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Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012

DigiTrad:
DEEP RIVER BLUES


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Acme 29 May 12 - 08:28 PM
Bobert 29 May 12 - 08:30 PM
Richie 29 May 12 - 08:33 PM
LilyFestre 29 May 12 - 08:38 PM
Fred Maslan 29 May 12 - 08:40 PM
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Subject: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Acme
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:28 PM

Washington Post obituary:

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.'"

Doc Watson has said that when Merle died, he lost the best friend he would ever have.

He also relied on his wife, Rosa Lee, whom he married in 1947.

"She saw what little good there was in me, and there was little," Watson told the AP in 2000. "I'm awful glad she cared about me, and I'm awful glad she married me."

In a PBS NewsHour interview before a January appearance in Arlington, Va., Watson recalled his father teaching him how to play harmonica to a tune his parents had sung in church, as well as his first bus trip to New York City. Telling the stores in a folksy manner, he broke into a quiet laugh at various points. He said he still enjoyed touring.

"I love music and love a good audience and still have to make a living," Watson said. "Why would I quit?"

Musician Sam Bush, who has performed at every Merlefest, began touring with Doc and Merle Watson in 1974, occasionally substituting for Merle when he couldn't travel.

"I would sit next to Doc, and I would be influenced by his incredible timing and taste," Bush said after Watson's recent surgery. "He seems to always know what notes to play. They're always the perfect notes. He helped me learn the space between the notes (are) as valuable as the ones you play."

Bush said he was also intimidated when he began playing with the man he calls "the godfather of all flatpickers."

"But Doc puts you at ease about that kind of stuff," Bush said. "I never met a more generous kind of musician. He is more about the musical communication than showing off with hot licks."

His blindness didn't hold him back musically or at home.

Joe Newberry, a musician and spokesman for the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, remembered once when his wife called the Watson home. Rosa Lee Watson said her husband was on the roof, replacing shingles. His daughter Nancy Watson said her father built the family's utility shed.

Guitarist Pete Huttlinger of Nashville, Tenn., said Doc Watson made every song his own, regardless of its age. 'He's one of those lucky guys," said Huttlinger, who studied Watson's methods when he first picked up a guitar. "When he plays something, he puts his stamp on it — it's Doc Watson."

He changed folk music forever by adapting fiddle tunes to guitar at amazing tempos, Huttlinger said. "And people all over the place were trying to figure out how to do this," he said. "But Doc, he set the bar for everyone. He said, 'This is how it goes.' And people have been trying for years to match that.

"He took it (the guitar) out of the background and brought it upfront as a melody instrument. We're no longer at the back of the class. He gave the front to us."

Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council, said recently that Watson took southern Appalachian forms of music such as balladry, old-time string music and bluegrass, and made them accessible.

"He takes old music and puts his own creativity on it," Martin said. "It retained its core, yet it felt relevant to people today."

Said Bush: "I don't think anyone personifies what we call Americana more than Doc Watson."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:30 PM

Sniff...

R.I.P, Doc... You will never be replaced...

B~


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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
Date: 29 May 12 - 08:59 PM

Sigh....


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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: 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: 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: Elmore
Date: 29 May 12 - 09:21 PM

Condolences to the family.


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: BK Lick
Date: 29 May 12 - 10:33 PM

NY Times Obituary


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Amos
Date: 30 May 12 - 10:56 AM

Godammit. What a sad morning.

Go free, old timer; you can see clearly now.

A


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:04 AM

Doc Watson: An Old-Time Folk Musician With Soul, the 1988 interview on NPR's Fresh Air

Sorry I came very late to being aware of his music, but so glad I did get to see him in concert in Tucson.

So many people he has affected.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:07 AM

See in heaven? Doc could see more clearly with the sight in both eyes gone than many people I know with perfect vision. I heard a story about him one time, to the effect that some of Doc's neighbours criticised him for playing with Black musicians. Doc said "Hell, you're all black to me".

There'll be one heck of a session in heaven tonight with Doc and Mississippi John Hurt jamming together like long lost brothers.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:19 AM

I've just found a detailed and moving tribute to Doc in this morning's Guardian .


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: frogprince
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:23 AM

Saw Doc live just once, in Chicago, approx 1980. I remember him getting a bit "cranky", momentarily about mike placement or something on that order, but promptly resetting the mood with a bit of humor and getting on with a fine performance. The world is out one virtuoso artist and "gentleman of the old school".


