Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

418
Banjo Lovers Online


Discussion Forum

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

 All Forums
 Other Banjo-Related Topics
 Other Banjo-Related Topics: Clawhammer/Old-Time
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Doc Watson Banjo Discography


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/259247

rrode - Posted - 03/24/2013:  14:34:03


Doc Watson was more known for his guitar playing, but as members of Banjo Hangout know he also could play a mean banjo.  His entry in Wikipedia barely mentions his banjo playing.  Which got me thinking that it would be useful to members in the 'hangout to have a definitive list of Doc's banjo playing as exists on his many recordings over his long career. 



I have a Google spreadsheet started at this link:



docs.google.com/spreadsheet/cc...QWc#gid=0



The spreadsheet is open for any and all to add to and correct.  Please help me crowdsource this -- check out the list and make any updates based on your own sources.  I went through my limited collection and what I could find on Amazon mp3.  My entries are limited to where the banjo plays a prominent role, and where it is Doc or Merle definitely playing.  But feel free to expand on that if you are so inclined.  Many of his songs were re-released on later collections so I've tried to keep this list to the first releases. 



Once we get it in good shape I'll see if I can add it to the Wikipedia Doc Watson page. 


Paul R - Posted - 03/24/2013:  15:30:31


My computer's somewhat wonky right now, so I'm not posting on your spreadsheet. 



The album, Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson at Folk City was recorded around 1963 (the liner notes indicate "27 years later" and the CD was issued in 1990), on Folkways Records. The CD is on Smithsonian Folkways.



Doc plays banjo on "Go Dig My Grave (Railroad Boy)", "East Virginia", "Hiram Hubbard", "Willie Moore", and "The House Carpenter".



Nice project.


JanetB - Posted - 03/24/2013:  15:53:28


Yes, great project, Randy.  I think you meant to spell Handsome Molly where you wrote Milly.  I'd like to add a title from the 2002 Legacy triple CD Doc did with David Holt.  He plays and tells the story of the first banjo his father made him and the first tune he heard General Watson play--Ruben's Train.


rrode - Posted - 03/24/2013:  17:46:39


Thanks Paul! I added the Jean Richie and Doc Watson songs to the list. That is an album I haven't come across but I'll need to look for it. Janet, I fixed the spelling error and started adding for the Legacy recording. I just purchased an online version, and haven't had a chance to listen to all of it yet - and to note where Doc is playing banjo. If anyone has the accompanying book it might help clear that up. For instance I hear banjo on Cousin Sally Brown, but I think David Holt is the one playing it.



Edited by - rrode on 03/24/2013 17:47:21

JanetB - Posted - 03/24/2013:  17:58:24


I've got the liner notes, Randy, but it only says, regarding Cousin Sally Brown, that "Doc learned this unusual tune from his cousin Willard Watson's banjo playing and Gaither Carlton's fiddling."  David Holt is playing banjo there.  But Doc is playing Ruben's Train on Track 6 on his Kalamazoo banjo he's had since age 14.  You can add that to the spreadsheet.



 


XXXris - Posted - 03/24/2013:  21:27:25


Thanks for doing this--I have always been interested in such a thing. (Really what I want is for all this to magically be in one single collection.)



Are you just looking for studio albums? Or any Doc Watson banjo material?



Doc appears giving a  "Ruben's Train" lesson on Mike Seeger's "Old Time Banjo Styles" DVD.



And, maybe someone else can follow up on this: I believe I have seen some black-and-white videos around; maybe on "Doc Watson - Rare Performances 1963-1981"; is there any banjo during his appearance on Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Quest"?



Chris



 


rrode - Posted - 03/25/2013:  05:30:39


banjohangout.org/global/ckedit.../icon.png) center no-repeat #ff0000;cursor:pointer;top:-8px;-moz-border-radius:2px;border-radius:2px" title="Insert paragraph here">↵




Perhaps we should start with a focus on the studio albums?  As I have started this it is interesting to see the change in the 70's where several of the albums don't list Doc with a banjo credit, and a couple that do don't seem to have him actually playing banjo.  But banjo figures pretty prominently early in his career and then starts showing up again later.  Red Rocking chair has two great banjo tunes, one played by Merle.  



