Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Doc Watson

March 3, 1923 – May 29, 2012

I saw Doc Watson perform so many decades ago, with his son Merle, an outdoor stage, thousands of us camped on a hillside all day being overblown and overflown with folk music. A place in the heart. You saw Doc Watson, too, I would bet; many saw Doc Watson perform, or owned his many records, always reliable and wholesome and very good. Doc Watson spoke, as a blind man, how scary the road could be for him, and still he came forth and played for us. We may as well thank our lucky stars.

One of my favorite Doc Watson moments is on the triple Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album where Doc Watson and Merle Travis meet. You can listen to the difference in the guitar masters strumming and in their voices when they talk, spontaneously, the record picking it all up. What Doc Watson says in but a few words, just like his playing, almost sums up his entire life up to that time. His sharing was seamless and expansive. And the Merle Travis chuckle and laconic humility balances the scales of the meeting. They went on to play a tune like a team of horses charging across a stream.
. .

Doc Watson & Merle Travis: First Meeting (Dialogue) by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on Grooveshark

another favorite album (I'm playing it now) was this beauty titled Elementary Doctor Watson (with Merle Watson) on the tiny Poppy label. I used to watch that poppy design on the album spin on the turntable while the tunes played. . .

Going Down The Road Feeling Bad by Doc & Merle Watson on Grooveshark



Luster said...

I came to his music second hand, through hearing Uncle Walt's Band in a Dallas folk club introduce Omie Wise as a song they learned from Doc Watson. Yes, the great Circle record and then later I bought the Memories album and worked my way backward to the early deep recordings but also rode with him as he went on to record with his son and then his grandson. I finally got to see him perform a dozen years ago just up the road from where I now sit. It was my first visit to this part of the Ozarks. I got the news of his death yesterday after driving home from Mountain View, Arkansas, the home of Jimmy Driftwood, the writer of Tennessee Stud, an unbroken circle. Much needed rain after a long drought falling on the garden plants we set out before dark last night. Just what the Doctor ordered.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

And, Doc Watson, Mike, as you know, told us "Jimmy Driftwood wrote this song." He was the champion of shared delights and gifts, much unlike what we see today on the stage and page. I love the fact you drove from Driftwood's place to Doc's farewell news, then took us to your garden.

May it grow
all's well, Bob