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Bill D
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:24 AM

Here is Doc, playing mouth harp and singing "Amazing Grace


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,999
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:25 AM

Doc Watson was a giant. Saw him perform a few times and he was a wizard on guitar and more than able to drop into blues, country, Appalachian, bluegrass--well, his normal dozen genres, but he also knew how to rock. He wasn't precious about his place in music--the man plain and simple liked to play. The arts took a hit with his death, but his legacy is walking around all over the world of music, a world he enhanced by his participation and ability to "carry it on".


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: frogprince
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:34 AM

"...was blind, but now I see." And a little chill ran up my spine. How many shades of meaning come to mind hearing that now. I didn't realize I was going to have to reach for a hankerchief.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Coyote Breath with no cookie
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:41 AM

Roll on, buddy!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:45 AM

He brought so much joy and comfort into this mean old world.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:53 AM

Those double Vanguard albums from the seventies would definitely be in my "desert island discs" - his fingerpicking was brilliant as well as his flatpicking.

I think "Beaumont Rag" is my favourite instrumental and "Shady Grove" my favourite of Doc's songs.

Irreplaceable - RIP, Doc


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 30 May 12 - 12:11 PM

So long, Doc, and thanks for everything.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 May 12 - 12:52 PM

The most important MUSIC lesson I learned from Doc, AND HIS BANDS, the many times I saw them play was this: pick a great song and then relax on into it and let it play. Don't do it "right." And don't "do" "Doc's style"-- his style was to always be on the next wave, not whatever one we might now be trying to copy.

It's not the technique. Just DO IT and let it run its course.

That's the Real Deal. Works ever' time. :~)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 May 12 - 01:05 PM

Doc was that rare combination---a masterful technical virtuoso, a fine musician and a wonderful performer. I suspect that I would have paid to hear him sing the Bronx telephone directory---a capella.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Richie
Date: 30 May 12 - 01:14 PM

Here's Doc's version of Matty Groves:

http://bluegrassmessengers.com/matty-groves--doc-watson-nc-1966-recording.aspx

Doc was an excellent fingerpicker. If you listen to Matty Groves you'll find it amazing that he used his thumb and just his index finger- like Merle Travis.

Doc named his son, Merle for Merle Travis, just as Chet named his daughter Merle for Merle Travis.

Not many people know Doc was also a good banjo picker, he played three-finger mountain style like Charlie Poole and Doc Boggs. One time I was back-stage, no one was there, and Doc played Country Blues for me on the banjo- I'm sure Doc Boggs would have been proud.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 May 12 - 01:29 PM

So sorry, I was hoping against hope that he'd pull through...

Walk on, boy.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Taconicus
Date: 30 May 12 - 01:39 PM

I was fortunate enough to hear Doc and Merle play in a tiny coffeehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1969. I remember how proud Doc was that Merle had learned to play the banjo so quickly. Their performance that night got me interested in bluegrass music, and although I was never a good enough guitar player to handle bluegrass, Doc Watson was one of my inspirations when I later took up guitar and began performing myself.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,grover
Date: 30 May 12 - 01:47 PM

First time I heard Mr. Watson's version of Black Moutain Rag I slowed it to 16 on my record player until I could play it note for note. Took 3 solid days w/no sleep and alot of coffee. My roommates thought I was crazy. Best three days I've ever spent. THAT music lesson taught me more in learning one song than the rest of my career combined. Took MONTHS to play it clean at speed. The most difficult thing wasn't playing it clean and fast it was figuring out how he did that little 'chimes' thing in the middle of the song.

The same for Deep River Blues. The song that introduced me to jazz chords w/Travis picking combined. Everything I do as a guitar player can be traced to those two songs. Two completely different disciplines.

RIP, Mr. Watson. From just one of millions of people blessed by your existance. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 30 May 12 - 02:15 PM

I can't help but remember the song he wrote and recorded with his wife, Rosa Lee, "Long Journey."

- - - -

God's given us years of happiness here, but now we must part.
And as the angels come and call for you,
The pains of grief tug at my heart.

Oh my darling
My darling
My heart breaks as you take your long journey

- - - -

An amazing song, and so rooted in home, church, family, and place. If there was ever a more rooted man of music, I don't know who it was.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Brian May
Date: 30 May 12 - 02:16 PM

At least we had him while he was here . . . an inspiration and much appreciated in so many places.