On Rainbow Quest I remember Pete encouraging Doc to play banjo, but I don't remember if he actually does -- I plan to watch it again sometime this week.  And the Mike Seeger DVD has good performances -- maybe we should start a sub-section for video/film banjo sources?  There is a 1976 BBC special that also has some great Doc material, although from what I've seen so far it looks like Merle is doing most of the banjo work. 




quote:


Originally posted by XXXris

 

Thanks for doing this--I have always been interested in such a thing. (Really what I want is for all this to magically be in one single collection.)




Are you just looking for studio albums? Or any Doc Watson banjo material?




Doc appears giving a  "Ruben's Train" lesson on Mike Seeger's "Old Time Banjo Styles" DVD.




And, maybe someone else can follow up on this: I believe I have seen some black-and-white videos around; maybe on "Doc Watson - Rare Performances 1963-1981"; is there any banjo during his appearance on Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Quest"?




Chris




 







 



Edited by - rrode on 03/25/2013 05:31:43

JanetB - Posted - 03/25/2013:  05:54:07


On Ruben's Train on the Legacy CD Doc appears to be in "graveyard" tuning:  f#DF#AD.   First he clawhammers the whole piece, then at the end of the track he demonstrates his father's 2-finger picking style.


Chris Berry - Posted - 03/25/2013:  13:11:48


quote:

Originally posted by XXXris

 

And, maybe someone else can follow up on this: I believe I have seen some black-and-white videos around; maybe on "Doc Watson - Rare Performances 1963-1981"; is there any banjo during his appearance on Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Quest"?




 







No banjo from Doc on "Rainbow Quest" or on the video from the University of Washington (the one with Clint and Fred). On that "Rare Performances" he plays Shady Grove with Merle backing him, but that's in color (and he plays Shady Grove out of double C but in C minor). On either vol. 1 or 2 of that set he plays Mole in the Ground with Merle and Michael Coleman and another guy too. Can't remember if there's more banjo on that one or not. On the Mike Seeger tape he also plays Tom Dooley, I remember (out of double C).


rrode - Posted - 03/25/2013:  17:27:08


Chris, thanks for investigating those video sources. The strength of these video sources is enough to merit its own section in our master Doc Watson Banjo listing. We don't want to try to capture every random YouTube posting, but any officially published or produced source is worth of inclusion. The updated list is at:



docs.google.com/spreadsheet/cc...QWc#gid=0



The spreadsheet is open for any and all to add to and correct. So you, or anyone else reading, this should dive in an update based upon your own sources. Maybe you can fill in the details off that rareties disk?  I added a second tab for video/film/tv -- look for in in the lower part of the screen. 



The audio recording information is especially thin in the 70's where there are a bunch of recordings out of print, and unavailable from Amazon except as expensive rarities. Hopefully someone reading this can help fill in the gaps.



Edited by - rrode on 03/25/2013 17:38:28

JanetB - Posted - 03/25/2013:  19:15:58


In 1989 Doc Watson's On Praying Ground album included members of the Nashville Bluegrass Band.  He plays a nice duet with Stuart Duncan's fiddle in the middle of Uncloudy Day.  In a 1987 album, Arthel 'Doc' Watson Portrait you can hear him clawhammer on a traditional tune, Stay in the Middle of the Road and Country Blues (Dock Boggs).



Edited by - JanetB on 03/25/2013 19:25:02

JanetB - Posted - 03/25/2013:  19:41:05


On the Essential Doc Watson (1986, 1973) he clawhammers and sings Froggie Went A-Courtin', Shady Grove, Country Blues, Groundhog, Rambling Hobo (instrumental), and Handsome Molly.


banjo bill-e - Posted - 03/26/2013:  08:46:36


I would surely buy a Doc Watson banjo collection CD or DVD, and I'll bet I'm not the only one. Wonder why the powers that be don't make that happen?

rrode - Posted - 03/26/2013:  17:58:40


  banjohangout.org/global/ckedit.../icon.png) center no-repeat #ff0000;cursor:pointer;top:-1px;-moz-border-radius:0px 0px 2px 2px;border-radius:0px 0px 2px 2px" title="Insert paragraph here">↵



Janet


,  Thanks, that is a great set of additions.  I got Portait and the other suggestions added to the list.  From The Essential Doc.. -- How about Groundhog, Going Down the Road Feeling Bad and Whitehouse Blues?  Those sound like Doc too?  Or are they Merle?  I always think the bluegrass style stuff is more likely to be Merle, such as Whitehouse Blues.  Do you have liner notes that make it clear which is playing?  They both have a banjo credit.


quote:


Originally posted by JanetB

 

On the Essential Doc Watson (1986, 1973) he clawhammers and sings Froggie Went A-Courtin', Shady Grove, Country Blues, Groundhog, Rambling Hobo (instrumental), and Handsome Molly.







