6 Acoustic Classic Songs – From Mike’s Archive

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THE SONGS

1 The Boxer

“The Boxer” is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel from their fifth studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970). Produced by the duo and Roy Halee, it was released as the lead single from the album on March 21, 1969. The song, written by Paul Simon, is a folk rock ballad that variously takes the form of a first-person lament as well as a third-person sketch of a boxer. Simon’s lyrics are largely autobiographical and partially inspired by the Bible, and were written during a time when he felt he was being unfairly criticized. The song’s lyrics discuss poverty and loneliness. It is particularly known for its plaintive refrain, in which the singer sings ‘lie-la-lie’, accompanied by a heavily reverbed drum.

 

2. Alice’s Restaurant

“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” is a record by singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, released as the title track to his 1967 debut album Alice’s Restaurant. It is notable as a satirical, first-person account of 1960s counterculture, in addition to being a hit song in its own right and an inspiration for the 1969 film, also named Alice’s Restaurant. The song is one of Guthrie’s most prominent works, based on a true incident from his life that began on Thanksgiving Day 1965 with a citation for littering, and ended with the refusal of the U.S. Army to draft him because of his conviction for that crime. The ironic punch line of the story is that, in the words of Guthrie, “I’m sittin’ here on the Group W bench ’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough to join the Army—burn women, kids, houses and villages—after bein’ a litterbug.” The final part of the song is an encouragement for the listeners to sing along, to resist the draft, and to end war.
The song consists of a protracted spoken monologue, with a constantly repeated fingerstyle ragtime guitar (Piedmont style) guitar backing, bookended by a short chorus, the titular song “Alice’s Restaurant”; Guthrie has used the short “Alice’s Restaurant” bookends and guitar backings for other monologues bearing the Alice’s Restaurant name. The track lasts 18 minutes and 34 seconds, occupying the entire A-side of the Alice’s Restaurant album. The work has become Guthrie’s signature song and he has periodically re-released it with updated lyrics.

 

3. You’ve got a friend

“You’ve Got a Friend” is a 1971 song written by Carole King. It was first recorded by King, and included in her album Tapestry. Another well-known version is by James Taylor from his album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon. His was released as a single in 1971 reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. The two versions were recorded simultaneously in 1971 with shared musicians.
“You’ve Got a Friend” won Grammy Awards both for Taylor (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance) and King (Song of the Year). Dozens of other artists have recorded the song over the years, including Dusty Springfield, Michael Jackson, Anne Murray and Donny Hathaway.

 

4 Redemption Song

“Redemption Song” is a song by Bob Marley. It is the final track on Bob Marley & the Wailers’ ninth album, Uprising, produced by Chris Blackwell and released by Island Records.[2] The song is considered[who?] one of Marley’s greatest works. Some key lyrics derived from a speech given by the Pan-Africanist orator Marcus Garvey entitled “The Work That Has Been Done”.[3]
At his concert in Westfalenhallen, Dortmund, Germany, on 13 June 1980, Bob Marley introduced this song with the words: “This song is called ‘The Pirates Yes They Rob I, Sold I to the Merchant Ship’.”
At the time he wrote the song, circa 1979, Bob Marley had been diagnosed with the cancer in his toe that later took his life. According to Rita Marley, “he was already secretly in a lot of pain and dealt with his own mortality, a feature that is clearly apparent in the album, particularly in this song”.
Unlike most of Bob Marley’s tracks, it is strictly a solo acoustic recording, consisting of him singing and playing an acoustic guitar, without accompaniment. The song is in the key of G major.
“Redemption Song” was released as a single in the UK and France in October 1980, and included a full band rendering of the song. This version has since been included as a bonus track on the 2001 reissue of Uprising, as well as on the 2001 compilation One Love: The Very Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers. Although in live performances the full band was used for the song the solo recorded performance remains the take most familiar to listeners.[citation needed]
In 2004, Rolling Stone placed the song at #66 among “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the Top 20 Political Songs

 

5 Kathy’s Song

Paul Simon apparently wrote this about a woman he met while touring England. As love songs go, it is one of the best. More specifically, it is written for someone, just like George Harrison’s “Something” and John Denver’s “Annie’s Song.” Whoever Kathy is, she can be proud that Simon regards her as the “only truth” he knows. It is possibly the most profoud lines ever sung

 

6 Here comes the Sun

“Here Comes the Sun” is a song written by George Harrison that was first released on the Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road. Along with “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, it is one of Harrison’s best-known compositions from the Beatles era. The song was written at the country house of his friend Eric Clapton, where Harrison had chosen to play truant for the day, to avoid attending a meeting at the Beatles’ Apple Corps organisation. The lyrics reflect the composer’s relief at both the arrival of spring and the temporary respite he was experiencing from the band’s business affairs.
The Beatles recorded “Here Comes the Sun” at London’s EMI Studios in the summer of 1969. Led by Harrison’s acoustic guitar, the recording also features Moog synthesizer, which he had introduced to the Beatles’ sound after acquiring an early model of the instrument in California. Reflecting the continued influence of Indian classical music on Harrison’s writing, the composition includes a series of unusual time changes over the “Sun, sun, sun, here it comes” refrain.




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