Thanks Doc and RIP, best wishes and condolences to his family and friends.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: gnu
Date: 30 May 12 - 03:15 PM

Thanks for the tunes. RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Big Ballad Singer
Date: 30 May 12 - 04:36 PM

I was a rap/metal/alternative musical snob until the time I started working at a major bookstore chain's music department. We were allowed to take home the CDs that we played over the store PA. There was a 2-disc Doc Watson anthology in the pile, and I knew it sold at the store for a good price, so I figured I'd take it home and flip it for a few bucks at the local second-hand record shop (remember those?).

Thing is, I saw that the song titles included a few with the word "blues" in them... 'how bad could they be?' I thought.

I cued up the firs disc, and my musical life changed forever.

RIP. Mr. Watson. You deserve the rest.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Rex
Date: 30 May 12 - 04:49 PM

I am grateful to Doc for what he shared with us. Most of us that play guitar learned from him whether we know it or not. I didn't see this posted so here's a link to a remembrance from NPR.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2012/05/29/153697428/doc-watson-folk-music-icon-dies-at-89

Rex


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: bbc
Date: 30 May 12 - 05:07 PM

I was so sad to see this thread. I had the amazing good fortune to hear Doc perform at the high school just ten minutes from my home in rural New York, a few years ago. He was wonderful! Rest in peace.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Bill D
Date: 30 May 12 - 05:20 PM

Something special I found doing a search.

An hour of various Doc performances, many with Merle...and one, which I saw live, of Doc playing for the first time with Merle Travis .....at Winfield, Kans. I'd suggest right clicking 'on the title' where it says Doc Watson VI and saving to your drive. Save it and savor it.... wonderful cuts.

The cut (#8) with Merle Watson is at 17:50... (If you listen carefully, you can hear me clapping in the crowd.)

(Doc 'met' Merle when recording the Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band album, but they were never on stage together until Winfield.) I 'may' have a tape of that afternoon somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 30 May 12 - 07:02 PM

When I was a young potter I worked a summer at an old pottery shop in North Carolina named Jugtown. The owner Nancy Sweezy had worked on the Newport Folk Festivals with Ralph Rinzler. She had a great story of Ralph bringing Clarence Tom Ashley north for the show but they needed a guitarist . There was a country & western guitarist in Tom's town who knew Ashley but did not have an acoustic guitar. The story goes Ralph Rinzler lent Doc his guitar MArtin for those early sessions .

Mitch Janes of the Dillards once told me Doc took apart a Packard in his back yard. Cleaned it and got the thing back together and running ..

Great to hear all the wonderful stories here . I have been playing Rambling Hobo all week hoping against hope .. Thanks for so much Doc .. At least Merle has someone to play with now .. All the best to all here , Guy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: voyager
Date: 30 May 12 - 07:10 PM

Mudcat -

These tributes to Doc Watson are heartfelt and blessed. When this thread reaches a 1000 posts, we'll have done our 'digital bit' to pay tribute to this humble and talented man. On the turntable today -

Doc Fest
Sitting Here Picking the Blues (w/ Merle Watson)

voyager


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Alan Oakes
Date: 30 May 12 - 07:37 PM

"Weep not for me now I'm gone" – a line from one of Doc Watson's most moving songs, "Lone Pilgrim."

Doc was my good friend for 45 years. I never knew a kinder or gentler man. He saw life in a very special, simple way. Although he knew that he was a gifted singer and musician, that wasn't the way he saw himself, primarily. He was a person. To him his worth came from his interactions with friends, family and people he met in his travels. He actually did not like being famous.

In the 60s, when he was still relatively unknown, he was unable to fly from his home directly to each concert and then return – he had to be on the road. This was a wonderful thing for me. Doc would stay in my home, in Berkeley, for a few weeks whenever he performed on the West Coast. From there he would fly to Seattle or Los Angeles or wherever and then come back. I may be the luckiest man alive.

He loved engineering and physics. At nearly every visit he and I spent many hours talking about bridges, space probes, high-energy physics, high-fidelity sound systems and like that. Marnie remembers [you should see her grin as she tells me this] how pleased he was when he showed us his new watch that he could read with his fingers and which would vibrate rather than sounding an alarm.

Marnie and I went to Doc's concerts whenever he performed nearby. We would go early and visit backstage, take him to dinner, take him on walks, and so on. Some of my favorite memories: running along the beach at high speed with him in San Francisco, taking him to play with the cannon on the Cambridge common, watching him run back and forth along the huge xylophone at the De Cordova museum in Lincoln banging out notes with a stick – with a huge grin on his face, taking him to a contra dance in Peterborough, NH. I will treasure these and many other memories the rest of my life.

