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Watson, Doc

Article 15079 of
From: (Todd A. Gracyk)
Subject: Doc Watson Recordings
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 05:00:46 GMT

It occurs to me that some fans of bluegrass and old-time country music
may be unfamiliar with early recordings by Doc Watson made for the
Folkways label in the early 1960's that have been re-issued on the
Smithsonian/Folkways label.

These are the double CD/tape box set "The Original Folkways Recordings
of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley: 1960-1962", Smithsonian/Folkways
40029/30 and the single CD/tape "The Doc Watson Family",
Smithsonian/Folkways 40012.

Most of these recordings were originally released in 1961 and 1963 on
"Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's, Volumes 1 and 2" and in 1963 on
"The Watson Family".  The generous re-issues (48 and 26 tracks,
respectively) contain many previously unreleased cuts and both
re-issues contain extensive liner notes.

"The Doc Watson Family" is one of my all-time favorite recordings
because it contains the original version of "My Long Journey" (which
is actually "My Lone Journey") and a haunting version of "The Lone
Pilgrim".  "The Doc Watson Family" also contains great versions of
"Bonaparte's Retreat", "I'm Troubled", "That Train That Carried My
Girl From Town", and "Darling Corey".  Last, but not least, is "The
Lost Soul", a song that scares the hell out of me!

"The Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley:
1960-1962" is a gorgeous box set featuring a 32 page booklet with
notes by Ralph Rinzler.  Rinzler goes into some depth describing how
he "discovered" Watson while visiting Ashley for a recording session
(Ashley suggested that Watson play electric guitar for the session).
The song notes are fascinating and several photographs help illustrate
this exciting period of the old-time revival.  I re-read this booklet
last night and can say that the writing and photos make it one of the
treasures in my collection.  Rinzler captures well the importance of
these recordings (and live appearances during that period).

So much for the book, what about the music?  Well, there isn't a weak
cut on either disc (or tape) of "The Original Folkways Recordings
of..." and the version of "Hick's Farewell" heard here (with a short
introduction by Watson) is phenomenal.  Watson and Ashley are
accompanied by Clint Howard, Fred Price, and several others.  I am
especially fond of "Way Down Town", "Looking t'ward Heaven", "Tough
Luck", "Sweet Heaven When I Die", "Daniel Prayed", "Richmond Blues",
"Old Ruben", "Willie Moore", "A Short Life of Trouble", "John Henry",
"God's Gonna Ease My Troublin' Mind", and "I Saw A Man At The Close of

There are many fine recordings featuring Watson on the
Smithsonian/Folkways, Vanguard, Rounder, and Sugar Hill labels but
none are as wonderful as "The Original Folkways Recordings of Doc
Watson and Clarence Ashley: 1960-1962" and "The Doc Watson Family"
(but the live duets with Bill Monroe come damn close).

Todd A. Gracyk
Petaluma, CA

See also Lenny Bruce

At his concert in Asheville, NC, on November 1st 1997, Bob Dylan acknowledged Doc Watson's presence. His exact words were: "......." (Please tell me if you have a tape!)
Subject: Re: Asheville, Doc Watson Reference From: Seth Kulick ( Date: 5 Nov 1997 03:09:40 GMT [...] I just want to put in a plug here for Manfred's Doc Watson page: --------------------------------------------------------------- "Ballads From Deep Gap and elsewhere" Doc Watson/Woody Guthrie/ American History in Song Website at --------------------------------------------------------------- I've been told that Doc Watson has been covering Dylan's "Buckets of Rain" recently. I'd love to hear that. Dylan, of course, mentions Doc on the liner notes of World Gone Wrong as his source for "Lone Pilgrim", which he heard on an "old Doc Watson record". He's referring to one of the Watson family recordings (called "The Doc Watson Family", or something like that), from Smithsonian/Folkways, rereleased on CD a few years ago. For anyone unfamiliar with Doc, I would still recommend his first Vanguard album, titled just "Doc Watson". Go get it, put on Black Mountain Rag, and then play it again and again.... -- ------------------------------------------------------------ Seth Kulick "There are no kings inside the University of Pennsylvania gates of Eden" - Bob Dylan

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