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The Definitive

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Editors’ Notes

The 34 songs on the two discs of The Definitive Doc Watson give a sense of the breadth and depth of this legendary folk musician’s hugely influential output. Producer Fred Jasper includes both signature tunes and neglected gems from Watson’s catalog, providing a well-rounded survey of his work as a singer, instrumentalist, and composer. The first part opens with a brace of live recordings from the early '60s, including a compelling take of “The House Carpenter,” a masterful version of “St. Louis Blues,” and an aching reading of “The Wagoner’s Lad.” Doc’s guitarist son Merle shares the spotlight on such ‘60s studio highlights as “Little Sadie,” “Dream of the Miner’s Child,” and “Matty Groves.” Side Two’s renditions of “My Rough and Rowdy Ways” and “The Wreck of the Number Nine” underscore Watson’s influence on modern country music, while the fast and fluent picking on “Listening to the Rain” and “Greenville Trestle High” (featuring Sam Bush, Mark O’Connor, Bela Fleck, and other notables) catches him in a bluegrass mode. For Watson collectors and newcomers alike, this collection is a must-have.

Customer Reviews

Just What The Doc Ordered!

Love you Doc. Timeless Americana music with soul. It doesn't get any better than this! Perfect for cruising down that country road with the window down.


Born: March 3, 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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