Stevie Ray Vaughan proves a good choice to introduce this acoustic-based compilation. A man and his talent, spare and unforgiving, with no accoutrements to distract from the essence of his blues-guitar classic "Pride And Joy." Eric Clapton, who catapulted the television series into a different stratosphere with his award-winning performance, is also represented with his Bo Diddley cover "Before You Accuse Me."
A proven forum for the blues, UNPLUGGED also gives pop vocalists (k.d. lang, Don Henley, and the remarkable Annie Lennox, who plumbs emotional depths with a mesmerizing "Why") handsome opportunities to show off. It allows artsy folkies (R.E.M. and 10,000 Maniacs) to reinvent their canvases, while letting rockers Soul Asylum, Neil Young and Lenny Kravitz provide insights into what their songs sounded like before they got into the studio. Superstar studio creatures (Paul Simon, Elton John, Rod Stewart) benefit most from the stripped-down showcase. Paul McCartney screws up the Beatles' classic "We Can Work It Out," leaving it rough-edged, yet perfect.
This album provides the opportunity to dissect these artists' craft. You hear every unadorned flaw, the way music was supposed to be played: from the heart and soul, not from the corporate headquarters. .1. Pride and Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughan
2. Before You Accuse Me (Take a Look at Yourself) - Eric Clapton
3. Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz
4. Somebody to Shove - Soul Asylum
5. Barefoot - k.d. lang
6. Graceland - Paul Simon
7. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John
8. Like a Hurricane - Neil Young
9. Gasoline Alley - Rod Stewart
10. Pink Houses - John Mellencamp
11. We Can Work It Out - Paul McCartney
12. Deep Dark Truthful Mirror - Elvis Costello
13. Come Rain or Come Shine - Don Henley
14. Why - Annie Lennox
15. Don't Talk - 10,000 Maniacs
16. Half a World Away - R.E.M.