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"50 of The Best Acoustic Guitar Songs of all Time"


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A totally predictable and somewhat boring list. Want proof?

 

Ry Cooder called this "The most soulful, transcendent piece in all American music." Didn't make their list though. Come to think of it Cooder did not make their list either. Guess he did not sell enough records.

 

 

And you know that anybody putting together a list of the "best" acoustic guitar pieces not including this guy must be on puppy chow.

 

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The problem with lists such as this is that they tend to include songs that were commercially successfully. It does not mean the songs are not "god" but often just incredibly pedestrian. But even then how you could put together a list and leave out such acoustic stalwarts as the Airplane's "Embryonic Journey" or the Yardbirds "White Summer" is beyond me. But look at the two Stones songs that made it. Yeah, they are good songs but still look at the cuts on "Beggars Banquet" arguably one of the best acoustic rock LPs ever recorded which to the guys who put together the list does not exist.

 

I admit I am incredibly picky. But I really love acoustic music and tend to dig through the dust bin of recorded music seeking stuff out. I have found some gems like the Who's acoustic version of "Happy Jack" and the Stone's all-acoustic take of "All Down the Line."

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what do you think about this list.

 

I think some guy posted a list of his favorite songs. That's nice, and there are some good ones there. But aside from that…. not impressed. My list would certainly be different.

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I haven't read very many "Best of" lists I've agreed with less. I'lll give them a break, though, as I'm betting the authors are young. No one old enough to really be familiar with the body of material would pick "Teach Your Children" from CSN, and "Hotel California" (which is not even an acoustic song) from The Eagles. I guess maybe they mean some acoustic version of Hotel California I haven't heard; it ain't acoustic because it's got a 12 string part in it. Actually there are a lot here that are acoustic versions of electric songs, making me think the authors are not only too young to get the older choices right, they're too "electric" to be doing an acoustic list at all.

 

Was there any Dylan in there? No. Too young to handle the older material well, too electric to handle an acoustic list and not paying attention at all.

 

P

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Right, lists are silly but let's play: if you are going to do acoustic, do acoustic. No band songs on principle (tho I might make an exception for something like Stairway, cause acosutic plaeyrs will copy that). "Soft rock (Hotel Calif for instance) does not qualify as acoustic. Nor in my book do word/strum songs without a memorable gutiar part (sorry, Bob).

 

As for who might qualify: Bert jansch (Ajnii), Davey Graham (Scraboro Fair) & Jorma Kaukenon (E Journey, Water Song). Even if you leave off pre-rock, you could still sneak in Gary Davis, Skip James & Doc Watson via the folk revival. And if you allow bluegrass? Clarence White and Tony Rice (name a favorite).

 

ps whoever posted the ytube clip of Dark is the Night used WIllie McTells image, not Johnson's. In any case, McTell desrves a place in the pantheon for Statesboro Blues.

 

pps. THE right Neil Young song would be Needle, not Heart (Needle is the one pickers want to learn).

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Right, lists are silly but let's play: if you are going to do acoustic, do acoustic. No band songs on principle (tho I might make an exception for something like Stairway, cause acosutic plaeyrs will copy that). "Soft rock (Hotel Calif for instance) does not qualify as acoustic. Nor in my book do word/strum songs without a memorable gutiar part (sorry, Bob).

 

As for who might qualify: Bert jansch (Ajnii), Davey Graham (Scraboro Fair) & Jorma Kaukenon (E Journey, Water Song). Even if you leave off pre-rock, you could still sneak in Gary Davis, Skip James & Doc Watson via the folk revival. And if you allow bluegrass? Clarence White and Tony Rice (name a favorite).

 

ps whoever posted the ytube clip of Dark is the Night used WIllie McTells image, not Johnson's. In any case, McTell desrves a place in the pantheon for Statesboro Blues.

 

pps. THE right Neil Young song would be Needle, not Heart (Needle is the one pickers want to learn).

