Best acoustical guitar - any type music

I love the harmonics of the guitar. Regardless of the genre - classical, jazz, pop, etc. What are your top five (or ten) acoutical guitar recordings - for sound quality and performance? You recommend them, I'll buy them.
Recordings with acoustic guitar I always return to for both sound and performance include the following (on LP unless noted):

Alice Artzt, "English Guitar Music (Walton, Berkley, Britten...)", Meridian E77037

Alice Artzt, "Romantic Virtuoso Guitar Music" Hyperion A66040

Diego Blanco, "Guitar Music of Ponce, Sojo, Lauro, Barrios", BIS 33

Michael Newman, "Classical Guitar (Bach, Albeniz, Turina, De la Maza)" Sheffield Labs 10

Martin Best, "Songs of Carl Michael Bellman" Nimbus 45019

Jesse Colin Young, "The Soul of a City Boy" Capitol ST-11257

Martin Simpson, "Leaves of Life" Shanachie 97008 (on CD)

Bert Dievert, "Handcrafted Songs" Opus 3 7811

Kip Dobler, "Reaching Out From the Inside" Cardas CR 5813

Robert Lucas, "Usin' Man Blues" Audioquest LP1001 (OK, so this is a slide guitar - its still incredibly well reproduced in theis recording engineered by Kavi Alexander)

Billy Mclaughlin- he is also amazing

Guitarisma - new age section under the narada label
Dusan Bogdanovic "Worlds" which is gut string guitar. You won't care about the sound quality.
David, "Worlds" is great CD(MA Recordings)! I would recommend THE BEST living classical guitarist: John Williams, and his masterpiece "John Williams the Guitarist" on Sony Classical
Distant second is "Krusevo" and Vlatko Stefanovski and Dusan Tadic also on MA recordings

Etta Baker "Railroad Bill", different nevertheless delightfull!
Laurindo Almeida/Charlie Byrd;;"Brazillian Soul">>Concord Jazz Label
Michael Hedges;;"Aerial Bounderies">>>Windham Hill Records
Los Indios Tabajaras;;"Maria Elena/Always in My Heart>>>RCA Victor LSP (LP)
Pepe Romero;;"Flamenco" Mercury Living Presence CD
Manuel Barrueco;; Vox Box 3CD Set Albeniz, Tarrega etc.

These five give you great sound and great artistry, for even better artistry, you have to go back to the 78 era and early mono LP era. Those artists are in a different league, but thats another topic........Frank
Fred Benedetti & Peter Pupping
Acoustic Guitar Classics Vols. I & II.

These two guys have created instrumental versions of songs from various artists such as Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, Beatles, Kenny Loggins, Van Morrison and more. They have really done an outstanding job and the quality of the recordings is quite good. Check it out at
Martin Simpson and Wu Man "Music for a Motherless Child"
Dave Grisman "Tone Poems II"
Narada "guitar sampler"
Elliott Fisk "Bach and Scarlatti" (Cello Recording)
Michael Newman "Classical Guitar" (Sheffield)
Michael Hedges "Aerial Boundaries"
Eduardo Paniagua "Danzas Medievales espanolas"

One really stands out, both for performance and sonics:
John Williams, Spanish Guitar Music; Sony Essential Classics SBK 46347
All Julian Bream recordings on RCA LP's Performance great, sound quality medium to good.
All Segovia recordings on Decca mono LP's Performance out of this world, sound quality mediocre at best, but oh, the rendering....don't know about CD remakes regarding both artists.
Tino Izzo...composes, arranges and perfoms all instruments. All of his discs have superior recording...
David Grisman "Tone Poems I"--anything on the Acoustic Disc label actually--nice recordings. Also Larry Coryell has a number of acoustic jazz discs out that are hard to find but worth the effort.
Here are two I like:

Sergio & Odair Assad play Rameau, Scarlatti, Couperin Bach. This has been in heavy rotation at my house for years. (Their sister Badi's Solo album on Chesky is good, too--great sonics.)

Eduardo Niebla & Adel Salameh, Mediterraneo. This is guitar and Oud, so maybe not your cup of tea (I love the Oud myself), but it's a terrific album.

