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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doc Watson is a fast guitar picker and bluegrass innovator!
As an impressionable teenager in the mid 1960s, I was one of the youngest members of the Seattle Folklore Society (the folks who later started the Northwest Folklife Festival). In those early days, they would rent small halls and bring in old black blues musicians like Rev. Gary Davis, Mance Lipscomb and Jesse Fuller, and relatively unknown folk musicians like Buffy...
Published on March 7, 2001 by Volkert Volkersz

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars for blues fans only
I am not a big blues fan, but this album was recommended by a friend. he loves it, but I can't get into the music
Published 17 months ago by the bear


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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doc Watson is a fast guitar picker and bluegrass innovator!, March 7, 2001
By 
Volkert Volkersz (Snohomish County, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
As an impressionable teenager in the mid 1960s, I was one of the youngest members of the Seattle Folklore Society (the folks who later started the Northwest Folklife Festival). In those early days, they would rent small halls and bring in old black blues musicians like Rev. Gary Davis, Mance Lipscomb and Jesse Fuller, and relatively unknown folk musicians like Buffy Sainte Marie and Doc Watson.
Watson is an incredibly talented blind guitar and banjo picker from the Blue Ridge Mountains with a resonant voice. The night I saw Doc Watson, he was ushered to a lone chair at the center of a small stage, and within one or two songs, I felt like I was sitting at his kitchen table, as he sang songs from the mountains of North Carolina with a decidedly bluegrass flavor. At the time, I just knew he was one of the fastest flat-picking and fingerpicking guitarists around, who held the respect of anyone who had taken up the instrument in the Sixties.
What I didn't know then was that Watson is largely responsible for shifting bluegrass guitar from a supportive rhythm guitar role (so that fiddlers and banjo pickers could shine) to playing leads, which is standard practice these days.
Vanguard Records, the company that released these original 1960s era recordings, came out with this "Best of" album in the late 1990s, with over 65 minutes of tunes, many of which have become standards by other artists, like "Rising Sun Blues" (known to most of us as "The House of the Rising Sun," although with a different tune), "Tennessee Stud" (a great horse song), "Down in the Valley To Pray" (an inspiring white spiritual), "Tom Dooley" (quite different from the Kingston Trio version), "Alberta" (about a girl, not a province in Canada), "Black Mountain Rag" (still one of my favorite bluegrass guitar instrumentals, "Grandfather's Clock" ("...it stopped short, never to go again when the old man died"), "Doc's Guitar" (if only I could play half that fast), and "Crawdad Hole."
While a few cuts on this album are done with a bluegrass band, on most he is alone, or with one other guitarist (including his late son, Merle). On these more intimate cuts it still feels like he's sitting at his kitchen table playing just for me (or you, if you get this CD). If you like bluegrass, or simply some of the best acoustic guitar ever recorded, this is highly recommended!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doc Watson Is a National Treasure, June 21, 2005
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This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
Arthel "Doc" Watson is perhaps the finest flatpick guitar player to ever pick up a guitar and this generous 23-track anthology goes a long way to support that claim. All tracks are taken from the six studio albums he recorded for Vanguard from 1964 through 1968.

I first heard Doc Watson on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN where he performed his signature song "Tennessee Stud," included here from his classic SOUTHBOUND album. While not as good a singer as he is a guitar player, there is an earthy quality to his vocals, which is especially effective on the a capella gospel number "Down in the Valley To Pray."

On many of these tracks, Watson is accompanied by his son Merle on second guitar. Listen to their delicate interplay on the instrumental "Dill Pickle Rag."

As an added bonus, the final four tracks are previously unreleased. First, is a solo performance of "Grandfather's Clock" with Watson accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica. Next is the Carter Family's tragic tale of "The Cyclone of Ryecov." Then there is the brief (1:23) guitar workout "Doc's Guitar." The final is the traditional "Crawdad Hole" performed live.

