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Thread: Looking for good songs to play acoustically

  1. #1

    Looking for good songs to play acoustically

    I am always looking to add new material to my one man show. I need songs that are suitable for an acoustic guitar, that are not necessarily simple to play, but not too complex either. I am not what your would call an accomplished guitarist, but I'm OK. The song does not have to be popular - in fact I would prefer it not be. I already do some deep tracks - along with my original material. For example, I do some old ELP, Zeppelin and early Al Stewart. Looking for things that someone who was familiar with the good old days might like to hear. Not really trying to attract audiences who only want the hits. definitely steering clear of modern country stuff. I prefer 60's and 70's material. Rockabilly is also OK, but I already have some of that loaded up.

    I just know that some of you can come up with some good suggestions.
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

  2. #2
    Member Koreabruce's Avatar
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    Some Cat Stevens tunes (Moonshadow, Where Do the Children Go, etc.) Yes, they're hits, but they'd be great songs to play.
    Something by Roy Harper from the Stormcock album
    A Nick Drake song or two - something from Five Leaves Left or Pink Moon
    Try an Anthony Phillips vocal track like Master of Time, which Big Big Train did a respectable cover version of.

  3. #3
    Mostly for fingerpicking:
    Elizabeth Cotton : Freight Train
    Pentangle : Cruel Sister
    Bert Jansch : January Man
    Elliot Smith : Angeles
    Mississipi John Hurt : Coffee Blues
    Steve Earle : This city
    Last edited by alucard; 03-27-2019 at 03:30 AM.
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they donít understand!"

  4. #4
    Thanks - I am on that Cat Stevens idea. Morning has broken? - awesome! I'll have to look into your suggestions alucard. When you say "picking" - I may be more of a "picker/strummer" I should add that my strongest skill in this endeavor is my voice, where I have a 4 octave range and I'm doing everything from Leon Redbone, old 20's and 30's songs, to things like Closer to the Heart and the Battle of Evermore so its all over the place. - I don't do contemporary music. I Just turned 60, so that would just be weird. I'm entitled to be stuck soundly in the last century. The latest song I do,(besides my own) is Porcupine Trees Lazarus. That's well over a decade old...

    Oh wait... There Aint no Saguaro in Texas is newer...
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

  5. #5
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Fleetwood Mac - Oh well.

  6. #6
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Four octives eh? That's great!

    Peraphs this will give you an idea or two - these are the covers I'm playing or working on at the moment. Most of these I play fingerstyle:

    1. She Moves Through the Fair (folk/trad)
    2. Wild Mountain Thyme (folk/trad)
    3. Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
    4. Cirrus Minor (Pink Floyd)
    5. Suzanne (Leonard Cohen)
    6. Gentle Rain (Luiz BonfŠ)
    7. My Room (Peter Hammill)
    8. Mirror Images (Hammill)
    9. Siren’s Song (Hammill)
    10. Pillow of Winds (Pink Floyd)
    11. Blackbird (McCartney)
    12. Wondering Aloud (Jethro Tull)
    13. Boots of Spanish Leather (Dylan)
    14. Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
    15. The Philosopher’s Song (Idle/Python)
    16. Skating Away (Jethro Tull)
    17. Michaelangelo (23rd Turnoff)
    18. January Song (Lindesfarne)
    19. A Way Out (Hammill)
    20. Hard Rain (Dylan)
    21. Julia (Lennon)
    22. The Kiss (Judy Sill)
    23. The Queen and the Soldier (Vega)
    24. Dust in the Wind (Kansas)

    I also do instrumentals , classical stuff like Recuerdos Del Alhambra, or things like Hackett's Horizon's, the intro to Blood on the Rooftop etc. but the most satisfying is doing my own songs.

    I'd be interested in your take on what works for your audiences and why. Maybe you can share your set list?
    Last edited by Buddhabreath; 03-27-2019 at 09:56 AM.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year ó the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  7. #7
    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    Hello!.
    Interesting and nice list Budda!.

    Mine:
    - Instrumentals (3):
    .Mood for a Day + Clap -- Steve Howe.
    .Born-Yr-Amur -- LZ.

    - Jethro Tull has many good little gems, for example:
    .Life is a Long Song.
    .Mother Goose.
    .Wond'ring Again.
    .For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me.
    .Salamander.
    .Wond'ring Aloud.
    .Look into the Sun.

    - Many by CS&N or CSN&Y and/or by each one!.
    - The Sage -- ELP.
    - Grantchester Meadows -- PF.
    - Dark Globe -- Syd Barret.
    - Give a Little Bit - Supertramp.
    Pura Vida!.

