Search - Doc Watson :: Memories

Doc Watson
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1

In an interview, Doc Watson once intimated that this 1975 album remains among his favorites, and it's easy to see why. The whole range of his musical world is here: the spangling old-time banjo that begins the album; the a...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Doc Watson
Title: Memories
Members Wishing: 9
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sugarhill
Release Date: 10/8/1993
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
Styles: Bluegrass, Classic Country, Traditional Folk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 015891220420

In an interview, Doc Watson once intimated that this 1975 album remains among his favorites, and it's easy to see why. The whole range of his musical world is here: the spangling old-time banjo that begins the album; the a cappella traditional "Wake Up, Little Maggie"; the flowing, stately vocals throughout; the happy harmonica; the speed and lightness of his acoustic flat-picking--so effortless, so impossible to duplicate. Every arrangement is tasteful and easygoing: sometimes just guitar and bass, but also a welcome, tight country combo incorporating drums and steel guitar, as well as son Merle's hot lead playing. The material shows that Watson is never bound by traditional purism. He's as at home with a Western swing number such as "Hang Your Head in Shame" or a commercial country number from the '50s such as "Moody River" as he is with a Carter Family or Bill Monroe tune. And the interpretations are never perfunctory. "Columbus Stockade Blues," for one, is completely reshaped into a driving ensemble piece. Diverse as they are, Watson's memories are the stuff of musical magic. --Roy Kasten

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CD Reviews

Traditional American Music By a Master Guitarist
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 06/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Doc Watson has recorded dozens of albums for many labels over the decades, but MEMORIES is one of my favorites. Originally recorded for Capitol and released in 1975 as a 2-LP set, these twenty-two songs are an excellent introduction to traditional American music and what makes Doc Watson one of the best flatpick guitarists ever.

These tunes reveal Doc's influences from Jimmie Rodgers to the Carter Family to Mississippi John Hurt and Bob Wills.

Many of these songs are performed with a full band--including drums--but the best performances are when the accompanyment is sparse, like on "Shady Grove," "Keep on the Sunny Side" and "Double File and Salt Creek," where it's just Doc, his son Merle and a bass player. Especially enjoyable is when Merle plays slide guitar on tunes like "Curly Headed Baby," "In the Jailhouse Now," "Steel Guitar Rag" and "Wabash Cannonball," the latter includes Sam Bush on fiddle. [In fact, Bush plays fiddle on six tracks in addition to playing mandolin on "Mama Don't Allow No Music.]

The album closes with what Doc says "is one of the most beautiful tunes I have ever heard." The song, "Thoughts of Never," was written by Merle who performs this instrumental on classical guitar with only Chuck Cochran accompanying him on piano.

If you're looking for a solid introduction to the world of Doc Watson and his son Merle, this is an excellent place to begin the journey. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"
Must have!
rider1d | Plattsburgh NY | 02/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I first heard Doc Watson was in West Virginia, about 1980. Then I found this album in a record store sometime later. There's never been and unfortunately never will be another Doc Watson. When I found this album, I thought, man, now I've FOUND IT!! It became obvious later that this wasn't just another production album thrown together at the behest of some record company because someone had to do X recordings in X years. The liner notes show, as does the quality of the music that these were Doc Watson's personal treasures. I wore out the record so now I have to buy the cd."
Sooo Good
bubba | brush prairie, wa | 12/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have seen other professional reviews give this collection mediocre reviews, but after years of enjoying doc, this is still my favorite. It is simple and pure and beautiful. Totally satisfying and you unsuspectingly are immersed in his genius. Most popular bluegrass includes such full bands that hearing some of the gentle sad ballads is so moving (although plenty or of rockin blues tunes are on here). You want and can sing along and feel the emotion so strongly. I adore this collection after many years. He is a treasure."