I'm sorry to see him go; but, I know he lived a full and rich life and he was a good and well-loved man.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: SINSULL
Date: 30 May 12 - 07:47 PM

RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: meself
Date: 30 May 12 - 07:58 PM

He was a superb harmonica player, along with everything else ....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:19 PM

Sad news, but what an amazing life!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Richie
Date: 30 May 12 - 09:29 PM

Some of my favorites of Doc's covers are:

1) Tennessee Stud
2) Intoxicated Rat
3) Rise When the Rooster Crows
4) St. James Infirmary

The way he used sound effects on the first two certainly made those arrangements unique.

I love his harmonica on Rise When the Rooster Crows. There's something about the simplicity and beauty of the song the way Doc did it.

I'm not sure but I think Doc may have changed St. James Infirmary to Am. He used a "cheater" on the third fret as I remember. Just a great arrangement.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Aicha
Date: 30 May 12 - 10:23 PM

That's really sad news. Blind from birth, multiple Grammies, NC Hall of Fame, incredible talent...he was a legend.

http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2012/05/musician-doc-watson-dies-age-89


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Cool Beans
Date: 30 May 12 - 10:45 PM

All these great stories about a great man. This is the electronic campfire, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 May 12 - 11:00 PM

Ry Cooder on his first encounter with Doc Watson

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: kendall
Date: 31 May 12 - 01:19 AM

Now he belongs to the ages, but at least we had him for a long time.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 31 May 12 - 12:11 PM

NYT Editorial | Appreciations: Doc Watson

By Verlyn Klinkenborg
May 30, 2012

In the 1960s, nearly every aspiring guitarist spent a lot of time sitting beside a record player, setting the needle on the vinyl, listening to a few bars and then trying to pick out the notes on the guitar. (Now, of course, there are apps to make this easier.) You would do this over and over and over again. With a little patience, a song would give up its secrets. And the more songs that gave up their secrets, the easier the learning became. For a lot of us young guitarists, that process came to a halt when we first heard Doc Watson, who died on Tuesday at 89.

Hearing him that first time was like standing by the railroad tracks when Casey Jones went past on his last night ride. It wasn't just Doc Watson's speed that stunned a young guitarist. It wasn't even his accuracy. It was the energy behind his flat pick. Listening to him, you could almost imagine his right arm moving like the wheel pistons on a steam locomotive. You could hear the stiffness in the strings, the subtle hammering of his pick, the cyclone of notes gathering round your head. Those old country tunes acquired an angular momentum they had never had before.

Young guitarists (this one, at least) misunderstood what they were hearing. They listened to the picking for itself, the virtuosity of a man who could bring such linear power to the intricate motions of playing guitar. Sooner or later, you realized that the music simply flowed through Doc Watson. He was a delta in himself, where all those traditional musical tributaries converged. Listening to his records, you soon figured out that there was no point picking out the notes he played bar by bar. It was time to learn how to ride the song, the way Doc Watson did.

--

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 May 12 - 02:00 PM

Owen Woodson:    ". . . some of Doc's neighbours criticised him for playing with Black musicians. Doc said 'Hell, you're all black to me.'"

I love it!!

Doc Watson was truly one of Nature's Noblemen.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,lefthanded guitar
Date: 31 May 12 - 06:48 PM

Whenver I've seen, heard or met the must superlative talents, they are always modest, unassuming, approachable, and never let their talent overshine their humanity.
That was Doc, still playing nimbly into his eighties. Rest in peace, and I hope he's riding that Tennesse Stud in the sweet by and by.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Wendy Price
Date: 31 May 12 - 08:45 PM

Fond memories of Doc's playing in the 60's. Never had the opportunity to see him in person, but he was a big influence on my early introduction to traditional music


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: TopcatBanjo
Date: 01 Jun 12 - 07:07 AM

For those in the UK (or those overseas who have worked out how to access iPlayer!) the Bob Harris Country programme on Radio 2 last night included a tribute to Doc Watson (as well as a Sara Watkins session) and is available on Listen Again until next Thursday.

Linky:

Doc Watson tribute on Bob Harris show


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: TopcatBanjo
Date: 01 Jun 12 - 07:36 AM

Re: the Bob Harris programme linked above...

Just in case you want to skip the rest of it - the show opens with a Doc song (at about 4 mins in)but the main Doc-related content comes at the end of the programme, from about 49 minutes in.