 



Edited by - rrode on 03/26/2013 18:06:31

rrode - Posted - 03/26/2013:  18:02:32


banjohangout.org/global/ckedit.../icon.png) center no-repeat #ff0000;cursor:pointer;top:-8px;-moz-border-radius:2px;border-radius:2px" title="Insert paragraph here">↵Most of the stuff on the list so far is available as mp3 downloads from Amazon.  As I mentioned in another post here some of the stuff is out of print, but most of those seem to be in a period where he wasn't recording much, if any, banjo.  No great loss as far as we are concerned.  You can easily assemble your own Doc banjo collection.  Or at least you will be able to once we finish assembling the list!



 



quote:


Originally posted by banjo bill-e

I would surely buy a Doc Watson banjo collection CD or DVD, and I'll bet I'm not the only one. Wonder why the powers that be don't make that happen?







 



 



Edited by - rrode on 03/26/2013 18:07:25

JanetB - Posted - 03/26/2013:  18:49:01


quote:

Originally posted by rrode

 

  banjohangout.org/global/ckedit...png") no-repeat center rgb(255, 0, 0); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-radius: 0px 0px 2px 2px; top: -1px; width: 17px; height: 17px; right: 17px; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); line-height: 0px; font-size: 0px; display: block; position: absolute; z-index: 9999; cursor: pointer; -moz-border-radius: 0px 0px 2px 2px;" title="Insert paragraph here">↵




Janet



From The Essential Doc.. -- How about Groundhog, Going Down the Road Feeling Bad and Whitehouse Blues?  Those sound like Doc too?  Or are they Merle?  I always think the bluegrass style stuff is more likely to be Merle, such as Whitehouse Blues.  Do you have liner notes that make it clear which is playing?  They both have a banjo credit.



 


On The Essential Doc Watson CD the track listing on the back makes it clear that Arnold Watson (Doc's brother) plays banjo on Blueridge Mountain Blues, Going Down this Road Feeling Bad, and Whitehouse Blues.  I'd assume that Doc plays on Groundhog, as no other banjo player is listed and the tune begins with banjo with Doc's singing beginning soon after.

  





 







 


rrode - Posted - 03/27/2013:  18:34:25


Janet, thanks for the updates.  Please give a look over the discography again and see if you have any other additions or corrections.  I will be traveling over the next several days and won't have time to put towards this project again until early next week.  But you, or anyone else reading this, should feel free to update the list:  docs.google.com/spreadsheet/cc...QWc#gid=0  .  Or post other updates here in the forum and I will add/edit to the list. 



We are making great progress.  A nice team effort!


Kitt - Posted - 03/28/2013:  17:51:18


This information won't exactly contribute to your list, but I think it is important to note. I recently attended a concert of 'Sutton, Holt and Coleman' performing their tribute to Doc Watson. Highly recommended!  David Holt told a story about what was basically the discovery of Doc Watson becoming so well known to us all. I don't recall all of the details of the story exactly. But at the time of this "discovery" Doc was living in a small cabin with no electricity, His only stringed instrument was, ironically, an electric guitar. A local musician, who had a banjo, took a fellow out to Docs who was, for a lack of a better description, a music producer. The local musician was sure that Doc would hugely impress the producer. So what happened was that when Doc heard the banjo that the guy had brought with him, Doc said, "Let me play on that thing." Then Doc played The Cuckoo on that banjo. Apparently that did quite well impress the producer and so Doc was shortly then after on his way to bringing his music to the world. All of that was according to David Holt. He's a good story teller. 



Edited by - Kitt on 03/28/2013 17:53:23

dixie kiwi - Posted - 03/28/2013:  18:20:29


Great thread. Was it Doc or Merle playing banjo on 'Little Sadie' from Doc Watson 'Doc Watson on Stage' live album from 1970?



edit to update that rrode's discography speadsheet credits Merle on this track.  (Should have looked there first, duh). Great resource. thanks!



