10 “Essential Listening” Slide Guitar Songs

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10 tracks that represent essential listening in the world of slide guitar.

Not content with the status quo, industrious young guitar players have endeavored over the decades to make things more difficult for themselves.

Some have tried playing the guitar behind their back, over their head, with their teeth, with their friends’ teeth, etc. And then there was the inventive guitarist who, many decades ago, decided to slip a bottle over his finger and slide it along his guitar’s strings to produce a magical sound (He probably emptied the bottle himself, if you know what I mean).

While playing the guitar with your teeth is, was and always shall be a novelty, slide guitar—and slide guitarists—is and are here to stay. They actually started digging in their heels long before Robert Johnson made his haunting Delta blues recordings in Texas in the 1930s. Since Johnson’s time, players—including guys like George Thorogood, Derek Trucks, Ry Cooder, Jerry Douglas and Roy Rogers—have built entire careers around slide guitar and its many stylistic varieties.

Below, we present 10 tracks that represent essential listening in the world of slide guitar. Please note that we’re sticking with regular ol’ six-string guitar—no lap steel, sacred steel, pedal steel, etc. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) These songs are presented in no particular order. I repeat: These songs are presented in no particular order.

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