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Doc Watson – Career Retrospective Boxed Set

New Boxed Set Doc Watson

Photo: Listening Through The Lens

NEW CAREER-SPANNING COLLECTION CELEBRATES THE MUSIC OF DOC WATSON

Out November 12 From Craft Recordings

Craft Recordings has announced the release of Life’s Work: A Retrospective—a new, career-spanning collection that celebrates the life, music and enduring influence of the iconic guitar virtuoso Doc Watson.

In stores and on digital platforms on November 12, the box set includes 101 tracks from the legendary roots artist, including collaborations with Alison Krauss, Chet Atkins, Bill Monroe and Ricky Skaggs. The collection also features Watson’s work with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, as well as his prolific musical partnership with his son, Merle.

Accompanying the four-CD set is an 88-page book, featuring extensive new liner notes by Grammy-nominated author and compilation co-producer Ted Olson.  

Born and raised in Deep Gap, North Carolina, Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson (1923–2012) was born into an extended family of musicians who were masters of the traditional ballads, fiddle tunes and hymns of Appalachia. Watson, who lost his vision as a toddler, began playing the guitar as a child, earning the nickname “Doc” at a local talent competition.

In his 30s, he gained valuable experience in a country dance band, often performing the fast-paced, lead fiddle parts on guitar, a signature technique that he brought to his solo work. His incomparable fingerpicking and flat-picking skills influenced generations of artists, while his wide-open ears led him to incorporate jazz, blues, country and pop music influences, a sensibility that coalesced into what he called “traditional plus.” He was also renowned for his harmonica and banjo playing, and his soulful baritone voice (especially on an a cappella ballad such as “Talk About Suffering”).

 

Resonant and pitch-perfect vocals, his extensive repertoire of traditional and commercial music, and his comforting and lively stage presence [made him] a complete performer [who] proved himself proficient as the proverbial one-man-band.” 

Ted Olson

Despite his talents, however, Watson didn’t gain wide acclaim until his 40s, following several pivotal events. The first was a genre-defining folk concert at Greenwich Village’s P.S. 41, followed by a pair of awe-inspiring performances at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. A year later, he released his solo debut. The self-titled album was released on Vanguard Records, a New York-based label with classical roots which at the time was emerging as a force in folk music, its roster including Joan Baez, The Rooftop Singers and Buffy Sainte-Marie. The album found Watson interpreting a variety of folk, country and blues songs—many of which would become standards for the artist—including the Dorsey Dixon/Wade Mainer tune “Intoxicated Rat,” Dock Boggs’ “Country Blues” and the traditional “Black Mountain Rag.”

Watson would go on to release several classic albums with Vanguard in the beginning of his career, which would help to establish him as one of the most influential folk artists of his time. These early years of fame found Watson inspiring a wide range of artists, including Baez, Jerry Garcia, Ry Cooder, Stephen Stills and Peter, Paul and Mary. 

Although the folk revival began to wane by the end of the 1960s, Watson found a new fanbase through his participation on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken.  The highly influential title paired the country rockers with an older generation of bluegrass and country artists, including Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Maybelle Carter and Merle Travis. Watson’s rendition of Jimmy Driftwood’s “Tennessee Stud” became a breakout hit.

Watson’s career cannot be summed up without the mention of his son and longtime collaborator, Merle. Born Eddy Merle Watson (and named for Merle Travis), the younger artist not only shared his father’s uncanny talents on the guitar but was also integral in helping Doc build a wider following. The duo—who later performed in a trio setting with bassist T. Michael Coleman—began their musical partnership when Merle was just a teenager and went on to record more than a dozen albums together. Tragically, their incredible run ended in 1985 when a 36-year-old Merle lost his life in a tractor accident. (Watson honored his son’s memory by founding MerleFest, an influential music festival in Wilkesboro, North Carolina that attracts about 75,000 fans from around the world).  In his later years, Watson continued the family musical tradition by touring with Merle’s son, Richard, with whom he recorded the Grammy -nominated album Third Generation Blues.

While Watson died in 2012 at the age of 89, he lived to see the incredible impact of his work. Among his many honors are

  • the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts
  • the National Medal of Arts
  • an inductee in the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame
  • eight Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement.  

