The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #146252   Message #3386439
Posted By: GUEST,Kent Gustavson
05-Aug-12 - 12:00 PM
Thread Name: Ralph Rinzler, Doc Watson & authenticity
Subject: RE: Ralph Rinzler, Doc Watson & authenticity
I have enjoyed watching these posts. I just wanted to chime in with a couple of things:

1. I don't think my biography is a hagiography, or muddy, but I will take the criticism on the chin :) If you would like to offer more specific constructive criticism, I would appreciate it, and will do my best to integrate your suggestions into the next edition... Just contact me off list.
2. I do not in any way bring down Ralph Rinzler in my book. Quite the opposite. I was able to, for the first time, really clarify what happened when Rinzler "discovered" Doc in 1960. I sourced Rinzler's own college notebook that he used to take notes in the original session with Ashley. I also spoke with countless friends of Rinzler, including Jean Ritchie, Mike Seeger, John Cohen and many others... He was an incredible figure, and I am in awe of his talents, and his contribution. His death was a real loss to traditional music and cultural studies...
3. I believe, personally, that Rinzler brought out the best in Doc. However, the discussion about authenticity is a good one. And that is why I discussed it in the book. You will see, by reading liner notes of Southbound (written by Doc) that Doc felt he had to be apologetic to his audience for straying from purely mountain music... I found a letter in Rinzler's archives that was written to Doc by Rinzler, and lectured him on how he would lose his audience if he played more contemporary tunes.

The job of a biographer is not to take a position, but to present all of the facts and reality of what happened from all perspectives, not just the subject's... I did my best to do that. If you read the book and disagree, I will certainly take your comments to heart and work to make the next edition better!

All the best to you all,
Kent Gustavson
Author of Blind but Now I See