featuring Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Norman Blake & Dan Crary
In this 90 minute video Doc Watson appears in a half dozen performances, ably supported by the late Merle Watson in one segment and by Jack Lawrence in the others. Norman Blake & the Rising Fawn String Ensemble play both Celtic roots and country branches with equal conviction, while Dan Crary, the eclectic Californian of this crowd, makes even the 'squarest' tune (Turkey in the Straw) an adventurous new experience. Tony Rice appears in a variety of settings, ranging from an evocation of the old-time country 'brother duo' (Ricky Skaggs plays mandolin and sings high harmony) to a kicking contemporary bluegrass ensemble (Tony Rice Unit) to a cooking all-star jam on the 'new acoustic' fringe (jamming with Tony are Sam Bush, mandolin, Mark O'Connor, fiddle, Bela Fleck, banjo, and Jerry Douglas, dobro).
Titles include: DOC WATSON & JACK LAWRENCE Black Mountain Rag, Peach Pickin' Time Down In Georgia TONY RICE ALL STAR JAM Nine Pound Hammer, Cold On The Shoulder, Whitewater NORMAN BLAKE & THE RISING FAWN STRING ENSEMBLE Jimmy Brown The Newsboy, Salty, Molly Bloom DAN CRARY Country Boy Rock N' Roll, Medley: The Fishing Creek Blues/ The Blackbird/Turkey In The Straw/ Bonaparte's Retreat/Arkansas Traveller; DOC WATSON & JACK LAWRENCE Bye Bye Blues, Tennessee Stud TONY RICE & RICKY SKAGGS Where The Soul Of Man Never Dies, More Pretty Girls Than One NORMAN BLAKE & THE RISING FAWN STRING ENSEMBLE Nashville Blues, Medley: The Cuckoo's Nest/Over The Waterfall/Opera Reel/Cherokee Shuffle TONY RICE ALL STAR JAM Freeborn Man DOC & MERLE WATSON Medley:Sheep In The Meadow/Stoney Fork, Medley: Bill Cheatham/Salt Creek DAN CRARY Lady's Fancy, Black Mountain Rag TONY RICE UNIT The White Dove, Sally Goodin.
Running time: 90 minutes
Review: For the purposes of this video, flatpicking guitar is the style that Doc Watson brought to the fore in the early 1960s and that has become a mainstay of the bluegrass world. The four artists featured, Watson, Norman Blake, Dan Crary and Tony Rice, are unquestionably legends in this field and each has brought something new to the genre. Their talents are excellently displayed here in a good mix of songs, instrumentals and band numbers.Watson is the old master, and he starts the film off with the piece that started it all, his arrangement of the fiddle tune Black Mountain Rag. Five more songs include the vocal Tennessee Stud and hot-picking medleys in which he trades leads with his son Merle and Jack Lawrence, who blend seamlessly with him while adding their own fill-ins.
Watson's heirs have taken the music in varying directions. Blake is the traditionalist and, with cellist wife Nancy and fiddler James Bryan, his Rising Fawn String Ensemble sounds positively elegant on a fiddle medley that includes a lovely fingerpicked introduction, then brings back a pure Watsonian sound on Nashville Blues. Blake is an excellent technician, and he pays more attention to tone than speed, giving his work a rich, even flow.Rice is the musical intellectual of the bunch, always searching for new and experimental harmonies. Whether backed by his own band, dusting with Ricky Skaggs, or leading an all-star ensemble with Bela Fleck, Mark O'Connor, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas, he mixes understated vocals with making his work more appealing to his fellow guitarists than it may be to the general listener. While his singing is pure and lovely, his playing often sounds like he's thinking too much.
Crary is as experimental as Rice, maybe more so, but there is a musicality to his playing that makes him the most exciting guitarist on this video. He plays hard, brushing the strings to get a full sound that backs up his lead lines and renders further accompaniment superfluous, and his tone and taste are impeccable. He mostly stays within the standard repertoire, but his approach is always fresh and interesting. When he ranges farther afield on the baroque-influenced Lady's Fancy he shows a unique musical sensibility that stretches the boundaries of the bluegrass genre without ever violating its spirit. - Sing Out!
Review: Best video I own. This video is a virtual goldmine and it has wowed every person I've shared it with since I purchased it. Highlighting four of the greatest flatpicking guitarists in history (Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Dan Crary, and Norman Blake), this video captures these virtuosos at their best, performing some of their greatest jams. With two distinctly different versions of Black Mountain Rag (Doc's and Dan's), All-Star jams of Tony Rice favorites like Cold On The Shoulder and Nine Pound Hammer (with Sam Bush, Bela Fleck and crew), Norman Blake's mellow picking sessions with his Rising Fawn String Ensemble, and my personal favorites, Dan Crary's breathtaking solo medleys in which he masterfully weaves together multiple traditionals into unbelievable individual jams. The entire video is amazing, and includes lots of rare footage, including Doc and Merle Watson jamming a duo, Doc and Jack Lawrence pickin at MerleFest, and much much more. Anyone who really appreciates flatpicking guitar or bluegrass music MUST own this video. - Amazon Customer Review