Doc Watson

Doc Watson at Gerdes Folk City

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This album documents Doc Watson's first solo public appearance; it finds him in front of an appreciative West Village crowd at the height of the early-'60s folk music craze, playing a borrowed acoustic guitar (at the time the only guitar he owned was the electric Les Paul with which he had been making a living as a member of a North Carolina rockabilly band) and performing a varied set of tunes that range from traditional ballads like "Little Sadie" and "The Roving Gambler" to traditional blues and Merle Travis-style guitar showcases. He's joined at various times by local folk luminaries John Herald, Ralph Rinzler, and Bob Yellin, but what is consistently striking is his mastery of the stage and the warmth and gentle virtuosity of his playing -- attributes that would later come to define his art, but which are remarkable in an artist performing solo for the first time. Highlights include an excellent arrangement of "Milk Cow Blues," an a cappella rendition of "The Lone Pilgrim," and an all-too-brief performance of the Travis classic, "Cannonball Rag." Highly recommended.

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