Doc Watson is one of our national treasures, and if you're looking for a solid introduction to his music, this is an excellent place to start. [Running Time - 65:55] VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great musician, October 24, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
Only out of curiosity did I decide to listen to folk music and to my surpise I enjoyed it. Then I heard the music of Doc Watson and was moved in only a way a great musician and song can. Having grown up in the city and listening to "Rap" and "Rock and Roll" I am glad I decided to give folk music a listen to, many a night have I enjoyed the melodies and messages of folk songs.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doc Watson - A musician's musician, October 6, 2000
By 
Leonard Lewis (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
As a bluegrass musician myself, as well as a choral singer my tastes range from Baroque to Folk and classic Rock. In that wide disparity, if I had to count the five finest musicians I know, Doc would be a must in the group. Real musicians love fine music, regardless of the genre, and Doc's clean, crisp delivery - both vocal and (of course, mainly) playing is literally without peer. Doc's finest are so enjoyable that I can listen to them over and over. I never hesitate to 'turn on' another music lover to Doc; indeed I spent a pleasant half hour one day introducing Maestro Leroy Kromm, director of the San Jose Symphonic Choir, to Doc's fine work. Leroy agreed with me that here was a pearl among masters.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Songs Performed By One Of The Greats Of American Music, February 22, 2006
By 
Chris Luallen (Nashville, Tennessee) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
After being born blind in a small mountain town in North Carolina, Doc grew up playing guitar with local musicians. But it wasn't until 1960, at age 37, that Doc was "discovered" by folk music archivist, Ralph Rinzler and brought to play in New York City. Doc became a popular figure in the folk music scene of the early 60's and his legend has grown ever since. I used to go see him play at a small club in Black Mountain, North Carolina when I was attending a nearby school, Warren Wilson College, in the late 1980's.

This album is a treasure trove of American folk classics with Doc's distinctive voice and hot picking making for a beautiful and inimitable sound. A close listening to the words of these songs will show just how rich, profound and meaningful they truly are. There is none of the "corniness" often associated with some of the more commercialized folk music. But instead Doc belts out powerful tales of murder and mayhem, wild women and rebellious "rounders" off to get drunk and raise hell. Some of these songs almost remind me of Old Testament stories in their ability to use dark and sometimes lurid subject matter to convey the true meaning of the human condition. Of course, you also have straightforward gospel songs like "Down In The Valley To Pray" which offer redemption to all of us wayward sinners. All in all this is a beautiful record of extraordinary songs by one of the masters of American music - the great Doc Watson.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, July 12, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
Very enjoyable music. Since I live in the same general area as Doc Watson, many of the songs he sings (i.e. Omie Wise, Shady Grove, etc.) are the same songs that my mother sang to me as a child like her mother sang to her. These songs are dear to my heart and Doc does an excellent singing them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 stars out of 5! This guy is great!, March 1, 2009
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This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
If you've never heard bluegrass, by all means listen to Doc Watson. If anyone can make you a believer, he can.

If you love bluegrass but somehow have never heard Doc, grab this CD.

For those who are familiar with "Tom Dooley" only from the Kingston Trio's well harmonized but rather bland version, a revelation awaits -- and be prepared to be blown out of your chair.

There are instrumentals here, an a cappella track, and a lovely ballad, "Alberta."

Watson sings and plays guitar, mouth harp and banjo. There are songs of love, murder, and humor.

You've probably heard the Animals' version of "House of the Rising Sun," and you may know Bob Dylan's from
his first LP (he used Dave van Ronk's arrangement almost note for note). They're both good, but don't miss Doc's take on it.

This is true American music, played and sung by someone who was born and grew up in the area it came from -- the Appalachian Mountains.

I wish I could give this CD more than five stars. Oh, wait --- I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cornerstone of your Doc collection, January 19, 2013
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This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
You need at least four Doc CD's to have a good collection, but this is where you start. Doc has it all, and he plays like no other. There is no such thing as a bad Doc Watson song.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Doc Watson, January 28, 2006
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This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
Doc Watson is one amazing guitar picker, human being, and musician. I`ve been a fan of his for more than forty years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Collection of early Doc Songs, October 21, 2007
By 
Rock Crusher (Pennsylvania USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Audio CD)
This a great collection of songs including my favorite arrangement of 'Shady Grove' that's out there.
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The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968
The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 by Doc Watson (Audio CD - 1999)
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