A pioneer of the flatpicking guitar style that would later influence such six-string notables as Clarence White and Jerry Garcia, Arthel “Doc” Watson was also considered to be a living encyclopedia of traditional American folk songs. This 1973 collection shows the full range of his incredible skills, both as vocalist and instrumentalist. During the folk revival of the early to mid-’60s, Watson’s spare takes on Appalachian mountain songs were a welcomed slice of real Americana, represented here with tracks like “Tom Dooley” and “Alberta.” Moving from pure folk interpretations to small-combo bluegrass, Watson (almost always with son Merle in tow) created warm and flawless versions of “Shady Grove” and “Handsome Molly.” Equal parts relaxed and then fiercely propulsive and technical, Watson’s music is a firm reminder of the great power and soul of folk music.
Born: March 3, 1923 in Deep Gap, NC
Years Active: ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s
In the latter half of the 20th century there were three pre-eminently influential…