Edited by - dixie kiwi on 03/28/2013 18:26:11

rrode - Posted - 03/29/2013:  18:38:48


banjohangout.org/global/ckedit.../icon.png) center no-repeat #ff0000;cursor:pointer;top:-8px;-moz-border-radius:2px;border-radius:2px" title="Insert paragraph here">↵



Kitt


, in the Legacy recording with David Holt, Doc at one point is playing the Kalamazoo banjo that his dad got for him.  This was his first real banjo and he had it through his life.  Perhaps he hadn't played it for a while when he was discovered as a folk musician.  He was playing with a band, and as mentioned using an electric guitar playing popular songs of the time -- not the music of his boyhood.  There are a lot of stories floating around and it is hard to know what is fact and what is good storytelling.  Glad you are enjoying the thread and thanks for the suggestions.


quote:


Originally posted by Kitt

 

This information won't exactly contribute to your list, but I think it is important to note. I recently attended a concert of 'Sutton, Holt and Coleman' performing their tribute to Doc Watson. Highly recommended!  David Holt told a story about what was basically the discovery of Doc Watson becoming so well known to us all. I don't recall all of the details of the story exactly. But at the time of this "discovery" Doc was living in a small cabin with no electricity, His only stringed instrument was, ironically, an electric guitar. A local musician, who had a banjo, took a fellow out to Docs who was, for a lack of a better description, a music producer. The local musician was sure that Doc would hugely impress the producer. So what happened was that when Doc heard the banjo that the guy had brought with him, Doc said, "Let me play on that thing." Then Doc played The Cuckoo on that banjo. Apparently that did quite well impress the producer and so Doc was shortly then after on his way to bringing his music to the world. All of that was according to David Holt. He's a good story teller. 







 


rrode - Posted - 03/31/2013:  19:02:11


Here is the list in its current state, reflecting all the suggestions submitted in the forum, plus a fair amount of internet research.  I think the recording section is fairly complete.  The Discogs site had liner notes for many of the albums, which was a big help.  Wikipedia was somewhat helpful, especially for identifying albums where Doc was given a banjo credit.  Many of the tunes are available on Amazon as MP3 downloads, so it is possible to put together your own version of the ultimate Doc-on-Banjo album. 



Thanks everyone for your help.  Please submit any other suggestions or corrections. 




Doc Watson Banjo Recordings

   

rrode - Posted - 04/01/2013:  14:26:29


Here is the latest, and corrected version.  Somehow I dropped off a couple of tunes from The Essential Doc Watson.  I am sure there are other details that will need fixing -- if you see anything please let me know.


quote:


Originally posted by rrode

 

Here is the list in its current state, reflecting all the suggestions submitted in the forum, plus a fair amount of internet research.  I think the recording section is fairly complete.  The Discogs site had liner notes for many of the albums, which was a big help.  Wikipedia was somewhat helpful, especially for identifying albums where Doc was given a banjo credit.  Many of the tunes are available on Amazon as MP3 downloads, so it is possible to put together your own version of the ultimate Doc-on-Banjo album. 




Thanks everyone for your help.  Please submit any other suggestions or corrections. 







 




Doc Watson Discography version 2

   

clawbanjo2 - Posted - 04/12/2013:  13:00:44


quote:

Originally posted by dixie kiwi

 

Great thread. Was it Doc or Merle playing banjo on 'Little Sadie' from Doc Watson 'Doc Watson on Stage' live album from 1970?




edit to update that rrode's discography speadsheet credits Merle on this track.  (Should have looked there first, duh). Great resource. thanks!







 



  I think a correction is needed here:  From all the recordings I have of Merle Watson playing either clawhammer or Scruggs style, I know by comparison that Little Sadie on this Live recording is Doc Watson's type of styles - he mixes at least two kind of picking styles here - what's more:  he uses an ordinary G-modal tuning Capoed up Five frets...



I was for long convinced that he played in Double C - as in the Katie Morey - tune and Shady Grove, but I have now a transcription in my head of it in G-modal (metal-picks neccessary, in combination with a 'free' finger to strike some strings as used in various old-time picking styles. There is quick slide (2nd string 1th fret - 2nd in this fingerstyle version starting up the 'Scruggs-like solo after a verse or two.



