Acoustic guitar has always been a special spot in musical history from the early days of music. From the time of plucking and bottleneck sketches there was never a very simplistic set of items that didn’t tell some kind of story about independence, pleasure or acceptance.
There are vinyl collections so precious that they need to be cherished for their historical nature. Owning an ultrasonic record cleaning machine will help you preserve them better, but that’s another story.
Not only can it have a detailed history on the evolution of acoustic guitar, but also my list of the 13 greatest Acoustic Guitar albums of all time to be completely vinyl-owned!
Robert Johnson – The Centennial Collection
“It is currently the best re-master of the whole catalogue. As it comes to acoustic blues – because there are many strains – it is rock ‘ n ‘roll that Johnson must be the strongest.
“70 to 80% of his compositions are standards released hundreds of times. His type of guitar is, simply, definitive. You go up to Chicago from Robert Johnson, up to Muddy Waters. You switch from Muddy Waters to Clapton and The Stones.
“It’s so rock ‘n’ roller with its rhythmic substance. It’s not a competition, but I think he was the best player with acoustic blues.”
John Lee Hooker – House Of Blues (1960)
It wasn’t until 1960 that “House of Blues” was released, after numerous singles and concerts across the world. Imagine the band performing in a small room sealed with steel, rebinding voices ringing with a metallic elemental arrangement. If this is conceivable, the album’s sound made with ease.
In “Walkin’ The Boogie,” the alarming rapid riffs of Hooker are burning off steam faster than a whisky shot reverberated after the speech as the drummer hits the drums as a silent rough slap that slowly increases as the song progresses.
The sum of soul and vitality being poured into one’s bloodstream in each track heats the body exaggeratedly.
The way he stomped his feet at each song like “Love Blues” or “Sugar Mama” almost yanks at the, and pushes it along, pushed to the quiet rhythm of the 8-contest beat-slapping the drums, heavy riffs, and agony at every lyric he shouts and hums.
“House of Blues” was easily one of his best and simplest albums to find online, but while there are many in stock, it never goes out of fashion because it is one of the most strong acoustic guitar types ever.
Townes Van Zandt – Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas (1977)
” I’ve never heard it so quiet in here.” remarks Townes Van Zandt as he went through a monumental live scene caught on Live At The Old Quarter. Townes Van Zandt proved that he could hold a full house of spellbinding with his just vocal and acoustic guitar, both as a composer, and the emotional weight of his music.
Recorded in 5 days at a small club in July 1973, but published just four years later, Van Zandt has climbed to the top of his career. The music is ready for such an intimate atmosphere, his finger picked guitar lines and his sad, nostalgic vocals essaying stories of dissolution and wanderlust.
As Hank Williams, he is also an artist with songs like Waiting’Round To Die, If I Need You, No Where To Fall and Pancho And Lefty. Like his hero Hank Williams.
His casual banter brightens the mood and provides more light relief to his laconic mix of Talking Thunderbird Blues and Fraternity Blues. Otherwise deft music coverings by Bo Diddley, Merle Travis, and Texan fellow traveler Lightnin’ Hopkins include a map of the influences influencing his life.
Blind Willie McTell – 1927-33 The Early Years
“There’s so many compilations out there but I’d go to the early catalog. Amazing 12-string artist, played from deep down blues through to ragtime novelty in all forms.
He was a writer of Statesboro Blues, covered by The Allman Brothers and certainly there was a sense of stuff that they had that apply to him. Rory Gallagher, too.
“Blind Willie McTell has been unbelievable. Although he was initially a street musician, he was a popular recording artist. He studied braille as a child, and so knew music correctly. In that early time he made some amazing recordings and you won’t be able to be in acoustic blues without him.
Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam
Studying the rural hippy styles of his earlier albums, Strawberry Jam introduced the thick, electronic sound that would characterize the eventual break-through record of Animal Group, Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Certainly, “Unsolved Mystery” is based on acoustic guitar material, but it has all sorts of bubbling aural oddity while Avey Tare is shouting unsettling lyrics of Jack The Ripper.
