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Doc Watson: An appreciation.

11 Jun 99 - 01:28 PM (#85908)
Subject: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: The Shambles

I thought it would be nice to take the oppotunity to say some nice things here about Doc Watson.

It always seems such a shame to me that saying nice things about great artists, usually has to wait until they are no longer with us and they don't then have the chance to read them.

It must appear that it is only then that we begin to appreciate their impact.

This man is the boss.


11 Jun 99 - 01:29 PM (#85909)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Easy Rider

AMEN!


11 Jun 99 - 01:31 PM (#85910)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: The Shambles

Bugger me. That was quick!!!


11 Jun 99 - 01:44 PM (#85912)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Neil Lowe

He holds a rightful place right up there alongside the other Bluegrass legends: Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs,and Ralph Stanley.


11 Jun 99 - 02:27 PM (#85930)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: catspaw49

Actually Shambles, I'd rather not. But you are right about Doc...anyone who has ever heard him realizes there are no words.

catspaw


11 Jun 99 - 02:28 PM (#85932)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Dave Swan

I went to see Doc about ten years ago in a pretty small house, where he was billed as the solo act. Doc entered on the arm of a sort of shaggy looking guy who was doing his best not to be noticed at first. When the shaggy guy stepped into the light, it turned out to be Grisman. Doc called the night "arrangements while you wait". Occasionally Doc would call out the key of the next tune, but other than that it was up to Grisman to keep up and devil take the hindermost. What a night. He is the boss.


11 Jun 99 - 02:53 PM (#85939)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: BSeed(CharlesKratz)

Doc and Dawg! Dave, you were indeed blessed. Charlie Bond, lead guitar in the Once-Born, was at a festival in North Carolina 20 years ago, sitting under a tree and picking his guitar. Doc came by (on someone's arm), heard him and told him, "You're holding your pick wrong." He sat down and gave Charlie an impromptu (and free) lesson.

By the way, Dave--Sonja and I were there (Quinn's), but where were you (and Fadac)? --seed


11 Jun 99 - 03:17 PM (#85946)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Bill D

In 1971, I sat in the stands at Walnut Valley festival(National Flatpicking Championship) and watched Norman Blake, Dan Crary, Tony Rice, ...and Doc Watson...I was using binoculars and watching their fingers. All those fingers were sure flying...except for Doc's. His fingers only cleared the strings 'just' enough to move to the next note or position....NO wasted motion! Amazing control.


11 Jun 99 - 03:33 PM (#85949)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Mike Billo

While we praise Doc's formidable technical skills(and his skills are amazing) let's not forget that he is the consumate "songster". He has an astounding repetoire of hundreds of songs from all genres of American music. He was one of the first to break the Bluegrass taboo against electric bass choosing what sounded good over what others say you're supposed to do. He remains one of my favorite harmonica players (I wish he'd play more). I guess I've seen Doc play 15-20 times in the past 30 years and have never ceased to be amazed. He's THE Man.


11 Jun 99 - 03:43 PM (#85955)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Rick Fielding

Simply the finest.


11 Jun 99 - 04:42 PM (#85971)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Jack (who is called Jack)

There are only a few musicians blessed with 'talent and skill beyond the ken of mere mortals'.

Yet of these, too many possess a tragic flaw of conciet. To them a song is somthing to be dominated and possessed as theirs. To them a song exsists to serve the performer. They take a song into themselves and make it over in thier own image, and only let it out again under their own terms. Their cry is - look how great I make this song! Their love for a song is the love of a multi-millioniare for his trophy wife.

There are very few musicians who, once they realize how gifted and able they are, resist this temptation. Those who do treat a song like a wonder of nature that they are but priveleged to share with the rest of us. They allow the song to consume them, and become servants to it. They are the musicians that elavate music to its greatest heights, and Doc Watson is one of them. To hear him play is to bask in the glow of true love, the love of fathers and daughters, of old married couples, and grandchildren.

And as if that weren't enough, he is also one of the most forthright, genuinely human individuals I have ever heard speak.

The psychologists have a word, 'self-actualization'. It refers to the completion of the human maturational process, an achievement of your full potential in wisdom, emotional balance, and personal development. They claim it is exceedingly rare, but if Doc's not an example I don't know who is.


11 Jun 99 - 06:45 PM (#86006)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Chet W.

Has anyone seen the video (I think it was a PBS show, don't know from when) that shows Doc climbing a ladder to the roof of his house and installing a screen on a second-floor window? And did you know he is a trained electrician, and did all the wiring for his house? His music made me a musician, and his spirit makes me a better man. I love the guy.

Chet W.


11 Jun 99 - 07:00 PM (#86013)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Rick Fielding

Yeah Chet, I saw that video. It was also nice to see Fiddlin' Fred Price and Clint Howard. Were it not for Doc's amazing talent, I think his two friends who were discovered at the same time would have become better known.