    There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. ∞
    Duke Ellington.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Yodelgoat View Post
    Thanks - I am on that Cat Stevens idea. Morning has broken? - awesome! I'll have to look into your suggestions alucard. When you say "picking" - I may be more of a "picker/strummer" I should add that my strongest skill in this endeavor is my voice, where I have a 4 octave range and I'm doing everything from Leon Redbone, old 20's and 30's songs, to things like Closer to the Heart and the Battle of Evermore so its all over the place. - I don't do contemporary music. I Just turned 60, so that would just be weird. I'm entitled to be stuck soundly in the last century. The latest song I do,(besides my own) is Porcupine Trees Lazarus. That's well over a decade old...

    Oh wait... There Aint no Saguaro in Texas is newer...
    Freight Train was one of the earliest songs I learned in a method based on fingerpicking, but you can strum it too. Elizabeth Cotton is so amazing.



    Stev Earle: This City, I discovered this in the Treme TV Series where he played also a role. Great song, he plays it in open G tuning but it's easy to play in standard tuning.



    maybe my favourite Bert Jansch song ' January Man'
    classic folk picking
    Last edited by alucard; 03-27-2019 at 12:04 PM.
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they donít understand!"

  9. #9
    Pentagle Cruel Sister, a traditional folk song , actually it was in the same method as Freight train and I played it in a quite simple manner. this video is by a gifted amteur and has a nice picking pattern .



    My favourite Elliot Smith song Angeles I tried to play it it's quite twisted



    Great Mississipi John Hurt song, it gave the name to the band Lovin' Spoonful, it sounds easy but it's quite difficult to get it right.
    Last edited by alucard; 03-27-2019 at 12:22 PM.
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they donít understand!"

  10. #10
    Here is another Mississippi John Hurt song where you see him play !

    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they donít understand!"

  11. #11
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCC View Post
    Hello!.
    Interesting and nice list Budda!.

    Mine:
    - Instrumentals (3):
    .Mood for a Day + Clap -- Steve Howe.
    .Born-Yr-Amur -- LZ.

    - Jethro Tull has many good little gems, for example:
    .Life is a Long Song.
    .Mother Goose.
    .Wond'ring Again.
    .For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me.
    .Salamander.
    .Wond'ring Aloud.
    .Look into the Sun.

    - Many by CS&N or CSN&Y and/or by each one!.
    - The Sage -- ELP.
    - Grantchester Meadows -- PF.
    - Dark Globe -- Syd Barret.
    - Give a Little Bit - Supertramp.
    Those are all indeed true JT gems TCC! FYI when I play Wondering Aloud, I add the last verse ("Will a child one day be born") from Wondering Again. I'm going to look to add more JT songs in my list based on your gem spotting...
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year ó the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  12. #12
    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    FYI when I play Wondering Aloud, I add the last verse ("Will a child one day be born") from Wondering Again...
    Nice!
    And I never get tired of this "live-secuence" of Wond'ring Aloud - Dun Ringill:

    https://youtu.be/UJqeSSjVRc0
    Last edited by TCC; 03-27-2019 at 02:19 PM.
    Pura Vida!.

    There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. ∞
    Duke Ellington.

  13. #13
    “Blackbird” and “Mother Nature’s Son” immediately spring to mind.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  14. #14
    -Zep:
    Goin' to California
    That's the way
    Stairway to Heaven
    Battle of evermore

    - G Lightfoot
    Don Quixote
    If you could read my mind
    Cotton Jenny
    Sit down young stranger

    - Leon Redbone
    Up the Lazy River
    Dixie stars are playing peek-a-boo
    Seduced

    - Journey
    Lights/wheel in the sky melody

    - Al Stewart
    Road to Moscow
    Apple Cider Reconstitution

    The third Hurrah (Tull - live Flute and guitar w/backing tracks)
    Long cool woman
    Give a Little bit
    Lazarus
    The Boxer
    Dust in the wind
    Big rock candy mountain
    Take a look at me now (Phil Ruins Yodelgoat!)
    No Saguaro in Texas (Rev Horton Heath)
    I never thought (Hillbilly Helcats)
    Behind Blue Eyes
    Closer to the Heart
    Wild World (Cat Stevens -thanks Bruce!)

    (2+ hours of Original music)
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

  15. #15
    Let's see...without repeating what's already been selected (well, at least without trying to duplicate anything, and as far as my limited patience can recall), how about:

    Neil Young (there's a hundred, but these are all fairly easy)
    Needle and the Damage Done
    The Thrasher
    Pocahontas
    For the Turnstiles
    Old Man

    Bob Dylan (the fun ones to play)
    It's Alright Mama (I'm Only Bleeding)
    Don't Think Twice It's All Right
    Tangled Up in Blue

    Jethro Tull (several have been mentioned, but these are more adventurous)
    Only Solitaire
    Salamander
    Thick as a Brick (Edit #1)

    Rolling Stones
    Angie
    Sweet Black Angel
    Country Honk
    Dead Flowers
    Sweet Virginia

    Blind Faith/Derek & the Dominos/Cream
    Can't Find My Way Home
    Thorn Tree in the Garden
    Anyone For Tennis

    Peter Gabriel
    Solsbury Hill (Devilishly deceptive to play)

    George Harrison/John Lennon
    Apple Scruffs
    Give Me Love
    Working Class Hero
    "And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision."