I also have two Sharon Isbin albums I like a lot: Nightshade Rounds and Dreams of a World.

the best ive heard was from the late Micheal Hedges,the cd was titled Strings of Steel.....listened to it last week on Martin Logan speakers with Classe mono's....i was really quite impressed.
Good thread. I'm making a list.
Another good player is Juan Gabriel and I have always enjoyed Bob Dylan's early acoustic guitar work (it is a little rude and rambunctious, but he is very good at orchestrating a song). I have other CD's of artists on the Winham Hill label (promos) and world artist's, but need to organize the CD's to find them again and will post at a later date.
Rather than suggest specific recordings for you to try, I'm going to focus instead on acoustic guitarists, both classical and jazz:

1. Classical and flamenco guitarists: Andres Segovia; Manitas de Plata; the Romeros (look for their 1960's recordings on Mercury's "Living Presence" re-issue CD's); Christopher Parkening (perhaps the greatest living classical guitarist).

2. Jazz/world/miscellaneous: Django Reinhart (the brilliant Gypsy jazz guitarist from the 1930's and 1940's); Charlie Byrd (almost any of his recordings on Riverside or Concord); Egberto Gismonti.

You might find the following Web site on acoustic guitarists of interest:

Many years ago, while in high school, I took some lessons from Charlie Byrd, and have loved the acoustic guitar ever since. I hope you will share your comments with us as you discover new artists or recordings that you particularly like.
One of the more annoying aspects of getting older is that the brain cells don't fire quite as rapidly as they used to, and I often get additional ideas after making a post. So, bear with me. There are three other classical guitarists that I should have included, since I have many of their recordings and think highly of their abilities:
Julian Bream; Eliot Fisk; and John Williams. I also mentioned the Romero family -- you might also look for recordings by one member of the family, Pepe Romero.

Good listening to you.
Wow ... these are terrific recommendations. Thanks! I'm putting together a list of CD's right now to buy. I'll keep you posted on my thoughts (for whatever they're worth) on the first round of CD's. I'll take any more recommendations you've got. This has been fun. You can never have too much music.
Be sure not to neglect the late, great John Fahey. Labelled as an 'American primitive', the man was certainly a visionary and straddled numerous genres with much experimentation & extrapolation. His earlier works focus on acoustically based recordings and are nearly all worthy of your attention. I would also heartily recommend "Of Rivers and Religion', a mid-'70's recording with a full band that dove into a strange nether-region of languid guitar strum/jug band fusion that to this day seems timeless. Sandy Bull (also recently passed on) is another great one. His first two albums, "Fantasias for Guitar & Banjo" and "Inventions" are great and, although featuring some electric guitar work are primarily acoustic guitar-based and offer up an amazing blend of classical, traditional and avante-garde stylings with the heavy influence of a variety of ethnic musical stylings. He even features an oud on many recordings and admits a serious debt to Hamza El Din for much of his inspiration for some of his classic pieces. He would be legendary just for his 'Blend' (from "Fantasias") and 'Blend 2' (from "Inventions") compositions if nothing else. Robbie Basho, a compadre of John Fahey who also recorded on his Takoma record label did some fascinating work along a similar path. Heavily influenced by eastern philosophies and musical idioms with a complex and very lyrical feel. The above musicians veer away from the path of the more classically based composers offered up in this thread, but are well worth looking into.
I am not sure that anyone on here will know who this artist is, but I'll take a shot. Maybe SD will know him.
The greatest guitarist to have ever recorded in the 20th century, is Vicente Gomez. He can be seen in the 1941 film classic "Blood and Sand". The recordings he made in 1939 on Decca 78s(later transferred to Decca Microgroove LP entitled "GUITAR RECITAL"), were so incredible, that I have yet to hear any Guitarist of his equal. Laurindo Almeida, and Segovia would tell you the same, as even on the back of thier early LP liner notes Gomez is mentioned as Perfection itself. This work was transferred recently with terrible over-application of Noise reduction on a CD by Doremi. The CD is entitled Segovia and his contemporaries Volume 5. It also will let you compare the Segovia versions to the Gomez versions. You can draw your conclusions. The CD is available from ALLEGRO IMPORTS. IT IS AN EDUCATION......Frank
I might as well mention the other ones that had no equal. These were the greatest in thier day.
1) Julio-Martinez Oyanguren (Uraguay); Decca, Columbia 78s
2) Mario Escudero,; ABC Records
3) Los Romeros,; Mercury & Phillips
4) Dave Apollon (Mandolinist); Coral LPs, Decca 78s (The Heiftz of the instrument)
5) David Moreno; Capitol & Orfeon LP
6) Chet Atkins, RCA
Should any Guitar player have the good fortune of hearing these mostly forgotten artists, they would immidiately know they were in the presence of the Masters of the instrument
I once had a chance to see Los Romeros at Temple University, back in the early 70s (when music was important enough for Universitys to hold concerts). From that moment on, I viewed the guitar as the most difficult of instruments to master. It is clearly ,next to impossible today, to hear artistry at that level.........Frank
SD, You ever listen to any of these?
Ottmar Liebert- Borrasca
Paco Di Lucia, Al Demiola, John Mclaughlin - The guitat trio
Phil Keaggy - Acoustic sketches
If you fancy a little banjo try Bella Fleck - Acoustic planet
Good posts, my man! Honesty compels me to admit that some of the artists you listed were new to me -- just goes to show that there is always something to learn. I have heard of Vicente Gomez, but never heard his playing -- I'll try to remedy that soon. I am familiar with the Romeros, David Moreno, and Chet Atkins, but the others were new to me. Chet Atkins, although not known as an acoustic guitarist, has an eclectic group of recordings going back many years. One of the more relaxed and enjoyable recordings he did was with Mark Knopfler about 10 years ago. The two clearly had fun making the recording.

