You cannot have a conversation about the great American folk family without mentioning Eric Andersen. The clarity and depth in Eric Andersen’s music were something to behold. His songwriting prowess which was quietly beautiful, is a testimony of the power of his music which has transcended generations and continues to transform us to this day. Before he started recording and releasing his own music, Eric Andersen was writing songs for Bob Dylan. He has also collaborated with Lou Reed to write songs performed by Linda Ronstadt, John Denver, Rick Nelson, and others. Although he never achieved similar levels of fame, like fellow other artists, he is still an American folk music legend.
His career dates back to the early 1960s where he was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene. Over the course of his lengthy career, Eric Andersen has released over 30 albums. One of his most progressive albums is You Can’t Relive the Past, which contained some incredible acoustic ballads such as the album’s title song. Eric Andersen’s style of music, vocals, lyrics, and acoustic guitar has captivated audiences for many years, and this article will look at some of his best songs ever. Here are the top ten Eric Andersen Songs ranked.
# 10 – Rain Falls Down in Amsterdam
Starting us off in the tenth position is a song that Eric Anderson warns of the continued rise of the neo-nazi thugs across the globe. This song features Jonas Fjeld’s chilling, amplified baritone guitar and a great vocal delivery from Eric Andersen. The lyrics are amazing, making “Rain Falls Down in Amsterdam” one of the best folk songs ever recorded.
# 9 – More Often Than Not
“More Often Than Not” was originally written by David Wiffen. It was then recorded and released by Jerry Jeff Walker for his 1970 album, Bein Free. Eric Andersen recorded and released his own version in 1972 as the eighth song from the hit album Blue River. A couple of other artists has covered the song since then. However, many people argue that the original version by David Wiffen is the best, although Eric Andersen’s version was equally mesmerizing.
# 8 – You Can’t Relive the Past
“You Can’t Relive the Past” is the second track from Eric Andersen’s 2000 album with the same name. The track, which was written by Lou Reed, is a folk-rap song that talks about the aging culture which is on the verge of being rebelled or being accepted by young people. In the song, Eric Andersen turns to a bluesman as a James “Super Chikan” Johnson and Sam Carr compliment his vocals excellently on the drums and guitar, respectively.
# 7 – How It Goes
Many Eric Andersen fans consider his 1976 album, Sweet Surprise, as his last great album. Eight songs from the album were written when Eric Andersen was living in a single room in the mountains of Montana, where the backdrop provided some real inspiration. The second track on the album entitled “How It Goes,” is a great rocker in which Eric Andersen delivers some spirited vocals.
# 6 – Blue River
The number seven song in our countdown of the top ten Eric Andersen songs is a haunting yet evocative song about life. The song features angelic background voices from Joni Mitchell, which makes the song quite moving. The songwriting is exemplary and proves how good a storyteller Eric Andersen was. The song also features incredible piano tunes that make this song a fan favorite.
# 5 – Eyes of the Immigrant
The number five track on our list is an acoustic Dylanesque track that talks about people who have immigrated to the US. While performing this song in one of his concerts in the US, Eric Andersen spoke about the problems he had encountered with the customs at the border. He said he wished to cross over with his friends, but the clearing process was slow and complex. In this track, his voice is as smooth as ever, and “Eyes of the Immigrant” is one of the standout tracks on his 2000 album, You Can’t Relive the Past.
# 4 – Time Run Like a Freight Train
Along with the album Blue River, Eric Andersen’s 1975 album, Be True To You, was a masterpiece. “Time Run Like a Freight Train” is a slow, reflective song that brings so much peace and serenity whenever you put it on. The track is about redeeming or leaving the past and living in the present. “Time Run Like a Freight Train” is the fifth song from Eric Andersen’s 1975 album, Be True To You.
# 3 – Wind and Sand
“Wind and Sand” is the third song from Eric Andersen’s 1972 album, Blue River. The track contains some philosophical lyrics that were written by Eric Andersen himself. Eric Andersen’s vocals are pretty outstanding, and the moving lyrics make this song a bit emotional.
# 2 – Is It Really Love At All
Eric Andersen’s 1972 album, Blue River, was a glorious record that was met with critical and commercial success. At the heart of it was the number one song on the album, “ Is It Really Love at All,” which reminds us of Livingston Taylor. The track has some lovely piano ballads and an equally impressive choir that compliments Eric Andersen’s fine voice, which seems a little laid back. “ Is It Really Love At All” is a great song that will get you through any kind of emotions that you are going through.
# 1 – Thirsty Boots
The number one Eric Andersen song in our countdown of his greatest songs is also his most famous song. The civil rights era folk song was a dedication to Eric Andersen’s friend, who was a civil rights worker. According to Judy Collins, who later covered the song, Eric Andersen wrote the lyrics of the last verse on a matchbook cover in her bathroom. The track has been covered by a couple of other artists, such as John Denver and The Kingston Trio. Bob Dylan also recorded the song for his album Self Portrait, although the song didn’t feature in the final album.
Top 10 Eric Andersen Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021