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Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012

DigiTrad:
DEEP RIVER BLUES


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Stringsinger 30 May 12 - 10:30 AM
Stringsinger 30 May 12 - 10:29 AM
Bettynh 30 May 12 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,olddude 30 May 12 - 10:03 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 30 May 12 - 09:55 AM
Highlandman 30 May 12 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Roger Knowles 30 May 12 - 09:31 AM
deepdoc1 30 May 12 - 09:26 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 May 12 - 09:23 AM
Pete Jennings 30 May 12 - 09:10 AM
RoyH (Burl) 30 May 12 - 09:10 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 May 12 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Dharmabum 30 May 12 - 07:37 AM
Frug 30 May 12 - 05:39 AM
ChrisJBrady 30 May 12 - 05:32 AM
peregrina 30 May 12 - 05:18 AM
Peter T. 30 May 12 - 05:03 AM
Joe Offer 30 May 12 - 04:59 AM
scouse 30 May 12 - 04:53 AM
Owen Woodson 30 May 12 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 30 May 12 - 03:43 AM
theleveller 30 May 12 - 03:13 AM
alanabit 30 May 12 - 02:46 AM
eddie1 30 May 12 - 02:41 AM
kendall 30 May 12 - 02:34 AM
Tunesmith 30 May 12 - 01:42 AM
Genie 30 May 12 - 01:26 AM
Richie 30 May 12 - 12:35 AM
voyager 30 May 12 - 12:30 AM
Beer 29 May 12 - 10:56 PM
katlaughing 29 May 12 - 10:51 PM
Richie 29 May 12 - 10:40 PM
Cool Beans 29 May 12 - 10:35 PM
BK Lick 29 May 12 - 10:33 PM
Richie 29 May 12 - 10:23 PM
Nancy King 29 May 12 - 10:22 PM
BK Lick 29 May 12 - 10:11 PM
Don Firth 29 May 12 - 10:04 PM
wysiwyg 29 May 12 - 09:58 PM
Elmore 29 May 12 - 09:21 PM
catspaw49 29 May 12 - 09:06 PM
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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 May 12 - 10:30 AM

That is Medal of Freedom.   He freed folk music from the academics.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 May 12 - 10:29 AM

Doc should have gotten the Presidential Medal of Honor.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Bettynh
Date: 30 May 12 - 10:09 AM

Rest in Peace, Doc. We'll miss you.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 30 May 12 - 10:03 AM

Thanks for all the great music Doc ...
RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:55 AM

I remember being bowled over when I first heard him on record back in the 60s and I did have the pleasure of seeing him live in London once(Kilburn State, mid-70s). He was never an influence - I don't normally flatpick, except for occasional lead-guitar bits - though for a while I did play Blue-Eyed Jane, which came from one of his recordings.

A great musician and a sad loss.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Highlandman
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:35 AM

Sad for us, and for his family. He lived his life doing what he clearly found joy in, and spent so much of it bringing that joy to others. Doc was THE Guitar Hero. RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Roger Knowles
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:31 AM

What a man. saw him in Manchester in '65, rest in peace, Doc. Loved you and loved your music.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: deepdoc1
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:26 AM

No great Doc stories here, just a quiet celebration of a true artist. Doc has kept me company for so many years with his music and his class. God's got some good pickin' now with Merle & Doc together again.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:23 AM

Segment from NPR's "All Things Considered"

It's worth listening just to hear Doc's version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" at the end of it.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:10 AM

I never could on with a flatpick, so I was always in awe of him. RIP.

Pete


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:10 AM

Just like everyone else I am saddened deeply by the passing of Doc Watson. He was truly great,admirable for his music, and for the way he conquered life as a blind man. Rest in Peace Doc, thank you for the music, and the example you gave us of a life well lived.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 May 12 - 08:57 AM

When it comes to music festivals, I've always been more of a campground jammer than a spectator. There's a small handful of musicians who can predictably draw me away from the campfire and up to the stage. Doc was one of them. I never missed a set. But I'll sure miss him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Dharmabum
Date: 30 May 12 - 07:37 AM

As I'm reading of this sad news,I happened to look down & realized I'm wearing my Mearlefest 2000 t-shirt.