    Occasional musical musings on https://darkelffile.blogspot.com/

  16. #16
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    ^^^
    Ha! I used to play Tangled Up in Blue, Old Man, Apple Scruffs and Working Class Hero thanks for the reminders. Solsbury Hills a good idea. Salamander, previously mentioned is a beautiful song- might check that out as well - good opportunity for some picking!
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year ó the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  17. #17
    XTC - Love on a Farmboy's Wages
    XTC - Ten Feet Tall
    The Move - Beautiful Daughter
    The Move Blackberry Way
    Faust - Flashback Caruso
    The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon

    Do you sing in other languages - there are some great Brazilian, French and Spanish songs I can think of.

  18. #18
    Great suggestions! I had forgotten I used to play thorn tree in the garden way, WAY back... The Tull suggestions are cool - I was also thinking about maybe trying A small cigar...I Love that song... Kinks - Good suggestions! Maybe Apeman?

    Jake - I am not fluent in any other language, but that's a cool idea. I have a favorite disk produced by David Byrne called Forro that has a few really nice upbeat celebratory songs that are in Portuguese and other - what I would consider to be "exotic" languages.

    I should do some Stones.... Exile would be a good place to start since I personally place that album heads above their others - I do love all classic Stones though. Their greatest stuff is getting lost in history, I fear.

    I would favor songs that are going to be compatible with my vocal style. Neil Young, for example is probably not that, although I can mimic him fairly well, I find his voice - well, a little Dylanesque, - not to too harshly criticize two really awesome songwriters and Lyricists... In a "nails, meet chalkboard..." sort of way.

    One little thing I should mention about my "playing out" attempts - I would like to encourage other musicians to come and play with me. I haven't quite worked out how to do this with any reliable "quality control" yet, but I always bring a little drum kit, built around a cajon, that I play with on some songs as well as a bass guitar with me, and if there were a guitarist - or drummer or whatever (instrumentalist or vocalist) who wanted to come up and play a tune or two with me, I would likely welcome this. Especially since I do not play any lead guitar myself - or at least, very little. Is this just asking for problems? This idea stems out of some open mic's I have done where I put down my guitar and play drums or bass, while someone else plays the guitar. It seems to be well received as something kind of unique and interesting. Though admittedly, there are some pretty wide ranges of "musical talent" out there. It has always been positive because the guitarists were known, and damn good. Potentially, A Cold turkey jam could get ugly fast if just anyone were to come up.

    I have plans (ok, dreams) to eventually take this on the road, and I do have good contacts in Florida, L.A., Seattle, Texas (home turf) and even Long Island that could, once I am established, allow me to play small venues around the country and then invite local musicians to play with me. Once again it could be good, could be a can of worms.

    Why not find a guitarist and do this as a duet? because most guitarists would balk at doing the originals, which is really where my own focus is. It might also be an issue that no one likes me much, as I am a bit set in my ways. A bit of a musical weirdo, so I am told. and I want to be cheap - meaning I can play for cheap, not that I do this for the money. I have no need or desire to make a living at this. If it covers my gas, and has free soda's, I'm good.
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

  19. #19
    I find that a lot of Elton John's ballads arrange really well for solo acoustic.
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  20. #20
    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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  21. #21
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Back in the day I included 'Kindness at the End' by Renaissance and 'Beautiful Country' by Illusion in a set. Both easy.

  22. #22
    Member hippypants's Avatar
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    Willin'--Little Feat
    Midnight Rider--Allman Brothers

  23. #23
    I just worked out Your Move/All good people. I back tracked the Bvox, bass, drums, Keys, Flutes(used my wood flutes). worked out really nice because I can play the kick and hihat live while paying and singing. Seems to be pretty full just with the parts I play live, and the backing music just kind of sneaks up which is kind of nice. I'll have to have a live guitarist play the leads. Still rocks pretty good even without the lead. I may try to play drums live once they come in - if there is a lead guitarist playing along.

    My guess is, no one else will be doing that song around here. Its a really catchy song - really.
    Last edited by Yodelgoat; 03-31-2019 at 11:44 PM.
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

  24. #24
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    Back in the day I included 'Kindness at the End' by Renaissance and 'Beautiful Country' by Illusion in a set. Both easy.
    That reminds me, I also used to do Love Theme from Scheherazade - very easy (if you can sing).

    Nice idea on the Your Move/All Good People thing. You sound like a talented individual Mr. Yodelgoat.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year ó the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  25. #25
    Well, its more like I have a pretty unique voice. I haven't succumbed to the "old age" rut of losing an octave per decade yet. I still do my voice training exercises from the 80's. They seem to have helped. In my youth I studied under the Maestro David Kyle, who was also Geoff Tates voice instructor... he was an awesome teacher. I've never figured out why his students were such arrogant asses though!
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

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