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THE DOC WATSON FAMILY Songs From the Southern Mountains
Sugar Hill SHCD-3829

Doc Watson on guitar, harmonica and vocals, is joined by the "family", including Arnold Watson on bass vocals and banjo, Mrs. G.D. Watson, alto Vocals, Rosa Lee Watson on guitar and harmony, Merle Watson on guitar and Gaither Carlton on fiddle. This CD was colated from recordings made in 1962, 1964 and 1973 by Eugene Earle and D.K. Wilgus.

The earlier works were in the nature of field recordings and this is reflected in the sound quality and to an extent the choice of material. What may be lacking in the way of hi-fi sound, however, is balance by the charm, warmth, enthusiasm and honest simplicity, to be heard on the various tracks. Just as the old photographs of the Watson family, on the CD cover, record that one moment, so do these songs and tunes, aural snap-shots of their world some thirty years past.

The acoumpaning booklet traces the Watson family tree and lists the sources and titles of the material, including, "A Tiny Broken Hart" from The Louvin Brothers, "Anniversary Blue Yodel" by Jimmie Rodgers and A.P. Carter's, "Rye cove". The Songs, "My Little Woman, Your so Sweet", "Twilight is Stealing", "My Wandering Boy" and "Honey Babe Blues" are all listed as traditional, as are the tunes, "Brown's Dream", "Go Shoot Old Davy Dugger" and "Fishers Hornpipe.

There is a wealth of albums available from Doc Watson, many displaying his singing and playing to far better advantage. However, these, "Doc Watson Family", recordings provide great insight on early days and influences and allow listeners to share in what must have been exiting and stimulating times.

Peter Fairairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 12 of The Living Tradition magazine.