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on January 4, 2005
This album, released in 1987, may not be the one you want...

The song Classical Gas, by Mason Williams, has been recorded many times. Mason Williams has recorded at least three different versions himself, so it's not too surprising that many people end up buying something different than they expected. Here is a list of some of the more notable versions:

Title: Classical Gas
Performer: Mason Williams
Album: The Mason Williams Phonograph Record
Year: 1968
Comment: This is the original hit you have heard on the radio many times.

Title: Classical Gas
Performer: Mason Williams
Album: Handmade
Year: 1970
Comment: This superb acoustic version is my favorite. It also appears on the 1999 "The Story of Us" soundtrack. Many MP3 files circulating the Internet incorrectly credit this version to Eric Clapton.

Title: Classical Gas
Performer: Chet Atkins
Album: Street Dreams
Year: 1986
Comment: Features acoustic and electric guitar, violin, and flute - an interesting listen.

Title: Classical Gas
Performer: Mason Williams and Mannheim Steamroller
Album: Classical Gas
Year: 1987
Comment: This is the album shown above and is good if you like Mannheim Steamroller, but it does not contain the original Classical Gas recording that most people want.

Title: Classical Gas
Performer: Vanessa-Mae
Album: The Violin Player
Year: 1995
Comment: Very nice cover with violin as the lead instrument.

Title: Classical Gas
Performer: California Guitar Trio
Album: Pathways
Year: 1998
Comment: Impressive.

Title: Classical Gas
Performer: Zoe McCulloch
Album: Gypsy Noodle
Year: 2004
Comment: Electric guitar version by a brilliant young player. This album features several compositions by Mason Williams.
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on August 31, 2001
Yes...I too bought it for Classical Gas. I only wish I had read the reviews BEFORE I bought it. I've searched years for this song only to finally find it and find that it is a poor rendition of what the original sounded like. Mason is awesome and the rest of the CD is good listening, but if you're a big Classical Gas fan like I am, spare yourself and skip this version. In the original, that guitar spoke to you, reached out and grabbed your senses, took you away to some magical place, made you want to go out and buy a guitar. Kind of like "Apache" by the Ventures, another awesome demonstration of the power and beauty of the guitar. This version of Classical Gas robs you of that appreciation.
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on November 1, 1999
I was disappointed with the overall quality of this cd. I have always enjoyed Mason Williams but this cd doesn't do him justice. The recording quality is poor and the sound produced is very "tinny". It sounded too much like listening to an old transistor radio. Classical Gas itself was a big disappointment. The older recordings of this were less synthesized and had more of Williams' superb playing style. It is such a great piece and this cd didn't give it the right attention. You really would do better to look for a different cd; something else with better sound quality!
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on August 6, 1999
Excessive volumn dynamic range. Using in the car finds me frequently grabbing for the volume control. Numerous errors left in the recording: The start of track 8 has a drum sequence that had several listeners thinking that the CD player was skipping. Also in track 8 is a glaring guitar booboo left in. Some of the orchestra chording choice in Classical Gas departs significantly from the original. I liked the original much better. I think that guitar lovers will be disappointed with the orchestras nearly constant overwhelming of the guitar. While I liked some of the orchestra passages, for the most part, I prefer the original recording. Lastly there is one track that exhibits the current mode of @#$$% EXCESSIVE GRATUITOUS REPETITION. Track 9 has a single note repeated at a Chinese water torture rate during the entire recording! Why??
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on August 17, 2001
I agree with other reviewers that this version of _Classical Gas_ is very VERY disappointing.
It is NOT the version you hear on the radio, and yes, the orchestra completely overpowers the guitar, which is scarcely heard at all save for the very beginning! There's too much funky electronic sound added that does nothing for the work (or any of the other songs on the album for that matter) and if anything subtract substantially from the beauty of the music.
I am learning guitar myself, and my guitar instructor commented that _Classical Gas_ was pretty much "the only notable song Mason Williams ever did".
Listening to the rest of the tracks on this CD, I would be inclined to agree. They're not horrible, but they remind me very much of the kind of elevator music that used to be played on an old Houston station "KODA 99.1"
(they should have called it KOMA, since I used to listen to it in High School late at night, and it would put me to sleep...fast!)
Would suggest potential buyers skip this version and buy the older versions still available, assuming you are out to get a personal copy of the original _Classical Gas_.
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on March 10, 1999
I bought this CD because I love Classical Gas - the original version. This CD doesn't have the original version, it has a new version which I don't think is quite as good. However, this CD deserves 5 stars because of the recording of Baroque-A-Nova. I'd never heard it till I got the CD, and after listening to it a few times it's one of my Favourite Songs Of All Time. There are some complex harmonies in there for a pop song and some unusual but gorgeous chord progressions. Apparently, this song was written from the "off-cuts" of Classical Gas, and it has the same sort of "rock-song-with-an-orchestra-backing it" style. As for the rest, they're pretty good on the whole, but it's Baroque-A-Nova that you'll keep listening to. It's a shame that Mason Williams' follow up to Classical Gas, which won two Grammys, wasn't B.A.N.
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on March 28, 2007
I bought this album for "Classical Gas". 1967 the TV show Smothers Brothers was on, Manson Williams was writing for the show, and having been away from his guitar for awhile, he "fueled up", the result was this Masterpiece. If you have never heard it, this is a must. When we heard him play it on the Smothers Brothers, we were stunned! This is a "must" no matter what type of music you are into, I would elevate it to the level of the Brandenburg concerto. This is guitar, you may have heard Flamenco guitar, or any other guitar, but this guitar piece stands alone, classic.
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on March 13, 2001
I am surprised by some of the negative remarks about this cd. I bought mine years ago and the quality is impeccable. Perhaps there has been a new pressing (or whatever they do for cd's). I really liked the original Classical Gas, but I prefer this one. All the tracks are musical and pleasing. As for Tommy Emmanuel, well, I have a couple of his (and his brother Phil's) cd's, and those are definitely worth exploring. The recordings I have, however are completely different from Mason Williams' style. Now, what about the Shadows?
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on December 5, 2005
Chip Davis and friends know their way around a good arrangement, and some of these classic guitar tunes by the outragesouly talented Mason Williams do him and the songs justice - most notably the wonderful version of Greensleeves and of course the title track. And, as pure listening fun, the album is overall incredibly pleasant. A nice mix of old and new - and a good hook for those Mannheim Steamroller arrangements.
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on February 28, 2012
Man, I used to *love* this song (Classical Gas)! I was a 10-year-old Black kid from the Bronx and I used to spend my summers in Spartanburg SC. My dearly belated grandfather was a mail carrier and he used to take me with him on his routes. I remember the first time I heard Mason Williams' "Classical Gas" -- it was on the radio in his truck. I couldn't get enough of it. I remember when Tommy Smothers tried to play it on the Smothers Brothers Show. I think what got me about it was it was the first time I heard a guitar line and a bass line played at the same time by the same person. Or at least the first time I knew of it.

Mannheim Steamroller steamrolled all over it with their busy, Yanni-like arrangement. They may as well have gotten someone else to play guitar, because it really didn't matter. I didn't even bother listening to the rest. I really regret having bought this.
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