My introduction to Doc's music was the Folkways,The Watson Family, album.
Never a time since,when there wasn't one of his albums near the turntable,cassette or cd player.

RIP,Doc.

DB.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Frug
Date: 30 May 12 - 05:39 AM

Deeply saddened but grateful for having 'found' the Doc and his music and having the opportunity to see him perform live many years ago. Irreplaceable.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 30 May 12 - 05:32 AM

In memory of the passing of Doc Watson, listen to this clip recorded on July 4th, 1941 at the Boone Fiddler's Convention, great introduction and a recording of him singing 'Precious Jewel.'

http://contentdm.library.appstate.edu/docapp/abrams/field_recordings/precious_jewel.html

Remarkable.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: peregrina
Date: 30 May 12 - 05:18 AM

So sad to read this


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 May 12 - 05:03 AM

The sound of a link in the great chain, breaking here below.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 May 12 - 04:59 AM

I'm sorry I never got the chance to reform. May he rest in peace, knowing that his was a job well done. He lived a wonderful life and made wonderful music. For the record, here's the text of the New York Times obituary:
    May 29, 2012

    Doc Watson, Blind Guitar Wizard Who Influenced Generations, Dies at 89

    By WILLIAM GRIMES

    Doc Watson, the guitarist and folk singer whose flat-picking style elevated the acoustic guitar to solo status in bluegrass and country music, and whose interpretations of traditional American music profoundly influenced generations of folk and rock guitarists, died on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 89.

    Mr. Watson, who had been blind since he was a baby, died in a hospital after recently undergoing abdominal surgery, The Associated Press quoted a hospital spokesman as saying. On Thursday his daughter, Nancy Ellen Watson, said he had been hospitalized after falling at his home in Deep Gap, N.C., adding that he did not break any bones but was very ill.

    Mr. Watson, who came to national attention during the folk music revival of the early 1960s, injected a note of authenticity into a movement awash in protest songs and bland renditions of traditional tunes. In a sweetly resonant, slightly husky baritone, he sang old hymns, ballads and country blues he had learned growing up in the northwestern corner of North Carolina, which has produced fiddlers, banjo pickers and folk singers for generations.

    His mountain music came as a revelation to the folk audience, as did his virtuoso guitar playing. Unlike most country and bluegrass musicians, who thought of the guitar as a secondary instrument for providing rhythmic backup, Mr. Watson executed the kind of flashy, rapid-fire melodies normally played by a fiddle or a banjo. His style influenced a generation of young musicians learning to play the guitar as folk music achieved national popularity.

    "He is single-handedly responsible for the extraordinary increase in acoustic flat-picking and fingerpicking guitar performance," said Ralph Rinzler, the folklorist who discovered Mr. Watson in 1960. "His flat-picking style has no precedent in earlier country music history."

    Arthel Lane Watson was born in Stoney Fork, N.C., the sixth of nine children, on March 3, 1923. His father, General Dixon Watson, was a farmer and day laborer who led the singing at the local Baptist church. His mother, Annie, sang old-time ballads while doing household chores and at night sang the children to sleep.

    When Mr. Watson was still an infant an eye infection left him blind, and the few years of formal schooling he received were at the Raleigh School for the Blind. His musical training, typical for the region, began in early childhood. At the age of 5 or 6 he received his first harmonica as a Christmas gift, and at 11 his father made him a fretless banjo with a head made from the skin of a family cat that had just died.

    Arthel dropped out of school in the seventh grade and began working for his father, who helped him get past his disability. "I would not have been worth the salt that went in my bread if my dad hadn't put me at the end of a crosscut saw to show me that there was not a reason in the world that I couldn't pull my own weight and help to do my part in some of the hard work," he told Frets magazine in 1979.

    By then, Arthel had moved beyond the banjo. His father, hearing him plucking chords on a borrowed guitar, promised to buy him his own guitar if he could teach himself a song by the end of the day. The boy taught himself the Carter Family's "When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland," and a week later he was the proud owner of a $12 Stella guitar.

