31 May 2012

Memories of Doc Watson

Thanks to Niall Toner, by whose permission the BIB reproduces the above historic photo and the following text from Niall's own blog:

I was at Merlefest last April where I had the good fortune to hear and see Doc Watson playing his regular stint, and he played, as always, superbly, displaying all of his awesome talent, and there was no sign that he might be slowing up or contemplating retirement. I was back in RTE Radio One on Wednesday last, recording my first 'Roots Freeway' show for next Saturday evening, when I heard the news about Doc's passing. I was, like so many others, very saddened, and I wanted to rush to my computer and write a tribute, right away. However, I got distracted by other sad news, when I met Pat McGuire, and he told me that Irish blues legend Red Peters had also passed away recently. Both of these men, in their diverse genres, had a huge affect on me and my music. May they rest in peace.

In 1981, I was involved, with a couple of Doc fanatics, in putting Doc Watson and his band on at Liberty Hall. There's a whole 'other' story about the resulting background ramifications, but that will be told someday in another format. Doc and Merle and T. Michael Coleman accepted my invitation to dinner at our house in Knocklyon, and Doc spent the afternoon playing my battered old 1938 model Army and Navy Gibson guitar for the neighbours' kids, before tucking in to a feast of wild Irish salmon, prepared by Moira [Niall's wife] and Carol Hawkins. We felt at the time that it might show disrespect to a blind man to be taking photos, so the only memory of his visit to our house is in our own hearts, and the hearts of the folks who shared that precious evening with us. There is, however, one surviving shot, and I'm including it here. It was taken in the dressing room at Liberty Hall, and shows (l-r) Doc, me, Bill Whelan, and our MC on the night, Liam Nolan of RTE Radio. As you can see, we were a lot younger, thinner, and hairier, and totally stricken by Doc's awesome technique.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home