Maria


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Fred Bailey
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 12:06 PM

In 1965 a friend and I signed out on week-end passes and hitch-hiked up to Philadelphia where Doc was playing at the Main Point. The two of us had met as guitar-slingers around the barracks and we timed our arrival well before door-opening. We grabbed the tiny table just in front of the microphones and with our knees against the foot-high stage, so we could most closely observe Doc's fingers. Merle brought him on stage and got him settled. (He would re-join him him for the second set, later.) At some point during that first set, Doc finished a song and while talking to the audience, he cupped his left hand to his right, slipping his finger-picks off and into his left palm. But this routine motion rapped his left knuckles gently against the voice microphone. The T-joint of the boom-mic stand was unfortunately LOOSE. Picture the following in slow-motion. The mike immediately spun away from him. Doc said, "well I swang it right away, didn't I?" I rose to a half-crouch, grabbed the counter-weight of the mike-stand, rotated the mike back in front of his mouth, and sat down. Doc looked straight in my eyes (I swear), said "Thank you" and proceeded to change his picks and introduce the next song. I've had the willies ever since. And I never got to say "You're welcome, Doc."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 05:03 PM

It was an honor to have met Doc Watson...Rest in Peace Doc...Thank You...bob


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 07:21 PM

Conversations with Doc Watson
Seven-time Grammy Award-winner Doc Watson has appeared with David Holt several times on UNC-TV. Portions of those earlier shows and a new interview are combined as a retrospective of Doc's life and career. From humble beginnings in the mountains of North Carolina, Doc has built a world-wide reputation as a powerful singer and masterful guitar player. But he has never left his roots, preferring to let his influence spread quietly through his music. In doing so, he has become one of our nation's musical treasures.

A video online from the Folkways series at UNC-TV.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: topical tom
Date: 04 Jun 12 - 03:39 PM

Another music giant gone. There will be top flat picking in Heaven. RIP, Doc. Your musicwill be eternal. Thanks for the great music you left us.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: ollaimh
Date: 05 Jun 12 - 11:37 AM

one of my first albums was doc watson sings songs for children. i've loved his music ever since. he did an unforgetable version of "the cat came back".

he wasn't necessarily the fastest or technically best guitarist and singer, but he was the absolute best at arrangement and phrasing. when he did a song you know that was the way it was meant to be done.

he will be missed but we are lucky to have a great legacy of recordings. my recent favourite is a cd i found in a second hand store with him and bill munroe doing twenty old time standards, some of the best picking and singing i've ever heard.

just to put in a plug for a local guy the only other flatpicking guitarist i have evr heard who i like as much is eddy poirier. anyone interested in jigs and reels on flatpicked guitar should not miss his album "candlelight hornpipe" a real treasure


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 05 Jun 12 - 03:14 PM

I made my first trip to the States, in 1998, specifically to hear Doc Watson play, at Burlington VT.

At that time I figured he couldn't have long to go, so I'd best catch him while I could. I was totally knocked out by his performance, and by his rapport with the audience. Little did I know that he would go on playing and singing superlatively for another 12 - 13 years ...

It is simply miraculous that he continued as active as he did for as long as he did, and although we all grieve, we could not, in all conscience, have asked for any more from the man than he was allowed to give.

R. I. P.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Jun 12 - 04:17 PM

The UNC Southern Folklife Collection posted a link on Facebook to a recording of Doc at age 18 -- maybe the first ever recording, in the digital collections of Appalachian State University:

Featuring an in-depth introduction by Dr. Abrams, listen to a young Doc Watson perform "Precious Jewel."

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Doc Watson 1923 - 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 11:55 PM

Remembering Doc Watson
by Frank Stasio and Susan Davis
WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
Wednesday, June 13 2012
Doc Watson's virtuosic guitar playing changed bluegrass music forever. He brought the guitar out from behind the banjo and fiddle and set the bar for acoustic musicians. His career took off with the folk revival of the 1950s and remained vital until his death last month. Now the Deep Gap, North Carolina native will forever be an icon of mountain music. Host Frank Stasio is joined by a panel of experts including, Robert Cantwell, Townsend Luddington Professor of American Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of the book "When We Were Good: The Folk Revival" (Harvard University Press/1997); Kent Gustavson, author of "Was Blind, But Now I See: The Biography of Music Legend Doc Watson" (Blowing Twigs Books/2010); and Art Menius, the director of The ArtsCenter in Carrboro and the former associate festival coordinator of Merlefest for almost two decades. Also on the program will be musicians Danny Gotham, Jim Collier and Joe Newberry who will play some of Doc's music and songs from Doc's legacy.

Audio (streaming or mp3 download) is available at the top link.

Will have to look for the biography.

~ Becky in Tucson


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