Doc & Merle Watson live CD set due next month

A very special CD box set is coming in June that is sure to delight followers of Doc and Merle Watson.

Though they have both passed on, their highly influential recordings are still enjoyed by fans and studied carefully by aspiring acoustic guitarists and folk singers. Doc in particular is considered to be one of the most important flatpick guitarists of the 20th century, and his fingerstyle playing is also highly regarded. His son, Merle, who excelled at guitar and banjo, had served for many years as his father’s accompanist.

Now the Owsley Stanley Foundation is preparing to release a 7-CD set that includes four nights of live recordings of Watson shows in San Francisco back in 1974. Stanley, better known as Bear to his audiophile friends, was notorious among audio engineers in the 1960s and ’70s for his high quality recordings. He was soundman for The Grateful Dead in their early days, and eventually came to be known for his board tapes of most every act that performed through his live audio system. Following his passing in 2011, the foundation was created to both preserve and release selected examples of his trove of live tapes.

Doc & Merle Watson: Never the Same Way Once – Live at the Boarding House – May 1974 contains 94 tracks on 7 CDs, along with a 16 page booklet in an attractive container. These live sets have not been heard since 1974 when Doc and Merle played them on stage, along with T. Michael Coleman on bass. Many critics would describe this period as a high time for these legendary acoustic entertainers, and this set will be enthusiastically received by Watson collectors.

The box set will be released in wide distribution on June 23, but can be purchased now directly from the Owsley Stanley Foundation online.

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John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.