It's something special every time Doc Watson plays the banjo, no matter what the style is - the only ones who sounded almost like him was Gaither Carlton and Arnold Watson - Merle made something quite new of the style, that one can hear - it is a difference of tone. I compare it to how Tommy Jarrell always sounded the same on the banjo no matter which banjo he got. When he got a Stradivarius violin, he got it to sound just like with his old fiddle/violin.



So it should be credit to Doc there, it's the same tone that is his, almost impossible to duplicate.



 



 


clawbanjo2 - Posted - 04/12/2013:  13:39:21


Old Time at Clarence Ashley's from Folkways got some more tracks in the CD version, and since other banjo players are mentioned in the banjo discography :



Old Ruben (or Reuben's Train)  -  on all of the following recordings I might mention it's not always correct in the liner notes, but if it sounds mostly like Doc Watson on banjo - it could also be Gaither Carlton or Arnold Watson on the early ones. They sometimes played double-banjos - and switched styles which make it difficult to hear who's who.



What makes things confusing on these early 60s recordings is that another banjo player named Jack Burchett appears here, but from what I know Doc Watson could play in that sharp piercing style also.



Rambling Hobo is also there - this time played by Gaither Carlton.



 



An 1967 home tape of Doc and Merle, was released with other musicians dubbed in much later called 'Home Sweet Home' (1998, Sugar Hill) This is I think the definitive banjo tape of Merle Watson along with Ballads from Deep Gap (originally recorded that year, too). I see that we are in the OT-forum, but some bluegrass touch won't hurt.



There is some confusion about 'Essential Doc Watson' (an LP, now CD) - the first 12 tracks are from already issued Studio albums. The rest of the tracks are from Newport Folk Evening Concerts, 1964-



The CD : Treasures Untold seems to duplicate a few tracks or instead it may be the other way around - White House Blues and Ramblin' Hobo sounds mostly the same on both CDs.



Good Deal (1968) - track Shady Grove is surely Doc Watson on banjo - he even gets credit for banjo playing on the liner notes - what's more - his patented two-finger style shows up on the last solo in the tune. Train that carried my girl from town - Don Stover played clawhammer style - could be him, but it sounds instead like it was Doc Watson there or Merle but he doesn't have a banjo credit on this Nashville recording. The Bluegrass solos would be Don Stover according to credits, although at this time Merle Watson played a similar less piercing Scruggs-style too, that can be heard on Ballads from Deep Gap - Doc also said that Merle could play a very good Dill Pickles Rag on banjo (Oak Publ.)



Doc Watson at Gerde's Folk City (1962) (2000 CD) had a banjo tune called ' the Wagoner's Lad'



More to be added... it's a little late in Europe now.


clawbanjo2 - Posted - 04/14/2013:  13:06:28


Great thread by the way!      I just realized that my two posts are a little hard to read, will fix it here :



 There is an album not mentioned called  ' Down South '  that has two great clawhammer tunes by Merle :



Bright Sunny South  (also with lyrics)



Twin Sisters    ( b/ g duet)



  For info:  I have only read the last discography, so I'm referencing that in this post.



   Old Timey Concert   (1967)    was originally a double-LP (listened to it today),



it had also this track:     'Reuben's Train     (much similarities to the one on Mike Seeger's Homespun Video)  He mixes all kinds of styles on the LP  - on the rest of this album, he plays Three-finger in Bluegrass style.  The concert also has some rare mandolin solos.



  Another good LP  from Rounder   (No.  0129)   also Topic TS336 in UK  -   The Watson Family Tradition  has these :



  amazon.com/Tradition-Doc-Famil...bsp; ; (CD and mp3 version)



Give the Fiddler a Dram ( Doc Watson - banjo)   (I'm not sure which version this is, doesn't sound familiar)



Reuben's Train   (Banjo duet with Arnold Watson, with Gaither Carlton on fiddle)



Biscuits   &   Arnold's Tune (Lonesome Banjo track on 'Home Sweet Home CD)   (Arnold W. on banjo - fingerstyle)



3 banjo solos with vocals by Gaither Carlton :   Pretty Saro, Rambling Hobo (fragment), Jimmy Sutton



 



   Another 'rare' LP  is  Out in the Country / or In the Pines (Live)  under the first title in iTunes (at least in EU(rope)



It has this early banjo tune called  'In the Pines'  in the Tumblin' Gap tuning : f #/BEAD (OT- fingerstyle)



   I don't really know what kind of production it is  - different companies seems to have used these live recordings on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.com



  The LP  label is on my copy:  Masters MA  0024983   or Cassette  MA 00924983   (Holland, Europe)



It sounds like an early 1960s Live Recording - the sound is really good   - Doc plays the instrument "Jaw Harp, or jew's harp" on Sally Goodin'  - I don't know of any other such recording.



