Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So long, Doc.

My dad and I sat together in the living room when I was a kid and watched Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest. My dad, arch republican and commie hater for the ages, wouldn't miss the show for anything. I remember watching this old blind guy and his son just playing the bejeezus out of their guitars. The old blind guy was fucking fantastic. At the time, I was probably more impressed by his being so good for an old blind guy than I was for his being just so incredibly good. But his son - I had just started learning to play guitar, and this kid looked only a couple of years older than me, and he blew me away. Needless to say, I was impressed enough that I never forgot their names - Doc and Merle Watson. Impressed as I was, I continued to think of myself as a rock and roller and could only strum the chords to a few folk songs. Of course, Gloria and Louie Louie were way up there on my rock reportoire, too. When bands like The Dead started doing acoustic stuff, I dedided I liked playing my Gibson more than my Fender. I sold all my electric stuff and became a folkie. Doc and Merle Watson reentered my life. I bought their albums and learned the songs. I tried to play Doc's riffs. I was hooked. One of my favorite concert memories was seeing Doc and Merle at the old Inn Of The Beginning. (I saw Norman and Nancy Blake there, too. What a venue!) I haven't thought a lot about Doc Watson for a while. I play his stuff I have on cd, but I haven't really thought about how long I've been listening to him. I think I'll go dig my old lp's out of the garage and digitize them and listen to them from time to time. My daughter will love them. I hope they remind me of the times Doc became part of my life. They were always good times. So long, Doc. I'll miss ya.