    Mr. Watson initially employed a thumb-picking style, in which the thumb establishes a bass line on the lower strings while the rest of the fingers pick out a melody or chords. That soon changed.

    "I began listening to Jimmie Rodgers recordings seriously and I figured, 'Hey, he must be doing that with one of them straight picks,' " he told Dirty Linen magazine in 1995. "So I got me one and began to work at it. Then I began to learn the Jimmie Rodgers licks on the guitar, then all at once I began to figure out, 'Hey, I could play that Carter stuff a lot better with a flat pick.' "

    To pay for a new Martin guitar bought on the installment plan, Mr. Watson played for tips at a cab stand in Lenoir, N.C. Before long he was appearing at amateur contests and fiddlers' conventions. One day, as he prepared to play for a radio show being broadcast from a furniture store, the announcer decided that the young guitarist needed a snappier name and appealed to the audience for suggestions. A woman yelled out, "Doc!," and the name stuck. (Last year, a life-size statue of Mr. Watson was dedicated in Boone, N.C., at another spot where he had once played for tips to support his family. At his request the inscription read, "Just One of the People.")

    In 1947 he married Rosa Lee Carlton, the daughter of a local fiddler. The couple's first child, Merle, took up the guitar and began performing with his father in 1964. Their partnership, which produced 20 albums, ended with Merle Watson's death at 36 in a tractor accident in Lenoir in 1985. Mr. Watson is survived by his wife; his daughter, Nancy Ellen; a brother, David; two grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.

    In 1953, Mr. Watson began playing electric guitar with a country dance band, Jack Williams and the Country Gentlemen. The band usually played without a fiddle, so Mr. Watson learned how to play lead fiddle parts on the guitar, often complicated melodies executed at top speed. This technique, which he carried over to the acoustic guitar, became a hallmark, exemplified by his much imitated version of "Black Mountain Rag."

    In 1960 Mr. Rinzler, the folklorist, was attending a fiddlers' convention in Union Grove, N.C., when he encountered Clarence Ashley, an old-time folk musician better known as Tom Ashley, whom he persuaded to sit for a recording session. Mr. Ashley put together a group of top local musicians that included Mr. Watson on banjo and guitar. Impressed, Mr. Rinzler went to Mr. Watson's home and recorded him with family members, including his father-in-law, Gaither Carlton.

    A year later Mr. Watson, Mr. Ashley and several other musicians gave a concert at P.S. 41 in Greenwich Village sponsored by the Friends of Old Time Music. The performance led to appearances at colleges and folk festivals and a solo career for Mr. Watson, who became a star attraction at clubs like Gerdes Folk City and an audience favorite for his folksy, humorous banter onstage. He was invited to appear at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963 and 1964. In 1963 he performed at Town Hall in Manhattan with the bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe.

    In the meantime Folkways released "Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's" and "The Watson Family," and Vanguard released Mr. Watson's first solo album, "Doc Watson." His recordings for Folkways and Vanguard in the 1960s are regarded as classics.

    Despite his image, Mr. Watson was not a folk-music purist. Even as a child he absorbed big-band jazz and the guitar playing of Django Reinhardt, whose records he heard at school. "I can't be put in a box," he told Fred Metting, the author of "The Life, Work, and Music of the American Folk Artist Doc Watson" (2006). "I play traditional music and whatever else I'm drawn to."

    His catholic tastes expressed themselves on albums like "Good Deal!" (1968), recorded in Nashville with mainstream country musicians; "Docabilly" (1995), a return to the kind of rock 'n' roll he had played in the 1950s; and the eclectic "Memories" (1975), which included "field hollers, black blues, sacred music, mountain music, gospel, rhythm and blues, even traces of jazz," the critic Chet Flippo wrote in his liner notes.

    Folk audiences, however, saw Mr. Watson as a direct conduit to the roots music of Appalachia, which he played with conviction. "To me the old-time fiddling, the old-time ballads — there never was anything prettier and there never will be," he said.

    Mr. Watson found touring hard to bear. "For a green country man not really used to the city, it was a scary thing to come to New York and wonder, 'Will that guy meet me there at the bus station, and will the bus driver help me change buses?' and all that stuff, people not knowing you're blind and stepping on your feet," he told The Washington Post. "It's scary, the road is."

    In 1964 Merle Watson, then 15, joined him as a rhythm guitarist and eased most of the burdens of the road from his father's shoulders. The two performed together for 20 years, receiving Grammy Awards for the albums "Then and Now" in 1974, "Two Days in November" in 1975 and "Big Sandy/Leather Britches" in 1980. A sampling of their work was collected on "Watson Country: Doc and Merle Watson" (1996).

    Waning interest in folk music slowed Mr. Watson's career in the late 1960s, but in 1972 he was invited to contribute to "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," an album that paired the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with country artists like Maybelle Carter, Merle Travis (Merle Watson's namesake) and Earl Scruggs. The record's success brought Mr. Watson a new audience, and he and Merle toured constantly until Merle's death.

    Mr. Watson returned to the road a week after the funeral. Merle, he said, had appeared to him in a dream and urged him to carry on. In his son's honor, he helped found an annual music festival in Wilkesboro, N.C., now known as Merlefest.

    In the post-Merle period, Mr. Watson won Grammys for the albums "Riding the Midnight Train" in 1987, "On Praying Ground" in 1991 and "Legacy" in 2003. His fingers were dexterous well into old age, as he showed on the track "Whiskey Before Breakfast," recorded with the guitarist Bryan Sutton, which won a Grammy for best country instrumental performance in 2007. In concerts he was often joined on guitar by his grandson Richard, Merle's son.

    In 1997, President Bill Clinton presented Mr. Watson with the National Medal of Arts at the White House. "There may not be a serious, committed baby boomer alive who didn't at some point in his or her youth try to spend a few minutes at least trying to learn to pick a guitar like Doc Watson," Mr. Clinton said.

    Quiet and unassuming offstage, Mr. Watson played down his virtuoso guitar playing as nothing more than "country pickin.' " He told interviewers that had he not been blind, he would have become an auto mechanic and been just as happy.

    "He wants to be remembered as a pretty good old boy," said the guitarist Jack Lawrence, who had played with Mr. Watson since the early 1980s. "He doesn't put the fact that he plays the guitar as more than a skill."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: scouse
Date: 30 May 12 - 04:53 AM

For years I thought "Doc." was a Afro American Blues player, having never seen or heard him then I found a compilation LP. with him playing "Deep River Blues". There's no one alive who was converted so quickly to his music..I just couldn't believe what I was hearing..
R.I.P "Doc..surely missed.

As Aye,

Phil.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 30 May 12 - 04:21 AM

I am destroyed. Absolutely destroyed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 30 May 12 - 03:43 AM

Sad, sad, sad news. It was listening to the old Folkways LP "The Watson Family" that made me want to go to the Appalachians. His duets with Gaither Carlton are some of the greatest recordings ever made of old-timey music. And his singing of "The Lone Pilgrim" still haunts me today.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: theleveller
Date: 30 May 12 - 03:13 AM

A great loss - he was a huge inspiration when I first discovered folk music.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: alanabit
Date: 30 May 12 - 02:46 AM

He obviously used his time well as a musician and as a man. He was a happy man who made others happy. I guess that is the way to live.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: eddie1
Date: 30 May 12 - 02:41 AM

Difficult to find the right words - a position I'm in so often these days.
There is now a little gap in my life which you filled but memories will pour in and fill it again.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My feelings of loss are nothing compared with what the family is going through - love'n'hugs to all of you.

Eddie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: kendall
Date: 30 May 12 - 02:34 AM

It's enough to make you want to believe there is a heaven.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Tunesmith
Date: 30 May 12 - 01:42 AM

Well, we've lost one of the true greats!
I saw Doc back in 1965 in Manchester, UK. He simply blew me away.
I used to sing a bunch of songs from his British Fontana album ( Vanguard release).
He really was the complete folk artist - and more besides.
A great loss.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Genie
Date: 30 May 12 - 01:26 AM

LOL, Richie!

Yeah, this is a real loss to the music world.    Thanks for all the great tunes and picking stylings, Doc.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Richie
Date: 30 May 12 - 12:35 AM

One time I booked a concert for Doc at a college in Greensboro, so a few days before the concert I called the hall to make sure they we ready- and find out who was running the sound.

A student working there answered phone. I asked if the guitar concert was scheduled and who was running the sound, and when the sound check was.

She said, "O no- there's not a guitar concert scheduled that night."

I said, "What!$#@$%"

She said, "There's some medical lecture- by a Doctor Watson!"

Richie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: voyager
Date: 30 May 12 - 12:30 AM

Doc -

I've been following you since I was a teenager (in the 60's) and have kept your music and image in front of my eyes for a long, long time...

Doc Watosn - A portrait by Willard Gayheart

The Heavenly Angel Band awaits you. First chair.

God speed and rest.
voyager


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Beer
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:56 PM

You are right kat, Spaw said it all.
Condolences to all his love ones.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:51 PM

Sad at such a loss..what great contributor and kind man.

Spaw, that was beautifully put.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Richie
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:40 PM

I held fingerstyle workshops at Merlefest for two years in the 1990s. At one workshop I sat with Doc and we listened to for a while. During one song he said, "I play that the same only with a capo on the 2nd fret." The guitarist was playing the song with a capo on the third fret!

Doc sometimes used to call a capo, "a cheater."

Not many people could go out and play before a crowd of 1,400 people and say, "This is just like I was playing in your living room," and mean it. To him it was no big deal- he was just like everyone else except he happened to play the guitar.

Of course- better than anyone. Doc was always very complimentary- he especially like to brag about Merle's playing- they'll be picking together now in the great bye and bye.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Cool Beans
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:35 PM

He was the best. RIP, Doc.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: BK Lick
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:33 PM

NY Times Obituary


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Richie
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:23 PM

I'll give you a few Doc Watson stories, here's one:

I set up some concerts for Doc in the 1990 to early 2000s. Doc and Rosa Lee used to sent me Christmas cards a couple years and he was kind enough to give me pass to the Merlefest every year for a while.

At one concert I gave Doc an award as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Doc, who was blind, asked me to hold it up, then over the mic he said, "Isn't it beautiful."

It was as if he could see it though his other senses.

Another one: In between songs at a concert in Winston-Salem, I went up to adjust Richard's mic. Richard's set list fell off the amp so I picked it up. There was loud applause. I said "Hi Doc, I'm adjusting the mic" he turned to me and asked me what I had in my hand. I still had the set list in my hand so I set it on the amp.

How he knew I had the set list in my hand I'll never know.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Nancy King
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:22 PM

What an incredible loss. Doc was surely one of the finest guitar pickers of all time, and he also had impeccable taste and a marvelous voice. Sing with the angels, Doc.


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Subject: RE: Doc Watson in hospital (May 2012)
From: BK Lick
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:11 PM

Obituary by David Morris in Bluegrass Today:
RIP Doc Watson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:04 PM

Doc Watson was one of the featured performers at the 1964 Berkeley Folk Festival (the BFFs had become an annual pilgrimage for me), so I had the pleasure of seeing/hearing him in person a couple of times.

I attended a workshop that Doc conduct on playing the guitar. The many who attended that workshop couldn't help but learn a whole bunch.

One young man asked him about the picking pattern (Doc's own version of Travis-picking) he often used. Doc tried to explain it, but it started getting a bit complicated, so Doc said, "Well, the best I can say is that it's a sort of arpeggio." Then he chuckled and said, "'Course I'm not supposed to know words like that!"

Then someone asked him how he could flat-pick so fast. He said, "I practice scales a lot, every day."

Scales!!

You could hear a horrified intake of air all over the room, accompanied by shudders of horror!

But there it is, folks. Straight from the Doctor himself!!

R.I.P., Doc. I'm sure they won't saddle you with a harp. They'll want you to keep right on pickin' the guitar up there.