TRACK LISTING

CD Box Set

Disc 1

1. The Precious Jewel*

2. Pharaoh – The Jack Williams Band with Doc Watson

3. I Saw A Man At The Close Of Day

4. Rambling Hobo

5. Darling Corey

6. Your Long Journey

7. The Cuckoo Bird 

8. Everyday Dirt

9. Doc’s Guitar (Tickling The Strings)/Black Mountain Rag

10. Storms Are On The Ocean – Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson

11. What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul – Bill Monroe & Doc Watson

12. And Am I Born To Die

13. My Little Woman, You’re So Sweet

14. Little Orphan Girl

15. Wanted Man 

16. Sitting On Top Of The World 

17. Intoxicated Rat 

18. Country Blues

19. Talk About Suffering 

20. Little Omie Wise 

21. St. James Hospital 

22. Tom Dooley 

23. Beaumont Rag – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

24. Muskrat – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

25. Weary Blues – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

26. We Shall All Be Reunited – Doc Watson & Merle Watson 

Disc 2

1. Southbound

2. Blue Railroad Train

3. Walk On Boy

4. Sweet Georgia Brown

5. Alberta 

6. That Was The Last Thing On My Mind

7. Windy And Warm

8. Riddle Song

9. Georgie

10. Rain Crow Bill

11. Winter’s Night

12. Matty Groves

13. Dill Pickle Rag

14. Willie Moore – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

15. Peach Picking Time In Georgia

16. Memphis Blues

17. The Train That Carried My Girl From Town

18. Lost John – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

19. Brown’s Ferry Blues – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

20. The Clouds Are Gwine To Roll Away – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

21. Life Gits Teejus Don’t It – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

22. Banks Of The Ohio – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

23. Spikedriver Blues – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

24. Deep River Blues – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson 

Disc 3

1. Nothing To It – Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs with Doc Watson

2. Streamlined Cannonball – Earl Scruggs with Doc Watson

3. Tennessee Stud – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

4. Way Downtown – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

5. Freight Train Boogie 

6. Summertime

7. Peace In The Valley 

8. That’s All – Doc & Merle Watson

9. Match Box Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

10. Bottle Of Wine – Doc & Merle Watson

11. Corrina, Corrina – Doc & Merle Watson 

12. Doc’s Rag – Doc & Merle Watson

13. Poor Boy Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

14. Wake Up, Little Maggie

15. Peartree

16. Shady Grove

17. Miss The Mississippi And You

18. Steel Guitar Rag

19. Cypress Grove Blues 

20. Wayfaring Stranger – Doc & Merle Watson

21. Look Up, Look Down That Lonesome Road – Doc & Merle Watson

22. Minglewood Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

23. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Doc & Merle Watson

24. Let The Cocaine Be – Doc & Merle Watson 

25. Don’t Monkey ’Round My Widder – Chet Atkins & Doc Watson 

Disc 4

1. Red Rocking Chair – Doc & Merle Watson with T. Michael Coleman

2. John Hurt – Doc & Merle Watson with T. Michael Coleman

3. Below Freezing – Doc & Merle Watson with T. Michael Coleman

4. Along The Road – Doc & Merle Watson with T. Michael Coleman

5. Liza/Lady Be Good – Doc & Merle Watson

6. Going To Chicago Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

7. Guitar Polka – Doc & Merle Watson

8. Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar – Doc & Merle Watson

9. Bright Sunny South – Doc & Merle Watson

10. Twin Sisters – Doc & Merle Watson

11. How Long Blues – Doc & Merle Watson with James Cotton

12. Freight Train Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

13. Riding That Midnight Train

14. What Does The Deep Sea Say?

15. Tough Luck Man

16. George Gudger’s Overalls

17. Risin’ Sun Blues

18. Salt Creek – Norman Blake & Tony Rice

19. You Must Come In At The Door

20. Your Lone Journey

21. Grandfather’s Clock

22. Bird Dog

23. Turn The Lamps Down Low – Doc & Richard Watson

24. Nights In White Satin – Doc Watson with Frosty Morn

25. Down In The River To Pray – Doc Watson with Alison Krauss & Ricky Skaggs

26. Amazing Grace *Previously Unreleased

Digital

1. The Precious Jewel*

2. Pharaoh – The Jack Williams Band with Doc Watson

3. I Saw A Man At The Close Of Day

4. Rambling Hobo

5. Darling Corey

6. Your Long Journey

7. The Cuckoo Bird

8. Everyday Dirt

9. Doc’s Guitar (Tickling The Strings)/Black Mountain Rag

10. Storms Are On The Ocean – Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson

11. What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul – Bill Monroe & Doc Watson

12. And Am I Born To Die

13. My Little Woman, You’re So Sweet

14. Little Orphan Girl

15. Wanted Man

16. Sitting On Top Of The World

17. Intoxicated Rat

18. Country Blues

19. Talk About Suffering

20. Little Omie Wise

21. St. James Hospital

22. Tom Dooley

23. Beaumont Rag – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

24. Muskrat – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

25. Weary Blues – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

26. We Shall All Be Reunited – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

27. Southbound

28. Blue Railroad Train

29. Walk On Boy

30. Sweet Georgia Brown

31. Alberta

32. That Was The Last Thing On My Mind

33. Windy And Warm

34. Riddle Song

35. Georgie

36. Rain Crow Bill

37. Winter’s Night

38. Matty Groves

39. Dill Pickle Rag

40. Willie Moore – Doc Watson & Merle Watson

41. Peach Picking Time In Georgia

42. Memphis Blues

43. The Train That Carried My Girl From Town

44. Lost John – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

45. Brown’s Ferry Blues – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

46. The Clouds Are Gwine To Roll Away – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

47. Life Gits Teejus, Don’t It – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

48. Banks Of The Ohio – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

49. Spikedriver Blues – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

50. Deep River Blues – Doc Watson featuring Merle Watson

51. Nothing To It – Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs with Doc Watson

52. Streamlined Cannonball – Earl Scruggs with Doc Watson

53. Tennessee Stud – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

54. Way Downtown – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

55. Freight Train Boogie

56. Summertime

57. Peace In The Valley

58. That’s All – Doc & Merle Watson

59. Match Box Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

60. Bottle Of Wine – Doc & Merle Watson

61. Corrina, Corrina – Doc & Merle Watson

62. Doc’s Rag – Doc & Merle Watson

63. Poor Boy Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

64. Wake Up, Little Maggie

65. Peartree

66. Shady Grove

67. Miss The Mississippi And You

68. Steel Guitar Rag

69. Cypress Grove Blues

70. Wayfaring Stranger – Doc & Merle Watson

71. Look Up, Look Down That Lonesome Road – Doc & Merle Watson

72. Minglewood Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

73. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Doc & Merle Watson

74. Let The Cocaine Be – Doc & Merle Watson 

75. Don’t Monkey ‘Round My Widder – Chet Atkins & Doc Watson

76. Red Rocking Chair – Doc & Merle Watson with T. Michael Coleman

77. John Hurt – Doc & Merle Watson with T. Michael Coleman

78. Below Freezing – Doc & Merle Watson with T. Michael Coleman

79. Along The Road – Doc & Merle Watson with T. Michael Coleman

80. Liza/Lady Be Good – Doc & Merle Watson

81. Going To Chicago Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

82. Guitar Polka – Doc & Merle Watson

83. Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar – Doc & Merle Watson

84. Bright Sunny South – Doc & Merle Watson

85. Twin Sisters – Doc & Merle Watson

86. How Long Blues – Doc & Merle Watson with James Cotton

87. Freight Train Blues – Doc & Merle Watson

88. Riding That Midnight Train

89. What Does The Deep Sea Say?

90. Tough Luck Man

91. George Gudger’s Overalls

92. Risin’ Sun Blues

93. Salt Creek – Norman Blake & Tony Rice

94. You Must Come In At The Door

95. Your Lone Journey

96. Grandfather’s Clock

97. Bird Dog 

98. Turn The Lamps Down Low – Doc & Richard Watson

99. Nights In White Satin – Doc Watson with Frosty Morn

100. Down In The River To Pray – Doc Watson with Alison Krauss & Ricky Skaggs

101. Amazing Grace 

*Previously Unreleased

OFFICIAL SITE

ADVERTISE WITH LISTENING THROUGH THE LENS

More Music Adventures Await!

***

New Boxed Set Doc Watson

New Boxed Set Doc Watson

New Boxed Set Doc Watson

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Author: Rob Dickens

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