   Smithsonian Folkways CD :    The Watson Family   (1990s early)  :



Ground Hog  (Arnold on banjo with Doc on Autoharp)



Down the Road  (Ida Red)  great  banjo & fiddle duet by Doc and Gaither



Darling Corey  (Arnold, and possibly Doc on banjo(s)



Keep (Stay) in the Middle of the Road  (Gaither)



Cousin Sally Brown  (first a fiddle solo by Gaither Carlton, then it becomes a Banjo duet with Willard & Doc Watson!)



Rambling Hobo  (Doc)



Shady Grove  (Doc with Merle on guitar)



  Frosty Morn and Cuckoo Bird  (Merle on banjo with Doc on guitar and vocals)



 



The album  ' Home Again '   had these banjo tunes (mostly listed at 'Essential')



Katie Morey   (double C - key of C-minor)



Froggie went a-courtin'



 



  Re:   Memories LP and CD  :



Rambling Hobo and Shady Grove is with Doc   (Merle plays Dulcimer on the second track)



Peartree  (has Doc on solo guitar, the banjo style sounds like Merle)



 Also,   Walking Boss - has Merle on Banjo  (a Clarence Ashley tune)



  Doc Watson shows up on the Pete Seeger - Homespun DVD - How to Play the Five String Banjo  (not the book - and this was made in the 1990s).   Don't know if he played any banjo on this video.



 



That was all...



Edited by - clawbanjo2 on 04/14/2013 13:10:30

rrode - Posted - 04/16/2013:  03:57:58


Thanks for the fantastic information.  I will incorporate your notes into the discography.  It can be tough on the recordings to figure out exactly who is playing what, with all the Watson friends and family being so good on so many instruments.  Especially with sources such as Amazon mp3s with no real liner notes.  I am on the road at the moment, but once I get home later this week there will be time to work on the discography.



Have you seen the Watson Family Milestones project, being released this month -- docwatsonmilestones.com/ ?  It will be another source to dig even deeper into the Watson family's musical legacy. 


clawbanjo2 - Posted - 04/16/2013:  10:20:29


Yes, I got the info through a post on the 'Fiddle Hangout' by Doug Dorschug (of Highwoods'), unfortunately I got this news after the project funding had stopped, 5000 copies seems like it would be sold out quickly.


Also, since I live in Europe, I didn't find any shipping prices for outside the US, I think I will try the Pre-order option anyway, adding those costs later.


 


quote:


Originally posted by rrode

 

Thanks for the fantastic information.  I will incorporate your notes into the discography.  It can be tough on the recordings to figure out exactly who is playing what, with all the Watson friends and family being so good on so many instruments.  Especially with sources such as Amazon mp3s with no real liner notes.  I am on the road at the moment, but once I get home later this week there will be time to work on the discography.




Have you seen the Watson Family Milestones project, being released this month -- docwatsonmilestones.com/ ?  It will be another source to dig even deeper into the Watson family's musical legacy. 







 


rrode - Posted - 04/20/2013:  05:32:40


banjohangout.org/global/ckedit.../icon.png) center no-repeat #ff0000;cursor:pointer;top:-8px;-moz-border-radius:2px;border-radius:2px" title="Insert paragraph here">↵



Attached is an updated Watson Banj-ography.  Thanks to clawbanjo2 for the many excellent notes and additions.  Hopefully everything has been captured correctly.  You can find almost everything on the list between Amazon.com mp3, Smithsonian Folkways and Itunes for the Out in the Country track -- in fact I'm sitting here now listening to the self-compiled Doc Watson banjo album -- nice way to start the morning.  For the most recent version of the Banj-ography you can grab it directly from the Google doc:  docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aki33whN-whAdFhIWHZOMjdLa0JOVTQtUWZTVUFIQWc#gid=1 -- or risk a slightly outdated version with the PDF here. 


