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Doc Watson - recordings

Books - DVD - Recordings - CDs -Equipment

You will find various information for each song listed. It may be in depth comments on the recording of the song (but there at not too many of these). You may find reference to CDs including the recording, books and videos where it is included, information on guitar tuning, key, chord progressions, etc. But for some, you will find nothing but the title. It all depends on how much information I have on this specific recording. (You can help me improve this by sending information.)

"Compositions" are only listed when they are recorded by other artists than the composer or when there is no reference to a specific recording (and "recording artist" is given as "Standard".)

Arthel 'Doc' Watson revolutionized flatpicking guitar. If one should name the most influential guitarist in modern flatpicking, there is no doubt that this must be Doc Watson.

He began playing at age 13, on a Stella guitar. When he was 17, he replaced his Stella with a Silvertone.He bought his first Martin, a D-28 in 1940, which cannot be very long after he bought his Silvertone. The music store gave him one year to pay it off, and Doc started to perform at the streets to earn the money. This was the start of his performing career, and he got invited to amateur contests and fiddler conventions.

At 18 he got his nickname Doc, when playing in a radio show and the announcer thought that Arthel was too long. A woman in the audience said "Call him Doc", and since that he has been Doc Watson.

When he started his professional career, he was playing electric guitar in a country and western swing band Jack Williams and the Country Gentlemen. He had tried to learn to play fiddle, but got very frustrated and gave it up. But he liked the fiddle-tunes, and started to play them on guitar. He had installed a pick-up on his Martin D-28, but eventually he traded it in for a Gibson Les Paul Standard. During the folk-revival, he transfered his licks to acoustic guitar.

When Ralph Rinzler came to record Doc Watson after hearing him play with Clarence Ashley, Doc Watson did not own an acoustic guitar. He suggested that he could play his Les Paul with volumen turned down. But Ralph Rinzler did not like the idea, and Doc Watson made his first recording on a borrowed Martin D-18.

His breakthrough came when he was invited to play at Newport Folk Festival, where he played in 1963 and 1964. Doc Watson eventually got himself a Martin D-18, which was used on his first Vanguard albums. In 1968 he switched to a Gallagher guitar, and has been playing Gallagher ever since.

Recordings by Doc Watson

  • Amazing Grace - 14068
  • Banks Of The Ohio - 14069
  • Bill Cheatham - 15600
  • Black Mountain Rag - 15584
  • Blackberry Rag - 15585
  • Blue Ridge Mountain - 15586
  • Brown's Dream - 14070
  • Carroll County Blues - 14071
  • Chilly Winds (Lonesome Road Blues) - 14072
  • Cluck Old Hen - 14073
  • The Coo-Coo Bird - 14106
  • Crawdad Song - 14074
  • Cumberland Gap - 14075
  • Daniel Prayed - 14076
  • Deep River Blues - 15652
  • Devil's Dream - 15591
  • Doc's Guitar - 15587
  • Doc's Rag - 15253
  • Don't Let Your Deal Go Down - 15588
  • Down Yonder - 15589
  • Fire On The Mountain - 14077
  • Fisher's Hornpipe - 15590
  • Footprints In The Snow - 14078
  • Free Little Bird - 14079
  • Freight Train Blues - 15592
  • God's Gonna Ease My Troublin' Mind - 14080
  • Handsome Molly - 14081
  • Hick's Farewell - 14082
  • Honey Babe Blues - 14083
  • Humpbacked Mule - 14084
  • I Am A Pilgrim - 15593
  • I Heard My Mother Weeping - 15594
  • I Saw A Man At The Close Of Day - 14085
  • I'm Going Back To Jericho - 14086
  • I'm Sitting On Top Of The World - 14087
  • John Henry - 14088
  • Lee Highway Blues - 14089
  • Little Sadie - 14090
  • Looking T'ward Heaven - 14091
  • Maggie Walker Blues - 14092
  • My Creole Belle - 15664
  • My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains - 14093
  • New River Train - 15595
  • The Old Man At The Mill - 14107
  • Old Ruben - 14094
  • Peg And Awl - 14095
  • Pretty Little Pink - 14096
  • Rambling Hobo - 14097
  • Richmond Blues - 14098
  • Rising Sun Portrait 15596
  • Rising Sun Essential 15597
  • Rising Sun Blues - 14099
  • Roll On Buddy - 15598
  • Run, Jimmie, Run - 14100
  • Sally Ann - 14101
  • Salt Creek - 15599
  • Shady Grove - 14102
  • Sheeps In The Meadow - 15601
  • A Short Life Of Trouble - 14067
  • Shout Lulu - 14103
  • Sittin' Here Pickin' The Blues - 15603
  • Skillet Good And Greasy - 14104
  • Stoney Fork - 15602
  • Sweet Heaven When I Die - 14105
  • Texas Gales - 15604
  • Tom Dooley - 15605
  • Tough Luck - 14108
  • Walking Boss - 14109
  • Way Down Town - 14110
  • Wayfaring Pilgrim - 14111
  • Will The Circle Be Unbroken - 14112
  • Willie Moore - 14113
  • Song/compositionRecorded by
    Doc's Guitar - Tommy Emmanuel 20600

    ArtistSongVersion