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Doc & Merle Watson

Home Sweet Home – 1998 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Doc & Merle Watson

If you needed proof that bluegrass has stayed true to its roots, this album provides it. It's loaded with timeless tunes you might see cut today, but it was started 30 years ago.

The gem is Merle's banjo. When he and his dad made this recording he'd been playing only five months. Without doubt the abilities showcased here are the marks of a young man blessed with talent, a talent cut short by his untimely death just a few years ago. Thanks to modern technology, the original tape was edited to allow the insertion of Sam Bush and Marty Stuart (and others) to fill out the Doc and Merle duo from '67, making this a recording that could be given to anyone with the comment, "This is bluegrass."

Doc is no different than he was before 1967 and since, a master of the flattop, an untrained vocalist who will rivet your attention anytime you hear him. Whether it's TradGrass like "John Henry" or Flatt & Scruggs' "Down the Road" Doc makes each one his own.