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Folk Masters: Doc Watson

Doc Watson

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Album Review

Watson's arrival on the folk scene of the '60s was a major event in American music, due mostly to his appearance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival and the release of this self-titled album the following year. Not only did it revolutionize folk guitar picking, but it set the standard for the rest of his career with its mix of old-timey numbers, blues, gospel, and adapted fiddle tunes. The album is incredibly varied, from the stark, banjo-driven "Country Blues" to the humorous "Intoxicated Rat," and many of these songs became Watson standards, especially his signature song "Black Mountain Rag." His incredible flat-picking skills may have been what initially wowed his audiences, but it was Watson's complete mastery of the folk idiom that assured his lasting popularity.

Biography

Born: 03 March 1923 in Deep Gap, NC

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

In the latter half of the 20th century there were three pre-eminently influential folk/country guitar players: Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Arthel "Doc" Watson, a flat-picking genius from Deep Gap, North Carolina. Unlike the other two, Watson was in middle age before gaining any attention. After 1960, though, when Watson was recorded with his family and friends in Folkways' Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's, people remained in awe of this gentle blind man who sang and picked with a pure and emotional...
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