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Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton

Smithsonian Folkways

The title alone should have you getting out your credit card. But if you need further enticement, this is a special and unique project put together by producer Peter K. Siegel from recordings he made in 1962 at gigs in New York City, where a then almost unknown guitarist and singer, Doc Watson, along with his father-in-law fiddler, Gaither Carlton, played for the first time as headliners.

The album features 15 tracks from two venues, yet the guitar and voice of Doc Watson and the fiddle of Gaither Carlton are as clear and immediate as if they were recorded recently. It’s so good to hear Doc’s voice from these early days just after Ralph Rinzler had convinced him there was a career to be had in folk music. Tracks include what would become standards in Doc’s repertoire: “Handsome Molly,” “Corrina,” “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues,” “Reuben’s Train,” and more.

Beautifully packaged by Smithsonian Folkways, the album includes a 32-page booklet with liner and song notes by one of the best writers in folk music, Mary Katherine Aldin. There’s also an appreciation by fiddler Stephanie Coleman, photographs by John Cohen, and notes by Peter K. Siegel on how the tapes he made in 1962 eventually led to this wonderful album. Highly, highly recommended. For the music, yes, but also for the reminder of days when we gathered together to appreciate great music.

600 Maryland Ave. SW #2001
Washington, DC 20024
www.folkways.si.edu

REVIEWED BY CHRIS STEWART