Doc Watson - vocals, guitar; Merle Watson - vocals, guitar; Michael Coleman - bass, vocals; Cliff Miller - guitar
Arthel "Doc" Watson, one of the most acclaimed bluegrass musicians in America, has spent the last seven decades on the road performing his distinct blend of country, bluegrass, blues, and folk music on nearly every stringed instrument he could get his fingers around. He began touring in the 1960s with his son, Merle, and the duo worked with the help of an upright bass and another guitarist, as they did on this, the second of two shows recorded in 1977 at New York's Bottom Line club.
Featuring a repertoire that included such bluegrass faves as "Curly Headed Baby" and "Rock Salt And Nails," Watson is a living testament to traditional American music—the sounds that built this nation in our developing decades. He closes the 30-minute set with his memorable version of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken," which became famous after he performed it as part of the album of the same name by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1973.
Doc Watson 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 in the station suggested "Doc Watson," a reference to the sidekick in the Sherlock Holmes novels. The name has stuck ever since.
He continues to record and tour, although his son Merle was tragically killed in a farming accident in 1985. Doc recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy.