Doc Watson - vocals, guitar; Merle Watson - vocals, guitar; Michael Coleman - bass, vocals; Cliff Miller - guitar
Blind musician Doc Watson (who plays everything from guitar to mandolin to banjo to harmonica), and his son, Merle, began touring together in the late 1960s, bringing a rich blend of acoustic music that encompasses country, blues, bluegrass, and folk. This show, one of two performances recorded at the legendary Bottom Line club in New York City, features several excellent examples of Doc Watson's ability to play both with a flat pick and with his fingers, "pickin' style."
Opening with "Way Downtown" and sliding into "Doggone My Time," the two guitarists (with the assistance of upright bassist Michael Coleman and guitarist Cliff Miller) bring home some solid versions of American song standards such as Cole Porter's "Summertime" and "Sweet Georgia Brown," better known as the theme for the Harlem Globetrotters. Other highlights include, "Lonesome Road Blues" and "Peach Pickin' Time In Georgia."
Doc Watson today is in his 80s, and remains one of the last remaining American musical treasures from the early era of country and bluegrass. Born in 1923 in North Carolina, Arthel Lane Watson lost his eyesight to a childhood illness at age one. After attending schools for the visually impaired, he learned to play the guitar during the depression and started performing in the late 1930s, playing his own interpretation of the country music acts like the Carter Family had spearheaded. One day, while he was about to perform on a radio broadcast during the 1930s, the announcer told him his legal name was too difficult to pronounce. He told him to pick an easier name, and someone at the station suggested "Doc Watson," a reference to the sidekick in the Sherlock Holmes novels. The name has stuck ever since. Doc Watson continues to record and tour, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy in 2004. Tragically, his son Merle was killed in 1985 in a farming accident.