...and treasures to behold
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 07/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The airing of The Three Pickers (Watson, Scruggs, Skaggs) on PBS a couple hours ago has spurred me on to write some Doc Watson reviews. I figured I'd start here because I absolutely love this disc and it has no reviews yet.I'll just get it out in the open. This is not a high fidelity recording. At times it seems to be from different sources as people and instruments come from different spots sometimes, and the volume of the audience varies as well. Sometimes it sounds like an okay soundboard and sometimes it sounds like an audience recording. Frankly, none of this matters. This cd has The Spirit. The sound isn't pristine but it's not bad enough to degrade the listening experience. Performance-wise it ranges from good to excellent, and that's what matters most to me.This Omie Wise is so different than the excellent one Clarence Ashley recorded in the late '20s/early '30s (can't remember specific year, don't feel like going to look for the disc), yet it's almost equally excellent but in a totally different vibe. Almost dreamy. Reuben's Train is just a foot-stomping blast from start to finish. I like this one even better than the Old-Timey Concert one with Doc, Clint Howard and Fred Price. Hicks' Farewell is the hands-down highlight of this disc for me. This will hit you straight in the heart and bring tears to your eyes. One of my all-time favorite Watson moments.Also of note is that the last 4 tracks, Beaumont through Footprints, feature guitar duos of Doc Watson with Clarence White. Certainly of interest. =)One of the things I love about these years in Doc's career (this was recorded in July of 1964 at the Newport Folk Festival) is that Doc would still play autoharp, banjo, etc... I love his autoharp Grandfather's Clock here.There is lots to love about this cd though I didn't touch on all of it. Certainly one of the essential Doc Watson cd's, and the presence of Gaither Carlton, Merle, Clarence White, etc... doesn't hurt!"