Two for Tuesday: Doc Watson

I’ve been listening to the Tommy Emmanuel channel on Pandora, and keep hearing different guitarists playing “Windy and Warm,” a John D. Loudermilk tune most associated with Arthel “Doc” Watson, so I thought it would be good to feature him today. Blind since before his first birthday, he was given the nickname “Doc” after Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes’s companion. He first became well-known during the folk boom of the 1960’s. His recording of “Tennessee Stud” on the 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken revived his career and he and son Merle performed as a trio with bassist T. Michael Coleman from 1973 until Merle’s death in a tractor accident in 1985. He has been honored by the National Bluegrass Hall of Fame (2000), his home state of North Carolina in 1986 (the North Carolina Award) and 1994 (the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award), and was awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1997 and received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 2000. He died on May 29, 2012.

Doc was proficient in both fingerstyle and flatpick style guitar, and the two songs today show examples of each. First is the aforementioned “Windy and Warm,”
showing his fingerstyle playing.

The second tune is “Black Mountain Rag,” demonstrating his flatpicking. I have no idea who the second guitarist is; if anyone knows, let me know.

Doc Watson, your Two for Tuesday, December 10, 2013.