I had a chance to hear Andres Segovia in concert around 1957, not long before I discovered Charlie Byrd, and he was astounding. The other guitarist of comparable caliber, who I heard about 2 years ago in concert in Seattle, is Christopher Parkening. Parkening did a program dedicated to Andres Segovia, which included some wonderful anecdotes, rare personal photos, etc., of Segovia.

Parkening's parents own a home in Idaho on the Clearwater River, across the river from a friend of mine. I hope that during one of my visits to my friend in Idaho that I will have a chance to meet and talk with Parkening.
eric clapton unplugged, not the greatest recording but no one alive compares to clapton playing the guitar
I have just one to add - Joe Pass "I Remember Charlie Parker" on Pablo.
"The Guitar Trio" mentioned above, by Glen, is great.

Pepe Romero doing Rodrigo's "Concerto de Aranjuez" is one of my favorites. Classical guitar and full orchestra. It will move you to tears. I sat is the first row and saw Elliot Fisk perform it. I will never forget that concert.

Sharon Isbin, with Laurindo Almeida (and a third guitarist I can't remember, maybe Larry Coryell) have a beautiful recording of "West Side Story" and throw in an incredible version of "Rhapsody In Blue".

There is a cd by an Italian guitarist named Pepino Dagostino, that reminds me of Michael Hedges. It is worth owning for his version of the classic "Walk Away Rene", sung by David Wilcox. It is the only vocal on the cd. Beautiful!

Anything by Christopher Parkening, Andres Segovia or Julian Bream, as already mentioned.
These guys are steel guitar pickers.

Watson and late son Merle did a great live album on vinyl for Vanguard.

Both Watson and Rice recorded with David Grisman ( " Dawg ", the mandolin player ) and you can get hear some of their work on CDs from Grisman's HDCD too.
Darn, you beat me to it. "Doc and Merle Watson's Guitar Album"

Also - Christopher Parkening's "Tribute to Segovia" - "Liona Boyd Live in Tokyo" - and "Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters," a compilation cd on Dancing Cat Records.

