Doc Watch: ARTHEL WATSON, Tank Commander
This post will be a shorty, and I apologize for how long it’s been since the last one, but in all honesty I’ve been woodshedding for an audition/gig I did Monday, and my mind has been on my own guitar playing, self-absorbed little putz that I am. I’ll tell you how it turns out, but only if I get the gig.
However, what I will tell you is I’ve just learned that Doc Watson, unsighted, as you know, was sent a draft notice to serve in WWII, despite his “visually challenged status,” I think is how they’d prob. say that now. Jeez, my father was rejected because of flat feet. Maybe Southern draft boards were just tougher than our Yankee wussie-boards were then. Or maybe they thought Doc was an M.D., and they figured if he can practice medicine he can shoot a cannon. That’s ridiculous; everyone knows Doc never packs anything bigger than a thirty ought six. Go figure.
Anyway, I learned about this from Nancy Watson, Doc’s daughter, in a conversation we had day before yesterday. I had called to ask her if there was anything I could do to help move along a Watson Family project, an audiobook, she has undertaken. My contribution would prob. be trying to help her market the project, i.e., find a publisher and/or CD maker who interested in producing and distributing it.
This would be because I live in New York, where there are still some publishers and CD packagers (the CD’s would contain music no one outside the family has ever heard before), as opposed to Deep Gap, NC, where there are prob. are very few or none.
I can’t tell you too much about Nancy’s labor of love, since I don’t know much about it myself, yet, and because I don’t want to betray a trust with her and anyone else in the Watson Family. Doc is the one who put me in touch with Nancy.
But I think it will contain, besides some hitherto (you like that?) unreleased music, music, interviews, photographs and, possibly, a narrative by Nancy that I am pushily suggesting.
Nancy is a folklorist, like myself, and is anything but naïve or unschooled about how you collect, organize and present the kind of information she’s working with. That’s why I would love to interview her—she has interviewed many people, but not herself—and get her to narrate the history and ramifications of the Watson Family over time and place. She knows more than anyone about the subject, and knows how to talk about it.
So, how ‘bout it Nancy? (I told you I was pushy).
Anyway, there’s no reason for me to assume I will necessarily have anything to do with project except watch Nancy create it, but for the record—and isn’t that what blogs are for?—I really want to.
In a similar way, I don‘t know if anyone of you is at all interested in this, but in case you are, remember: you heard it here first.
Written but not rewritten, July 31, 2009.