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Doc Watson with Frosty Morn
Round the Table Again

Review by Steven Stone
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Doc Watson with Frosty Morn Round the Table Again

CD Number: Sugar Hill Records SUG-CD 3935

 

  The true measure of a musician is how well they can play live. Round the Table Again makes it abundantly clear that Doc Watson is still among a handful of guitarists who are truly masters of their instrument. Round the Table Again documents an evening of live music from Doc Watson and friends at Wilkes Community College during the Merlefest Music Festival. He's joined by his grandson Richard on guitar, T. Michael Coleman on bass, Bob Lamar Hill on guitar and piano, and Joe Smothers on guitar. It sounds as if they had a good time. I suspect most listeners will also have a smile on their faces after a few minutes with this disk.

Doc kicks his set off by playing banjo on "Lynchburg Town," but sets it aside for the next song "CooCoo Bird" which he performs acapella (solo voice). "Blues Walkin Round My Bed" features a guitar duet between Doc and his grandson Richard (whom he calls Merle.) The song selection on this CD reminds me of repertoire you might hear at a late night jam. Traditional songs like "Sugar Babe" and "C C Rider" are mated with tin-pan alley standards like "Show Bizness" and "Sincerely" to make an eclectic musical mix. For a final musical curveball Watson and company do a bang-up version of Procul Harum's "Nights in White Satin."

T. Michael Coleman produced this release, but it sounds as if his principal contribution (besides playing magnificently) was to ask engineer Bill Wolf to turn on the tape recorder. Wolf also edited and remixed the album. The overall sound reminds me of a very good board mix. Perhaps the timbre is a hair dry and lacking in room ambience, but I would rather hear clean direct sound rather than too much reverberance from a mediocre room. The only weak spot on this album is the cover art. Brown, even wood-grain brown, is not the most attractive predominant color for a CD cover.

If anyone tries to tell you Doc Watson is getting old and getting Passé, play this CD for them. Not only is his playing as remarkable as when he first came north in the early 60's, his range of material is as broad and deep as the Mississippi during flood season.

 

 

Enjoyment: 90

Sound Quality: 85

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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