Anyone have some good Doc Watson stories?
I've seen Doc Watson about 40 times. He passed away yesterday and I need some bluegrass fan fellowship.
You were a big fan, then, seeing him about 40 times. You know more than I could tell you, but I did hear an interesting 1989 interview on NPR a few days after his passing. Doc Watson talked about his first instrument (other than the harmonica he played), when at 11 years old his father made Doc his first banjo. He talked about the difficulty in learning to play as he couldn't see his father's hands. He said he had an innate musical talent, that as he became accustomed to the instrument, he let the sound guide him. He also spoke about his experiences with early electric guitars, the awkward difficulty in playing them and how, once he picked up an accoustic, he rarely played the electric anymore.
Doc Watson talked to the NPR interviewer about the fact he would have preferred a career that kept him at home. He didn't like the travelling involved with playing music. Although, he said he would definitely play music, if he'd had his eyesight, he would have wanted to be a carpenter or electrician and spend every evening at home.
Amy thanks for sharing that. I missed the NPR story that day. Hope it's archived.
I don't think Doc's handicap held him back much. He played with a lot younger pickers because of Merle his son (who passed away in 1985). He didn't care what Sam Bush's hair looked like he just knew this kid was some kind of picker. I think Doc really helped bridge the gap between the original Grand Ole Opry gang and the young musicians of the time.
I am in Boone a few years back. I stop for gas and go in the station. There is a bass and banjo behind a case of guns. I asked the guy if he plays. "No but my son does. Not that I never could have learned. Merle was one of my best buddies." That's Merle Watson, Doc's son that passed away in 1985. He went on to say he would get Merle to put the "damn" guitar down to go hunting or fishing. He then says he was over at Doc's house the other day and Doc was wiring his house. Doc on a ladder asks "Hey Son, is this a red wire or white wire."
Now Doc was completely blind but not only did choirs around his house he worked in his daddy's saw mill when he was young.
Wow, I knew I wouldn't have any info to compare with what you already knew, as a big time fan. Doc sounded like a fascinating, determined person, who dealt with a terrible tragedy in losing his eyesight as a baby, in a positive, straightforward way.
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