Don Firth


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Subject: Anyclone: OBIT the title pls
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 May 12 - 09:58 PM

Here's the text for gnu's link. RIP, sweet man. <3+++

Folk musician Doc Watson dies in NC hospital at 89; style influenced folk music for decades
By Associated Press

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Doc Watson, the Grammy-award winning folk musician whose lightning-fast style of flatpicking influenced guitarists around the world for more than a half-century, died Tuesday at a hospital in Winston-Salem, according to a hospital spokeswoman and his management company. He was 89.

Watson, who was blind from age 1, recently had abdominal surgery that resulted in his hospitalization.

Arthel "Doc" Watson's mastery of flatpicking helped make the case for the guitar as a lead instrument in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was often considered a backup for the mandolin, fiddle or banjo. His fast playing could intimidate other musicians, even his own grandson, who performed with him.

Richard Watson said in a 2000 interview with The Associated Press that his grandfather's playing had a humbling effect on other musicians. The ever-humble Doc Watson found it hard to believe.

"Everybody that's picked with you says you intimidate them, and that includes some of the best," Richard Watson told him.

Doc Watson was born March 3, 1923 in what is now Deep Gap, N.C., in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He lost his eyesight by the age of 1 when he developed an eye infection that was worsened by a congenital vascular disorder, according to a website for Merlefest, the annual musical gathering named after his late son Merle.

Doc Watson's father, who was active in the family's church choir, gave him a harmonica as a young child, and by 5 he was playing the banjo. He learned a few guitar chords while attending the North Carolina Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, and then his father helped him buy a guitar for $12, the website says.

"My real interest in music was the old 78 records and the sound of the music," Doc Watson is quoted as saying on the website. "I loved it and began to realize that one of the main sounds on those old records I loved was the guitar."

Doc Watson got his musical start in 1953, playing electric lead guitar in a country-and-western swing band. His road to fame began in 1960 when Ralph Rinzler, a musician who also managed Bill Monroe, discovered Watson in North Carolina. That led Watson to the Newport Folk Festival in 1963 and his first recording contract a year later. He went on to record 60 albums.

According to the Encyclopedia of Country Music, Watson took his nickname at age 19 when someone couldn't pronounce his name and a girl in the audience shouted "Call him Doc!"

Seven of his albums won Grammy awards; his eighth Grammy was a lifetime achievement award in 2004. He also received the National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton in 1997.

Doc Watson's son Merle began recording and touring with him in 1964. But Merle Watson died at age 36 in a 1985 tractor accident, sending his father into deep grief and making him consider retirement. Instead, he kept playing and started Merlefest, an annual musical event in Wilkesboro, N.C., that raises money for a community college there and celebrates "traditional plus" music.

"When Merle and I started out we called our music 'traditional plus,' meaning the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play," Doc Watson is quoted as saying on the festival's website. "Since the beginning, the people of the college and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is 'traditional plus.'"


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Elmore
Date: 29 May 12 - 09:21 PM

Condolences to the family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 May 12 - 09:06 PM

So much to be said yet I am unworthy to say it. One of the greatest of all time and a guitar god to most everyone......Thanks Doc.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Bill D
Date: 29 May 12 - 09:03 PM

I am so grateful for having seen Doc in person several times......


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: BanjoRay
Date: 29 May 12 - 09:01 PM

A great player and a great man. Sorry I never got to see him, but I've been listening since the early sixties, and loved every note.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:59 PM

Sigh....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Janie
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:47 PM

I'm so sad. A good human being from all reports, and a great musician. He left the world a better place than he found it.



My deepest condolences to his family and all who loved him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,mando-player-91
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:44 PM

RIP DOC :( :(


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Mark Ross
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:43 PM

From Mitch Greenhill, Doc's friend and manager;


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Fred Maslan
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:40 PM

Let it rain let it pour let it rain a whole lot more cause I've got the deep river blues.

RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: LilyFestre
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:38 PM

RIP Doc Watson. I'm so glad we got the chance to see you play in person. What an amazing man!

Michelle


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Richie
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:33 PM

I played a bunch of shows with Doc. I loved Doc he was a great perosn and one of the best pickers of all time.

My condolances to the family and Richard, who I know fairly well.

Will the circle be unbroken,

Richie


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