In other parts, on “For Reverend Gray” and “Fireworks,” it is almost as if Avey Tare strives to make the majestic boring guitar pause and adorable backing whoops by yelling at the random lyrics as if he just cracked up.
However, his abrasiveness is never excessive and is perfectly balanced by the sweeter, more playful vocals of Panda Bear.
Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
The big change was Dylan’s second album. His first, simply entitled Bob Dylan, contained only 2 original songs of 13 songs: the majority were his adaptations of the standard of folk and blues. The Freewheelin ‘Bob Dylan, on which he released when he was 22, songs has crossed national borders, gave these numbers a turn.
Dylan started out as the voice of his generations in the age of social disorder, the Vietnam War, Cold War and civil rights movement, with marches that resonated strongly: Blowin’ In The Sky, Masters Of War and A Heavy Rain’s a-Gonna Come.
He performed them with an acoustic guitar and harmonica in the classical folklore tradition, to complement a voice cut like a knife. But in 1965, 2 years after the publication of this record, Dylan made folk purists angry as he played on the Newport Folk Festival stage with a whole rock band on the record Taking It All Back Home.
He made many other classic albums over the past few decades, but he was first described by Freewheelin’s Bob Dylan as one of the best songwriters in the world.
Lonnie Johnson – Blues And Ballads (1960)
One of the gentlest voices to swallow, “Blues and Ballads” by Lonnie Johnson deliver amazing songs of the finest consistency and focus.
Behind the echo of this deep bass line, like that of “Haunted House,” every text is written with visual quality – a slow, electric guitar playing side by side, lying on the other side like the arms of the ghosts around the shoulders of Lonnie.
Other tracks on the album ring this pretty, fast groove flow back such as “Jelly Roll Baker” and “I’ll get Along Somehow.” From the late twenties the sound for Lonnie ‘s music grew into a touch more contemporary, while he kept his regular acoustic set with a basic groove.
Slow as a man with steps, the beat sounds true to the melancholy blues rhythm, and plays calm, collective solos which make each note shimmer as Lonnie ‘s hands travel around the guitar.
The traditional, slow blues style is greatly explained by tracks like Memories Of You and Elmer’s Blues which offer the strong style inspired by electric Chicago.
This vinyl is an undenied classic-this series of popular and timeless recordings of Johnson’s special, relaxed and fast style for under $30 can be bought remastered and restored.
Lonnie ‘s life was one of the world’s most vibrant and influential histories, promoting the new blues world to continue without fear of defeat.
Charalambides: Joy Shapes
In the album that makes Joanna Newsom Ys sound like The Carpenters was joined by the main duo of Tom Carter (electric guitar, lap steel, acoustic guitar, gloves, and wind wand) and Christina Carter (electric guitar, voice, and bells) by the experimental pedalsteel musician Heather Leigh Murray.
The five songs by Joy Shapes run to 75 minutes of abstract freak folk, full of haunted vocal chanting, skeleton guitar repetitions, rattling of wind and bohemian disdain for song forms arranged in advance. This is music that was made and recorded fully at the time, and in a very surreal way the effects are undeniably stunning.
Joe Bonamassa – An Acoustic Evening At The Vienna Opera House (2013)
Usually an artist who you might watch, the first ‘unplugged’ album of Joe Bonamassa has arrived with a welcome sense of imminent tragedy – one who doesn’t get lost on a bluesman himself.
“Either it should really go well, or else we will be really fucked here,” he recounted in July 2012 taking the stage. “It’s the electric guitar, very Kryptonite for me.”
Initially Bonamassa decided to play it comfortably – “I just sit in a chair, say stories about my daughters, tell stories about music …” – until producer Kevin Shirley’s jump began a daring scheme.
After three days of rehearsals, a crack band of left-field instrumentalists (glockspiel, accordion, Irish fiddle) soon struck together and, to astonishing success. His songs flown away from the massiv guitar solos of Dust Bowl and Driving Into The Sunshine showing a rare poignance.
His often underestimated vocals were front and center, full of compassion and character.