If you can find anything by Merle Travis, after whom Doc named his son, that would be good too for the perfomances but probably not the greatest sonically.
Redkiwi mentioned Joe Pass -- not sure how the hell I forgot to mention him. A clear sign the brain cells are dying at an increasingly rapid rate!! If you buy only recording by Joe Pass, it should be "Virtuoso", a solo recording. It has recently been re-issued on CD as a 20-bit remaster, and the audio quality is very, very good.
I just had a listen to "Virtuoso" again (first time in maybe 18 months) - steel string guitar (as opposed to nylon in "I Remember Charlie Parker"), and "Vituoso" is more spectacular playing - breathtaking really. I like both but "Virtuoso" is the tour de force as you say SD.
Off the top of my head.......

Toniho Horta, "Durango Kid II", brilliant brazillian player with vocals

Kelly Joe Phelps, "Shined Eyed Mr. Zen" a great slide player - not playing slide on this disk.

Ani Difranco, "Revelling\Reckoning" (the new one), she comes at the guitar with her own set of rules: percussive, alternate tunings, not to bring attention to the guitar playing but to complement the great songs. Stellar recording as a bonus!
sorry, should be "toninho" above.
Just got Ralph Toweners ' Anthem' on ECM label. Classical Guitar ( not classical music) and 12 string guitar compositions. Great music, great playing and an exellent recording. Highly recommended.
one of my most played cd's is stephen stills, "stills alone." the last track, "treetop flyer," is an extraordinary performance, vocally and instrumentally. stephen was and is a great guitarist, especially on acoustics. -kelly
i can't help mentioning tom waits the early years vol. 2 (occasionally off-key, out of time, skipped notes: near sublime!) and Steve Forbert (especially his first LP 'alive on arrival' - not all are just acoustic only but some are and the songwriting is some of the best there is) and tracy chapman of course (first effort), chris smither "live as I'll ever be" (great song writing as well), of course neil young and CSNY various and cat power! oh yeah, duh. various dead.

thanks for reading. comments on these suggestions much appreciated.
i forgot to mention edith frost. the sont is temporary loan. very very cowb0oy junkie style.

i think pink floyd as an acoustic guitar somewhere. thjios would be the motherload and think if it came out in sacd or 20 bit remaster.

also 'frente' from their first piece doing a new order cover 'bizarre love triangle.' man ther are a lot. dylan, jill gatstby (first recording) i'm leaving TONS off the list. the recs above are all excellent too. great post;i'll slap you 2 and 2 for that one. OH, jewel doing who will save your soul.
god there are soO many.
whoops. what the hell was i thinkinbg? it's the ludes. nick drake (anything), tim buckley (anything) and music i dont really like but this song is goood. wyclef Jean doing a cover of floyd's 'wish you were here.' hip hop sort of but not offensive - very pretty.

i'm gonna stop now. sorry.
Check out Monte Montgomery. Awesome guitar player from Austin,Tx. Check his website for tour schedule. See him live and you won't be sorry.
Hey everybody! One of the best living finger-picking style guitarists is Duck Baker of Richmond California! Never heard of him, well thats a darn shame. Duck tours in the U.S. and Europe and among professional guitarists he is recognized as one of the best. Duck can play anything - jazz, bluegrass, old-timey and other traditional folk styles. Most of his cd's these days are self-produced and can be purchased directly from him. Some of his earlier albums on still available on the Shanniche label and well worth looking for. Really folks he is a living master and puts guys like John Fahey and David Grisman to shame. Happy listening!
Grisman and Garcia: Shady Grove, So What? and Pizza Tapes (with Tony Rice)
Jerry Douglas, Russ Bareenberg and Edgar Meyer, Skip,Hop and Wobble
Rob Eberhard Young: Sticks and Stones
Check out Pat Donohue's American Guitar (BSR-927) on Blue Sky records recorded in 2000. Besides being great music the sound is amazingly life-like. You'll get that "in your room" effect better than any other acoustic guitar recording I've experienced.

If you like Tony Rice check out Sean Watkins 2001 solo album, Let it Fall, on Sugar Hill. Extremely well recorded and a nice variety of acoustic pieces.

Lastly, still holding up from 1990 is Norman Blake and Tony Rice 2 on Rounder CD 0266. Doc Watson joins in on Lost Indian for an amazing guitar trio.