 

Fair enough, but IMHO, that'd be a different list; a great acoustic guitar parts, or great acoustic guitar performances list. A great acoustic songs list, would get half of Blood on the Tracks before you got to anything those guys listed. And while Clarence, Tony, Jorma, etc. are fabulous pickers, some of them are good, but not great songwriters. You want songs and picking? You could get your 50 from Stills and Richard Thompson alone.

 

p

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Zomby,in all honesty, how many of those songs do you know when you've got your head only in the blues mate ... ?

 

Have you ever heard of Damien Rice or Jack Johnson ?

 

The problem with lists such as this is that they tend to include songs that were commercially successfully. It does not mean the songs are not "god" but often just incredibly pedestrian. But even then how you could put together a list and leave out such acoustic stalwarts as the Airplane's "Embryonic Journey" or the Yardbirds "White Summer" is beyond me. But look at the two Stones songs that made it. Yeah, they are good songs but still look at the cuts on "Beggars Banquet" arguably one of the best acoustic rock LPs ever recorded which to the guys who put together the list does not exist.

 

I admit I am incredibly picky. But I really love acoustic music and tend to dig through the dust bin of recorded music seeking stuff out. I have found some gems like the Who's acoustic version of "Happy Jack" and the Stone's all-acoustic take of "All Down the Line."

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Fair enough, but IMHO, that'd be a different list; a great acoustic guitar parts, or great acoustic guitar performances list. A great acoustic songs list, would get half of Blood on the Tracks before you got to anything those guys listed. And while Clarence, Tony, Jorma, etc. are fabulous pickers, some of them are good, but not great songwriters. You want songs and picking? You could get your 50 from Stills and Richard Thompson alone.

 

p

Dead right on Thompson.

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50 songs, only one black guy, no women? At the very least I'd like to see Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell well up on that list. Elizabeth Cotten deserves to be on there too.

 

Also in the classics, I'd like to see Bert Jansch, Richie Havens, Terry Callier, Johnny Cash and Tim Buckley in there.

 

For lesser known acoustic based stunners, check out Explore You by Howe Gelb, Flirted With You All My Life by Vic Chestnutt, The Day I Would Bury You by Nina Nastasia, Ghost Of The Girl In The Well by Willard Grant Conspiracy, Spirit Ditch by Sparklehorse, Alameda by Elliott Smith.

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50 songs, only one black guy, no women? At the very least I'd like to see Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell well up on that list. Elizabeth Cotten deserves to be on there too. Also I'd like to see Bert Jansch, Richie Havens, Johnny Cash in there.
Good call. It's Classic Rock Syndrome is what it is. Anything outside that framework doesnt exist. Havens and JM would be good for starters.
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Right, lists are silly but let's play: if you are going to do acoustic, do acoustic. No band songs on principle (tho I might make an exception for something like Stairway, cause acosutic plaeyrs will copy that). "Soft rock (Hotel Calif for instance) does not qualify as acoustic. Nor in my book do word/strum songs without a memorable gutiar part (sorry, Bob).

 

 

 

 

I was thinking the same, only my first thought was that the list maker doesn't even know what an acoustic guitar is, let alone an acoustic guitar song....

 

 

Most on that list are heavy rock bands doing a softer number, with possible acoustic guitar or two in there somewhere.

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Many interesting replies to this post and I agree with most of them. A lot of great acoustic performances are missing and any list about: the best songs, best guitar players, best of.... all time...etc.. can induce an endless discussion and that's OK.

 

btw, these two "young men" are not bad at all: msp_unsure.gif

 

 

 

Thanks.

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It is 50 OF the best not THE 50 best, and the author states it is incomplete and in no particular order.....so I think it is a pretty good list. Plus the idea is to inspire the reader to play some great songs, which for me it did. If it was a list of THE best then to me it would be missing Pearl Jams Elderly Woman Behind A Counter In A Small Town. That was the one that popped in my head right away.

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I think some guy posted a list of his favorite songs. That's nice, and there are some good ones there. But aside from that…. not impressed. My list would certainly be different.

 

Same thought I had. Also, I found it tremendously lazy that many of the songs were just acoustic versions of popular rock songs.

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