Sittin' Here Pickin' the Blues

Sittin' Here Pickin' the Blues

4.0 1
by Doc Watson, Merle Watson
     
 

An encapsulation in Doc and Merle Watson's broad definition of the blues, and a case study of gifted musicians working wonders with stringed instruments, Sittin' Here Pickin' the Blues was originally released on the Flying Fish label in 1985 and sees expanded reissue with eight bonus tracks drawn from the Watsons' Flying Fish catalogue. Doc, on guitar and…  See more details below

Overview

An encapsulation in Doc and Merle Watson's broad definition of the blues, and a case study of gifted musicians working wonders with stringed instruments, Sittin' Here Pickin' the Blues was originally released on the Flying Fish label in 1985 and sees expanded reissue with eight bonus tracks drawn from the Watsons' Flying Fish catalogue. Doc, on guitar and vocals, and his gifted son, the late Merle, on slide guitar are supported throughout by T. Michael Coleman on bass and, on most cuts, by the estimable Sam Bush on fiddle and mandolin. The additional tracks include the likes of Mark O'Connor, Herb Pedersen, Charlie Musselwhite, Elvis Presley's drummer Ron Tutt, and even Tom Scott on clarinet (adding a delightful solo on a swinging rendition of Jimmie Rodgers's "Any Old Time"). These fellows can do no wrong here. The instrumental interplay is as vibrant and soulful as it is flawlessly executed, and Doc's earthy baritone delivers the emotional content in spades. When Bush and O'Connor join the festivities, their fiddle sorties wending through the hot picking transport the feel of the songs from the Appalachian backwoods to the Hot Club of France. These blues come in all shades, though -- from a faithful rendition (yodeling included) of Rodgers's "Hobo Bill's Last Ride" to a down-and-dirty take on the Sonny Terry–Brownie McGhee song "I'm a Stranger Here" (with Doc blowing some low-down harp) to a slow, grinding reading of the Ted Koehler–Harold Arlen chestnut "Stormy Weather." Doc goes it solo for a tasty version of W. C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues," and he and Merle get into some stimulating guitar dialogue, abetted only by Coleman's bass, on the pop-ish instrumental "Windy and Warm." This classic just got a whole lot better.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
While many folk-country artists have long since severed their connections with the blues, guitarist Doc Watson has never forgotten his. Watson's commitment to the blues deepened as his son, the late Merle Watson, picked up the guitar and joined him on-stage and in the studio. Sittin' Here Pickin' the Blues reaches back to several Doc and Merle Watson albums recorded for Rounder in the early- to mid-'80s, including the classic Pickin' the Blues. All of the 20 cuts emphasize the bluesy side of country music, from founding father Jimmie Rodgers to the Piedmont picking style of John Hurt to favorite standards like "How Long Blues." As with most of Watson and son's efforts, they surround themselves with good musicians -- Sam Bush, Mark O'Connor, and T. Michael Coleman -- and rely on straightforward arrangements that allow everyone a chance to solo. Perhaps the greatest treat, though, is the guitar playing. On a number of cuts -- including "Freight Train Blues," "Hobo Bill's Last Ride," and "Mississippi Heavy Water Blues" -- Merle Watson plays slide, while Doc Watson brings his distinct fingerpicking style to each cut. Sittin' Here Pickin' the Blues also offers a few nice surprises, like versions of "Stormy Weather" and "St. Louis Blues." This is a superb collection, sure to please Watson fans, guitar players, and anyone who enjoys honest acoustic music.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/13/2004
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661161726
Rank:
46481

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Doc Watson   Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Merle Watson   Primary Artist,Guitar,Slide Guitar
Charlie Musselwhite   Harmonica
Sam Bush   Fiddle,Mandolin
Tom Scott   Clarinet
T. Michael Coleman   Bass,Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Mitch Greenhill   Rhythm Guitar
Pat McInerney   Percussion
Herb Pedersen   Vocal Harmony
Joe Smothers   Vocal Harmony
Ron Tutt   Drums

Technical Credits

Leroy Carr   Composer
Sam Bush   Producer
Jimmie Rodgers   Composer
Doc Watson   Composer,Author
Tom Paxton   Composer
W.C. Handy   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Richard Adler   Engineer
Brownie McGhee   Composer
Hank Cicalo   Enhanced CD Audio Creation
T. Michael Coleman   Composer
Mitch Greenhill   Producer
John D. Loudermilk   Composer
Sonny Terry   Composer
Merle Watson   Producer
Ernie Winfrey   Engineer
Steven Jurgensmeyer   Art Direction
Carl Rudisill   Engineer
Ted Koehler   Composer
Traditional   Composer

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Sittin' Here Pickin' the Blues 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
It is hard to be objective since I'm writing this review a few days after Doc's passing. This collection focuses on his country blues side. His voice and guitar and Merle's picking anchor the music. They had the gift of making their recordings sound as if they were sitting on the porch playing with some friends, and you felt as if you were there. Their Flying Fish albums were some of their best. The rest of them can be found on Black Mountain Rag. Roots music owes a huge debt to both Doc and Merle for keeping musicians like the Carter Family alive by bringing their songs to new listeners.