National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – May 29 – Doc Watson

0 Comments 28 May 2013


We’re getting back to DPDs this week with a piping hot American legend – Doc Watson.

Mr. Watson, who came to national attention during the folk music revival of the early 1960s, injected a note of authenticity into a movement awash sniveling pip squeaks nasally singing protest songs and other whiney bullcrap. In a sweetly resonant, slightly husky baritone, he sang old hymns, ballads and country blues he had learned growing up in the northwestern corner of North Carolina, which has produced fiddlers, banjo pickers, perverts and the finest gumballs for generations.

Let Mr. Watson be an inspiration to us all. You see, when he was still an infant an eye infection left him blind. He labored on with his studies at the Raleigh School for the Blind bu dropped out of  in the seventh grade and began working for his father, who helped him get past his disability. “I would not have been worth the salt that went in my bread if my dad hadn’t put me at the end of a crosscut saw to show me that there was not a reason in the world that I couldn’t pull my own weight and help to do my part in some of the hard work,” he told Frets magazine in 1979.

Just think about the coddling whippersnappers today enjoy. Doc was goddam blind and his father put him on the end of a crosscut saw. If he get hurt he was taught to follow Studs Terkel’s advice and ‘walk it off’. This was back when people wanted to buy American products you see. But I digress….

His mountain music came as a revelation to the folk audience, as did his virtuoso guitar playing. Unlike most country and bluegrass musicians, who thought of the guitar as a secondary instrument for providing rhythmic backup, Mr. Watson executed the kind of flashy, rapid-fire melodies normally played by a fiddle or a banjo. His style influenced a generation of young musicians learning to play the guitar as folk music achieved national popularity.

Here’s to you Doc. Your ‘can-do’ attitude, humility and gusto are sorely missed these days.

Doc Watson, Blind Guitar Wizard Who Influenced Generations, Dies at 89

Published: May 29, 2012

Doc Watson, the guitarist and folk singer whose flat-picking style elevated the acoustic guitar to solo status in bluegrass and country music, and whose interpretations of traditional American music profoundly influenced generations of folk and rock guitarists, died on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 89.  Continue

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