11 Jun 99 - 09:39 PM (#86064)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Big Mick

I will never forget the night that four of us went to the Ark to see Doc play. Up to that night I knew him to be a very good performer and singer. We all filed in and just sat where the line stopped. A few minutes later, he and Jack came out. They stopped in front of me, a hand brought out the stools. They sat down and started to play. I was literally at this great man's knee, not 6' away. He absolutely mesmerized me. One of the greatest nights of music I have ever witnessed.

I was in Manhattan a couple of years ago, and while cruising the music stores I came upon an instructional video put out by Doc. I bought it, slowed it down to frame by frame, and still can't figure out how he gets so much out of what he does. A truly amazing talent.

Mick


11 Jun 99 - 09:44 PM (#86067)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au

I have to go along with Mike. Doc Watson is a great musician who happens to include bluegrass in his repetior. I like it better when he puts his pick in his pocket and starts picking with his two fingers. A lot of his fingerpicking versions are my favorit versions--like "Wabash Cannonball" and "Sitting on top of the World"--and both of them have some other real good people performing them.

I have heard of him building a garage; but I didn't know about the video. There are some other videos with him, Howard and Price. One is Yazoos "Traditional Misic Classics" and the other is a Pete Seeger "Rainbow Quest" program devoted entirely to the three.

Bill, I have had the same reaction. It is a pleasure to watch how smoothly and efficiently he plays. I'll bet there is a lot of practice behind that effortlessness. Almost all the great concert musicians give that impression too. (So did Leadbelly!)

The videos I mention all show him with a guitar and so do the publicity pictures of him nowadays. I too would like to see more of his harmonica playing--and his banjo playing!

Murray


11 Jun 99 - 10:16 PM (#86073)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: GUy Wolff

I remember seeing and hearing Doc at Tanglewood playing inbetween Emerson Lake and Somebody and Steeley Span {right after they parted ways with Martin Carthy}I would have loved seeing Martin Carthy and Doc Watson on the same stage! He and his son were wanderfull that day and alittle confused about being set in that situation. Always the gentelman Doc showed clarity and craftsmanship in true art.A year or two before that I remember meeting the bass player from the Dillards up on Gold Hill Near Bolder and he talked of Doc WAtson getting a Packard car{I think,}at age 16 and he promptly taking the thing apart and putting it back together again.THat sounds like the same man who can take a good tune apart and put it back together again in better shape!>>>>>>>>>


12 Jun 99 - 01:12 AM (#86098)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: catspaw49

I don't think anyone has mentioned his collaboration with Jean Ritchie.......here you could forget the pickin' and just listen to the magic of those pure Appalachian voices.

catspaw


12 Jun 99 - 04:44 AM (#86109)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au

I think that is the way he got his start, with Jean Ritchie. I have an album of the two at Gurney's Folk City and it is one of my treasures.

Murray


12 Jun 99 - 05:31 AM (#86119)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: dwditty

I saw Doc at a show at Tanglewood (Massachusetts) circa 1974. Emmy Lou and her Hot Band were on the same bill. What a show when they played together. I know Doc is from North Carolina, but to me he'll always be the Tennesee Stud.


13 Jun 99 - 12:02 AM (#86288)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Bill D

yep.."Jean & Doc at Folk City" is a classic!...one of the first 20 albums I owned...


13 Jun 99 - 01:28 AM (#86302)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Craig

I Agree he's an outstanding musician. Check him out at CD Universe. They have several CD's of him on had and a couple of videos. You can also hear excerpts from some of the CD's. Craig


13 Jun 99 - 08:14 PM (#86445)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: The Shambles

This just about confirms what I thought...He is SO good we mostly just accept it and take him and his excellence for granted. .....Hell, James Taylor's thread's doing better than this one!!!!That can't be right??


13 Jun 99 - 08:27 PM (#86451)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: bseed(charleskratz)

Doc's first recordings were field tapes made by Ralph Rinzler, who had never heard of him until Clarence Ashley, who had made some early vinyl (or whatever they used in the '20s) recordings singing and frailing the banjo, insisted that Doc be recruited to back him up, as Ashley hadn't played in years. Doc was playing electric guitar in a local country band at the time. He had to borrow an accoustic guitar for the recordings: "The Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley," now available as a two-CD set. Can you imagine Rinzler's joy at discovering this national treasure? --seed


14 Jun 99 - 07:41 PM (#86707)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Guy Wolff

Ralph Rinzler was a great help to bringing Southern Folk Craft to a national place. I was working at Jugtown Pottery in 1969{ Ralph was a tustey} and was first hit with the beauty of thuoghs albums. Rinzler was at the Smithsonian at the time but sent some copys of that setion down to Nancy Sweezy at jugtown.>>>>Hey BSeed whats the name on the two cd set. I'm there...Clarence and Doc had a wanderfull energy together. How great it would be to hear thoughs songs again.I think a thank you to Ralph R. is very much in order here.His life enriched us all in so many more ways then most of us might never know..Bill Monroe for one and Doc and Tom of another...,....Cheeers G>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


14 Jun 99 - 10:57 PM (#86755)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: bseed(charleskratz)

Guy, the title is

The Original Folkways Recordings of

Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley

--seed (and I'm sure that Ralph Rinzler felt blest enough just hearing Doc, but I agree--I'm sure glad he found him.)


