by Dan King
Back in the late ’60′s, there wasn’t much to do in Phoenix Arizona. On summer afternoons, the mercury would routinely spike to 110 degrees and the prevailing wisdom was to take dental records along if you were foolish enough to engage in any outdoor activity. I was a young boy then, but I had already plunged headlong into the inviting world of performance music.
I was a guitar player.
My musical heroes at the time were electric rock guitarists with long hair and loud amplifiers. They were glamorous sorts who were long on image. Some were very talented and some, I concluded later on, were not.
So here I was holed up in my parent’s swamp cooled home on a summer day, bored to tears. Desperate for entertainment, I decided to check the local PBS station to see what was on.
Doc Watson was on.
Here was a man with a guitar. He was blind, older than my heroes, and not glamourous by any stretch of the imagination. But man, was he blazing on that acoustic guitar!
I sat mesmerized for the entire program while Doc’s fingers and voice made the sweltering Phoenix summer heat seem tepid by comparison. This guy was amazing!
Doc Watson lived to be 89 years old, a true legend in his own time. All the superlatives apply to this fine, fine musician, but the one description to me that encompasses what Doc was all about is that Doc Watson was the Genuine Article. Rest in peace teacher. May your good Lord grant you the sight in heaven to see how many people’s lives you changed and positively influenced during your brilliant shining stop on planet earth.