The Doc Watson Family

The Doc Watson Family

by Doc WatsonDoc Watson


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Doc Watson, grandfather of the folk revival movement, has had a profound influence on American traditional music. Not only did he pioneer the playing of fiddle tunes on a flattop guitar, but through his incessant touring has brought traditional music to a larger audience. This Smithsonian Folkways release captures not only Doc Watson, but almost a dozen family members at the height of their power and has been deservingly hailed as a classic recording. Right from the opening track, "Old Groundhog," Watson and family send the listener on an amazing journey into the American musical past and present. Incidentally, their performance of "Old Groundhog" is certainly the equal of Bascom Lamar Lunsford's "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground," in terms of surreal country, capturing as it does race relations, commentary on shoe strings, as well directions for catching a groundhog. On "The House Carpenter," a weepy tale of that conflates religious and personal love, a haunting female voice sings almost off-key accompanied only by a fiddle that doubles on the melody. On the instrumental "Bonaparte's Retreat," Watson offers a droning, sea shanty-influenced version of this song staple of Mississippi river communities. Some of the family's best work is found in the spirituals scattered about the album. "When I Die" features a beautiful, uplifting three-part harmony, as does "The Lost Soul," which contains the wickedly abject refrain, "I'm paying now/the penalty." A fabulous record that's a must-listen for any serious fan of American music.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/14/1993
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
UPC: 0093074001226
catalogNumber: 40012
Rank: 56921


  1. Ground Hog
  2. Every Day Dirt
  3. Bonaparte's Retreat
  4. The House Carpenter
  5. I'm Troubled
  6. Your Long Journey
  7. When I Die
  8. That Train That Carried My Girl From Town
  9. Down The Road
  10. The Lone Pilgrim
  11. Texas Gales/Blackberry Rag
  12. Darling Corey
  13. The Triplett Tragedy
  14. Muddy Roads
  15. The Lost Soul
  16. Keep In The Middle Of The Road
  17. The Old Man Below
  18. Pretty Saro
  19. Cousin Sally Brown
  20. Look Down That Lonesome Road
  21. Doodle Bug
  22. Rambling Hobo
  23. The Cuckoo
  24. Frosty Morn
  25. Shady Grove
  26. Southbound

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Doc Watson   Primary Artist,Banjo,Guitar,Mandolin,Autoharp,Vocals
Watson Family   Vocals
Gaither Carlton   Banjo,Fiddle,Vocals
Dolly Greer   Vocals
Sophronie Miller Greer   Vocals
Ralph Rinzler   Guitar
Annie Watson   Vocals
Arnold Watson   Banjo,Harmonica,Vocals
Merle Watson   Banjo,Guitar
Rosa Lee Watson   Vocals
Willard Watson   Banjo

Technical Credits

Pee Wee King   Composer
Redd Stewart   Composer
Jeff Place   Producer,Liner Notes
Ralph Rinzler   Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer
Peter Siegel   Engineer
Annie Watson   Contributor
Arnold Watson   Arranger
Bob Yellin   Cover Photo
Archie Green   Engineer
Eugene Earle   Engineer

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