Doc & Merle Watson: Never the Same Way Once – Live at the Boarding House – May 1974

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Doc & Merle Watson: Never the Same Way Once – Live at the Boarding House – May 1974

This set of exquisitely recorded live concerts of Doc & Merle Watson at The Boarding House in San Francisco is from 4 live shows recorded in 1974 by the legendary soundman Owsley Stanley. It contains 94 tracks on 7 CDs, including several rare tracks and songs played for the first/only time by Doc & Merle. This is the first box set of live concert recordings of Doc & Merle Watson and is the first release created by the Owsley Stanley Foundation, a non-profit established to preserve and steward Owsley’s legendary recordings, which are renowned for their quality and clarity. These performances have not been heard since the nights they were played more than 40 years ago and have been preserved and restored to the highest audiophile standards. Each night is distinctly brilliant and equally captivating – reflecting differences in the playing, sound recording techniques, and the energy in the room.

Doc Watson was a legendary American flat-picking guitarist, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and gospel music, who won 7 GRAMMY Awards and a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. He performed with his son, the multi-instrumentalist Merle Watson, for more than 15 years until Merle’s death in 1985. Live recordings from this peak period for Doc and Merle in the 1970s are rare.

1960’s counter-culture icon Owsley Stanley, known as “Bear” to his friends, was an audio innovator who helped create the first high-fidelity concert sound systems for rock and roll. As an early patron and first soundman of the Grateful Dead, he amplified, recorded, and influenced many other seminal artists in the psychedelic music scene of San Francisco and beyond in the 1960s and early 1970s, and was known for his focus on products of the highest quality. From the start, Bear recorded nearly every artist that played through a sound system that he built, trying to capture the music precisely as the audience heard it, using the recordings to help him improve his sound. The techniques he developed to create what he called his “Sonic Journals” resulted in recordings of unparalleled quality and clarity, capturing the sound of the room like no-one else.

‘Never the Same Way Once’ was mastered by Jeffrey Norman of Mockingbird Mastering, a frequent Grateful Dead mastering engineer and one of Bear’s trusted friends and colleagues. State-of-the-art Plangent Process transfer techniques were used to remove subtle timing distortions created by the recording and playback devices (wow and flutter), resulting in the most accurate replication of the music, exactly as it was heard on the night it was played.

This 7 CD set is packaged in a 5.5 inch wide x 5 inch high x 1.75 inch deep box, featuring 94 tracks, including extraordinary flatpicking of a broad range of music, from bluegrass to swing jazz to rockabilly to gut-bucket blues, and contemporary folk.

The included 16 page booklet contains contemporaneous photographs of Doc & Merle as well as of “Old Hoss,” Doc’s first Gallagher guitar which he played from 1968-1974. Old Hoss was retired after this tour and is also featured in the cover art ​​– an original poster by ​frequent ​Grateful Dead ​artist, Mike DuBois, based on a design by Bear’s son, Starfinder. Also included is a new in-depth interview with bassist T. Michael Coleman, who performs with Doc and Merle on these recordings, and an original essay by David Holt, 4-time GRAMMY winner and a longtime Doc Watson collaborator.

Future releases from this box set will be available on half-speed master, 45 RPM 180g audiophile vinyl and on reel-to-reel analog tape, both mastered directly analog-to-analog by Paul Stubblebine, who worked with Bear on the Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin Sonic Journals album released by Sony in 2012.

Chapter 1: May 1, 1974 (reels 038-040) -One disc

Salty Dog Blues
Doc’s Talking Blues
Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas)
Miss The Mississippi & You
Wabash Cannonball
Nancy Rowland
Solid Gone
Tennessee Stud
Frosty Morn
Matchbox Blues
Mama Don’t Allow No Music
Deep Elem Blues
Chapter 2: May 2, 1974 (reels 028-032) – Two discs

Introduction
Good Ole Mountain Dew
Travellin’ Man
Miss The Mississippi & You
Wabash Cannonball
Leather Britches/Cotton Eyed Joe
A Rovin’ on a Winter’s Night
Tennessee Stud
Black Mountain Rag
St. James Infirmary
Love Me
Blue Suede Shoes
Sweet Georgia Brown
Lonesome Moan
The Clouds Gwine Roll Away
Three Times Seven
Peach Pickin’ Time In Georgia
Poor Boy Blues
Nancy Rowland/Salt Creek
Alberta
Movin’ On
Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!
Walk on Boy
Nothin’ To It
Blue Railroad Train
Brown’s Ferry Blues
Beaumont Rag
Chapter 3: May 3, 1974 (reels 033-037) – Two discs

New River Train
Doggone My Time
Peach Pickin’ Time in Georgia
Poor Boy Blues
Nancy Rowland/Salt Creek
Alberta
Natural Born Gamblin’ Man
Doc’s Guitar
Matchbox Blues
Streamlined Cannonball
Summertime
Love Me
Blue Suede Shoes
Mama Don’t Allow No Music
Freight Train Boogie
Life Gets Teejus Don’t It
Miss the Mississippi & You
Wabash Cannonball
Leather Britches/Cotton-Eyed Joe
Bye Bye Bluebell
Tennessee Stud
South Coast
Sweet Georgia Brown
St. James Infirmary
Step It Up & Go
Jailhouse Rock
Chapter 4: May 4, 1974 (reels 041-046) – Two discs

Introduction
Way Down Town
Billboard Song
Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas)
Miss the Mississippi & You
Poor Boy Blues
Nancy Rowland/Old Joe Clark
Chicken Road
The Last Thing on My Mind
Solid Gone
South Coast
Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Summertime
Love Me
Jailhouse Rock
Hound Dog
Brown’s Ferry Blues
Gambler’s Yodel
Peach Pickin’ Time in Georgia
Wabash Cannonball
Beaumont Rag
In the Jailhouse Now
Lovesick Blues
Black Mountain Rag
Tennessee Stud
St. James Infirmary
Sheik of Araby
Step It Up & Go
Mama Don’t Allow No Music