10 Best Acoustic Blues Songs

The 10 best acoustic blues songs offer a good survey of the history of blues music. From the father of acoustic guitar blues, Robert Johnson, to modern blues musicians, acoustic blues songs are a standard. Some tunes are considered classic and have been re-recorded by dozens of acoustic artists. This list includes the best acoustic blues songs by the originator of the tune. You'll recognize the ditty as blues because it typically uses a common chord progression. Blues can be played on any instrument, but the acoustic guitar offers an instrument that beautifully features the singer and the soulful lyrics. 

  1. "32 20 Blues" This Robert Johnson tune has also been covered by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters and Government Mule, just to name a few. With a classic like this, odds are that you'll hear this gem in any blues bar. 
  2. "It's Tight Like That" Although the tune got play before the date, the song was recorded by Tampa Red in 1928. Think tight, as in sex, and you have the double entendre of this blues song. Red was a master of the blues guitar, so hang on to your hats. 
  3. "Cross Road Blues" Although the best-known version of this tune is the modern issue of Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson's original version is the classic. The cross roads of blues is the place where you can sell your soul to the devil, if you're so inclined. Any blues guitarist knows the temptation to be the greatest and make this infamous deal. 
  4. "Dark End of the Street" A modern blues classic, Ry Cooder played this song using an acoustic guitar on "Boomer's Story" released in the 1970s. The tune is a Chips Moman and Dan Penn composition.
  5. "Police Dog Blues" Blind Arthur Blake, a renown blues guitarist, died in the 1930s. But his legacy lives on in his tunes re-recorded by contemporary blues artists, including Ry Cooder, Jorma Kaukonen and Ralph McTell.
  6. "St. Louis Blues" Look no further to find the absolute, uncategorical best acoustic blues song. W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" is a classic for budding blues guitarist. The original sheet music dates to 1914, but the tune is undoubtedly older than that. 
  7. "Diddy Wah Diddy" It may be tough to spell the name of the fictional town from Blind Arthur Blake's memorable song, but the song's been made famous many times over, including acoustic renditions by Leon Redbone and Ry Cooder. The lyrics track the humorous misadventures of a man who doesn't quite know how find the mystical town and ends with the singer asking what "Diddy Wah Diddy" means. 
  8. "Terraplane Blues" If you didn't know what a "Diddy Wah Diddy" was or where a town with that name might be located, let your thoughts go to the explicit for the meaning of a woman's "terraplane." Yep, Robert Johnson's song is about sex. Don't confuse this 1930s song with the 1950s car that actually took the name of this acoustic blues classic. 
  9. "Love in Vain" The lament for love and unrequited love are popular topics for acoustic blues songs and this Robert Johnson classic is no exception. Lists of the ten best acoustic blues songs routinely include this tune by blues master Johnson. 
  10. "Candy Man Blues" Not to be confused with the tune from the 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," this traditional blues song from Mississippi John Hurt deals with candy, but not the kind Wonka provides to his young charges. Candy in this tune is drugs and the blues lament is for the person who is addicted and can't find a fix. 
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