14 Jun 99 - 11:12 PM (#86756)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: rich r

Saw Doc twice in NC in the 70's. Once at the Folklife festival in Durham and then a couple years later at the University in Chapel Hill. The music just roll out of that man. At the folk festival some of his relatives were there including an uncle or such that told his version of the "true" story of Tom Dula. In Chapel Hill, it was Doc and Merle and T Michael Coleman on the bass, as fine a combo as ever graced a stage. What was even better is that local radio stations rebroadcast both events after the fact and I was able to get tapes of both so I can listen and visualize.

Guy, my wife and I went down to Jugtown several times in the late 70's. I think we still have some pottery we purchased there.

rich r


15 Jun 99 - 11:10 PM (#87027)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Guy Wolff

THanks BSeed , I've just made my second Vanity press Cd and looking over the list I'm doing.... I'm as Free Alittle Bird as I can Be...Short Life But Troubled>>>>> All The Good Times Are past And Gone>>>>>>>and >>>Walking Boss. Thank You C.T.Ashley!>>>>>>>>>>>Rich r It's funny but the pottery from that era at Jugtown has some real collectability to it ..I hope you enjoyed your visit! Vernon Owens and his wife Pam still make wanderfull pots on sight and would be worth the visit! Cheers ....Guy>>>>>>>


18 Jul 99 - 05:50 PM (#96553)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: The Shambles

Doc Watson has apparently been voted North Carolina's Person Of The Year.


18 Jul 99 - 11:02 PM (#96686)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: bseed(charleskratz)

Oughta be person of the last half century. Do they name a person of the decade?--probably be Coach K. --seed


24 Jul 99 - 12:24 AM (#98744)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: CarlZen

What an inspiration Doc is. My first chance seeing him was at L.A.s long-time-gone Ash Grove, where he played with Merle. Last time I saw him was about a year ago when he toured with David Grisman. But I will have to agree, it is not the music (incredible and wonderful as it is) but it is the whole person. There is a peace that emanates from the man. (I would also like to recommend the video Doc and Dawg to anyone who has read this thread and felt the admiration for one of the few people who can be truly hailed as a hero.)


24 Jul 99 - 06:14 PM (#98920)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Angus McSweeney

I was a teenage kid in 1965, learning to play the guitar off old Kingston Trio records. And then someone (I think it was my older brother) handed me this album called "Southbound" by someone I'd never heard of...Doc Watson. It was an absolute assault on my senses...the combination of voice and guitar PLUS the selection of tunes just blew me away! Up until that moment I thought all good pickin' required fingerpicks (now, I'm not tryin' to start anything here - I still fingerpick all the time) but I suddenly saw just what a flatpick could do - up until then I considered it the pick of choice of the rock 'n rollers who didn't have the talent to handle fingerpicks! Now, I don't look at it that way anymore, but the point is this - Doc Watson stimulated one of the few true epiphany's in my life. He changed the way I looked at playing the guitar forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Doc.


24 Jul 99 - 10:09 PM (#98963)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: Charlie Baum

The Summer issue of Oxford American magazine contains one of the greatest appreciations of Doc Watson I've ever read. It also contains other articles on Southern music, including folk music, and a CD that contains everything from Zydeco to the singing of Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy, who got his start in minstrel shows in his native Georgia, USA).

--Charlie Baum


23 Aug 09 - 08:34 PM (#2706977)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: GUEST

Many years ago I hitchhiked through what was it Deep Gap NC and sat on a stone pillar and reflected. Just recently I was able to shake Doc's hand at the Quick Center, Fairfield Univ Ct USA which was my Alma Mater. My guitar playing improved one forthwith, how can I say it, it became cleaner.

Doc thanks for making the music clean and clear again, see you again up in Connecticut USA I hope.

From the docs from ct. Joe and Clarisse


23 Aug 09 - 09:56 PM (#2707010)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: dick greenhaus

It's hard to voice an appreciation of someone who could keep me transfixed by sing the Manhattan phone book, with or without his guitar.
Words do fail.


24 Aug 09 - 06:46 AM (#2707176)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: nickp

Yep a great musician. Saw him at Fiddlers Grove about 5 years ago and spent a while talking to him afterwards. A real gentleman.


24 Aug 09 - 11:42 AM (#2707326)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: MikeT

To me, Doc is one of the great men of American Music in the 20th century, along with Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe. He is the Source and Wellspring of all things Americana. It is impossible to underestimate his musicianship, or impact on music

Mike


25 Aug 09 - 06:58 AM (#2707963)
Subject: RE: Doc Watson: An appreciation.
From: topical tom

A great singer and man. Unfortunately, I have seen him perform only once, with his son Merle at the Newport Folk Festival of 1984, but that was enough to give me a realization of how great a singer and flat-picker he is. Wonderful music, picking and wisdom, Doc! Keep it up!