I absolutely love this title… When looking through the volumes and volumes of Doc Watson records and recordings this is one of my favorite songs and collections, and it instantly grabbed me… It is a great place to start… and has some nice live recordings as well.
Doc Watson – Midnight On The Stormy Deep
Ahhh, American music. It is so rich. It has deep tradition and roots, and has birthed some of the most enduring genres… blues, jazz and Rock n’ Roll.
On May 29, 2012 the world of music lost a legend and a true ambassador.
The following is from Wikipedia…
Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson ”was an American guitarist, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk,country, blues and gospel music. Watson won seven Grammy awards as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Watson’s flatpicking skills and knowledge of traditional American music are highly regarded. He performed with his son Merle for over 15 years until Merle’s death in 1985, in an accident on the family farm.”
I have really loved going back and listening, as it has been a while since I have really sat down with his music. It is so simple, but so deep and pure… and when you hear his playing… not that simple at all.
Despite a life filled with tragedy, he always had a sense of humor. I can totally hear Arlo Guthrie doing “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” when I hear “Doc’s Tune”.
Wikipedia talks about the beginnings…
“Watson was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina. According to Watson on his three-CD biographical recording Legacy, he got the nickname “Doc” during a live radio broadcast when the announcer remarked that his given name Arthel was odd and he needed an easy nickname. A fan in the crowd shouted “Call him Doc!” presumably in reference to the literary character Sherlock Holmes’s sidekick Doctor Watson. The name had stuck ever since.
An eye infection caused Doc Watson to lose his vision before his first birthday. Despite this, he was taught by his parents to work hard and care for himself. He attended North Carolina’s school for the visually impaired, The Governor Morehead School, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In a 1989 radio interview with host Terry Gross on the Fresh Air show of National Public Radio (NPR), Watson explains how he got his first guitar. His father told him that if he and his brother (David Watson) chopped down all the small, dead, chestnut trees along the edge of their field, he could sell the wood to the tannery and make money. The brothers did the work and Watson bought a $10 Stella guitar from Sears Roebuck while his brother bought a new suit. Later in that same interview, Watson explained that his first high quality guitar was a Martin Guitar D-18.
Watson’s earliest influences were the roots of country, including the Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers. The first song he learned to play on the guitar was “When Roses Bloom in Dixieland”, first recorded by the Carter Family in 1930. Watson stated in an interview with American Songwriter that, “Jimmy Rodgers was the first man that I started to claim as my favorite.” Watson proved to be a natural musical talent and within months was performing on local street corners playing songs from the Delmore Brothers, Louvin Brothers, and Monroe Brothers alongside his brother Linny. By the time Watson reached adulthood, he had become a proficient acoustic and electric guitar player.”
Music has been hit hard as of late, so we really must take stock in what we have and celebrate it every day. Let us never forget all who have come before… the ground they have laid, the gin joints and road houses they have played, the path they have made and all the love and music they gave. Amen.