Then, backing Perry instrumentally, there was a group of instrumentalists whose names are truly a vital part of the Nashville scene. In fact, these boys help make the Nashville sound the "Nashville Sound!" They are: guitarists Grady Martin, Ray Edenton, Hal Bradley and Jim Wilkerson; pianist Floyd Cramer; sax specialist Boots Randolph; drummer Buddy Harman ( he added an extra fillip via tambourine ); Bob Moore of the rhythmic bass; Charlie McCoy, harmonica man; and steel guitarist Pete Drake, trumpet trombonist Cam Mullins, and saxophonist Dutch McMillin.

And so these are the people who were with Perry Como during the sessions that resulted in this album which is just sure to be a favorite with all you many, many fans of TV’s famous "Mr. C." The songs are wonderful, all of them: bright, bluesy, ballads, up-beats — done in the Como manner we’ve all come to love. To watch — as well as hear — him in action with Anita’s quartet and it’s vocal blendings and the Nashville musicians going to town . . . well, it’s something this fellow won’t soon forget. I just don’t know when Perry pleased me more: mellowing his way through new things like "Dream On Little Dreamer" and "My Own Peculiar Way", bouncing along through "That Ain’t All" and "A Hatchet, a Hammer, a Bucket of Nails", or giving the great Como touch to oldies like "Funny How Time Slips Away" and "I Really Don’t Want to Know". You decide for yourself, why don’t you?

While in Nashville, we’d like to add as a kind of footnote, Perry got acquainted with the city and some of its people — and further burnished his "Mr. Nice Guy" glow. For instance, when he went shopping for gifts for his wife and daughter, he wound up with an "audience" of some 200 ( mostly female ) fans who were more than willing to help him make selections! And when he summoned a doctor to treat a minor throat ailment and asked "How much?," the doctor replied, "I’m a fan, Mr. Como. This is an ‘on-the-house’ call."

It seems, although The Scene Changes, Perry Como remains the same . . . a big talent, a great singer, a person who’s nice to listen to and know.

Red O’Donnell
Nashville Banner

~ Chet Atkins and Perry between "takes"

~ Chet Atkins and Perry between "takes"


Arranged by Anita Kerr and produced by Chet Atkins
Recorded in RCA Victor’s "Nashville Sound" Studio, Nashville, Tennessee
Recording Engineers: Chuck Seitz and William Vandevort
RCA Victor LSP-3396

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Monday, January 18, 2021