'Blind But Now I See: Biography of Music Legend Doc Watson' by Kent Gustavson WATSON_BOOK
BACK IN STOCK 367 pages, softbound. (The Biography of Doc Watson). This is a fascinating, detailed account of the life and career of one of the giants of American music, Doc Watson. Though any and all fans of acoustic music and the guitar are already familiar with the basics of Doc’s life and music, author Gustavson provides a barrage of details that most of us would not be aware of or may have forgotten (for example the fact that Doc almost died of a ruptured appendix in a Nashville hospital as he was about to join Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs for their wonderful “Strictly Instrumental” LP). (Another neat passage describes how Earl Scruggs came and knocked on Watson’s door—the first meeting of these two amazing pickers—they became good friends and Earl once actually let Doc pilot his plane for a spell!) The author does this partly through scores of interviews with a wide range of musicians, friends and family, opening up stories within a story. Some of the intriguing 20 chapters are devoted to his unfavorable experience in Blind School, his courting of his wife Rosa Lee, his “discovery” by Ralph Rinzler and Gene Earle, his early shows with the Clarence Ashley group, and the beginnings of a recording career with Vanguard Records. The author spends a considerable amount of space dealing with Doc’s devotion to his son and playing partner Merle, including various possible scenarios of Merle’s tragic death in a middle of the night tractor accident. In a revealing mid-80s conversation with Ralph Rinzler, Doc stressed how much he hated the “road”, indicating that had he known what it would be like, he would never have left his simple, down to earth life in his native North Carolina. While we can understand his distaste for endless hours of sitting in airports and motel rooms, it would have been a real loss to all who have come to know and love him as a great musician and the warm, truly humble person he is. Well Recommended!