Thanks for the suggestion of Doc on the Pete Seeger video.  I used to have that, but must have discarded it when the VHS machine broke down and we switched to DVD.  Maybe I'll need to purchase another copy.


Please continue to post any update/additions/corrections you find and I'll gladly add them.


 


 


quote:


Originally posted by clawbanjo2

 

Great thread by the way!      I just realized that my two posts are a little hard to read, will fix it here :


 

That was all...







 



Edited by - rrode on 04/20/2013 05:34:42



Doc Banj-ography version 3

   

Zischkale - Posted - 04/22/2013:  07:53:55


Very helpful resource!



Reading the liner notes for the 1964 eponymous album, it looks like his version of "Country Blues" is in gDGBD, tuned a whole step down.


clawbanjo2 - Posted - 04/23/2013:  10:24:59


 


Yes, I saw that too, one thing is correct - it's tuned one step down from the usual "Open D tuning f#/DF#AD  " changed to : 


 e/CEGC     (from the 5th string to the first)  - compairing the CD version to the banjo. and a Zepp-Kermode - banjo tunings guide  


 zeppmusic.com/banjo/aktuning.htm     (very good resource!)


makes it a bit easier to sing in the key of "Modal" C  (the actual scale used for this melody, I don't know - Modal in banjo music refers sometimes to "Dorian scale" from the ancient Greek / church - modes (in traditional music I think the use of these modes don't always keep to a particular mode or scale - it can be a mix of several in one tune. It can be a little "unhappy" in sound like this melody, or it can be more joyful or somewhere between both - those scales are used more often than anyone thinks - especially in Improvisational jazz music, if I remember correctly.


  From the other versions I have heard from him, he may have tuned like Dock Boggs at other times, but for this Vanguard LP, he ends on an open D - chord , and there are some changes in sound throughout the tune, that don't seem possible in the Boggs's variant:  f#D"G"AD (or a whole step down)


By most of the time keeping the index left-hand finger on the 3rd string 1st fret it's not so hard to get to the Boggs' tuning, instead of retuning (that is if you're right-handed...)


 


quote:


Originally posted by Zischkale

 

Very helpful resource!




Reading the liner notes for the 1964 eponymous album, it looks like his version of "Country Blues" is in gDGBD, tuned a whole step down.







 


JIMBO53 - Posted - 04/24/2013:  04:28:06


Here's a picture of Doc's first banjo made by his father when he was 10 years old. I went to the NC Museum of Art Symposium On The Life Of Doc Watson last summer and Doc's cousin brought this. If you've read Doc's biography by Kent Gustafuson,"Was Blind But Now I See", this is the banjo that was made with Doc's grandmother's cat, who was put down so they could get the cat hide.




rrode - Posted - 04/27/2013:  02:59:25


Thanks for sharing that photo of Doc's first banjo. He tells the story several times over his recorded career and it is great to see what he was referring to. You can spend a lot of money on a banjo these days, but humble beginnings can lead to great playing.

XXXris - Posted - 04/29/2013:  18:23:32


Wow, thanks for posting the image of Doc's first banjo. Is it fretless? I'd lke to hear Doc playing fretless....


Kitt - Posted - 04/29/2013:  19:09:23


Here's a video of David Holt telling that story that I told early on in this thread about Doc and the electric guitar and discovery, or rephrased from memory, after I attended  this same concert at a different venue a month or so ago



 



youtube.com/watch?v=9ovcgxJpq64


Zischkale - Posted - 04/30/2013:  06:41:01


quote:

Originally posted by clawbanjo2

 
 


Yes, I saw that too, one thing is correct - it's tuned one step down from the usual "Open D tuning f#/DF#AD  " changed to : 


 e/CEGC     (from the 5th string to the first)  - compairing the CD version to the banjo. and a Zepp-Kermode - banjo tunings guide  


 


 






 That eCEGC tuning would make a much more sense to me. I haven't tried actually tuning a banjo to match what's on the record, but the fCFAC the liner notes are implying doesn't seem right. Though I've eschewed the Boggs way of playin' this one by just clawhammerin' out of gCGCD.



 


Zischkale - Posted - 04/30/2013:  12:29:46


Also--that cat hide story is amazing and I hope it's completely 100% true.



I knew there was a decent use for cats...


Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.09375