Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Doc Watson, R.I.P.

 "Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Levon Helm in the same year is just too, too much."
- Rosanne Cash

You may not realize it, especially if you don't spend much of your time listening to folk music, but Doc Watson was an infuence on just about everyone. He was a pioneer; a musician's musician.

As my friend and one time bandmate John P. put it, "A pillar of my musical world has passed. It was a privilege to have known him. Rest in peace Doc."

My friend JB also shared this:

"Doc played electric guitar in a dance band early in his career. They didn't have a fiddle player so he learned to play the leads on his Les Paul, which got him on the road to his blistering fast flatpicking style. He was Americana long before anybody coined the phrase.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Doc Watson a couple of times, in 1988 at the first Merlefest and again in 2001. An amazing musician and a nice man."

Another great loss for the music world.

The two short audio clips were provided by JB. The first is just Doc and his harp. The second is 40 seconds of guitar fire with Doc and Marty Stuart.


iggy said...

Gotta share one first-person Doc story. I was at Merle Fest awaiting the start of the guitar picking competition. All the contestants waited backstage as the master of ceremonies introduced Doc and asked Doc to pick a tune on the new guitar that would go to the winner. Following Doc's virtuoso performance, the MC called for contestant number one. After a lengthy delay, the MC returned and announced that "Contestant number one has lit out the back door. Apparently he thought Doc was contestant number one." To which Doc replied: "I feel right sorry for that ole boy." Pretty well sums up the man and his talent.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever posted Doc's stuff here before? If not, why now? Bloggers seem to rush to catch the wave whenever these great legends pass away. Cynical? Maybe, but don't think so.

Sal Nunziato said...

@ Anon (and it's always anonymous when someone has something negative to say, isn't it?)

No, I guess I hadn't posted anything from Doc before. But would you have preferred I posted nothing? The fact that I recognized the talent and the legend should count for something.

Many celebrities have passed--- actors, sports figures, politicians. They haven't graced these pages.

This is a place for music. Friends who are fans of Doc Watson passed on info to me, and I passed it on through my blog.

Thanks for stopping by.

JB said...

Sorry about that Sal, I didn't know the Purity Police would come knocking on your door. FWIW a lot of musicians who get mentioned on BW have been invited to appear at Merlefest. Good music is the common thread, and it is also why music fans of broad and eclectic tastes like to congregate here.

So I "rushed" to share my Doc story and music with you. Thanks for sharing it with the readers.

For anyone who is interested, the NYT obit is extensive and illuminating.

Anonymous said...

There's a site '365 Bands in 365 Days'. The last 4 days have featured Derek Trucks, The Handsome Family, Amos Lee and Rory Gallagher. There have been over 400 entries so far. And she still hasn't got round to Doc Watson! I hope Anonymous takes appropriate action when the inevitable happens.
Thank you, Willard, for all you do.
Call me anonymous2. (we're not all cowards; just lazy)

Sal Nunziato said...

Thanks for getting my back, Anon2. But Willard's over at the other place.


Anonymous said...

yup. lazy AND stupid. Sorry, SAL. Thanks for all you do too

Unknown said...

Hi Sal,
I really enjoy reading your blog and look forward to your insights. What you write about is your choice and it is what makes this blog yours. Critics are a part of life. Damned if you do , damned if you don't.