This two-fer CD gathers a pair of LPs by country duo Doc and Merle Watson, THEN AND NOW and TWO DAYS IN NOVEMBER.
Personnel: Doc Watson (guitar, harmonica); Merle Watson (guitar, banjo); Jim Colvard (guitar); Norman Blake (dobro); Vassar Clements (fiddle); Chuck Cochran, Ken Lauber (piano).
Liner Note Author: John Tobler.
Photographer: Mike Salisbury.
Unknown Contributor Role: Kenny Malone.
Arrangers: Doc Watson; Merle Watson.
Following the phenomenal success of 1972's Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Doc Watson and his son Merle Watson signed with independent label Poppy Records and released three wonderful albums, Elementary Doctor Watson! (1972), Then and Now (1973), and Two Days in November (1974), all three of which were produced by the legendary Jack Clement. These have been reissued in different combinations several times in the CD era by various labels, usually with a track or two lopped off for mysterious reasons. Sugar Hill issued truncated versions of Then and Now and Two Days in November (both of which won a Grammy in their original incarnations) on a single disc in 1994, and Capitol's Songs from Home (1992) compilation also draws from the Poppy material. Beat Goes On's edition of the two Grammy-winning albums trumps the Sugar Hill version by adding in the missing tracks plus a couple from Elementary Doctor Watson! The result is a delightful disc that features Watson's take on several folk-blues pieces, including "Milkcow Blues," "Match Box Blues," George and Ira Gershwin's "Summertime," Mel Tillis' "Walk on Boy," "Poor Boy Blues," and "Lonesome Moan," not to mention a steamrolling version of Frank Hutchison's "The Train That Carried My Girl from Town." Doc has never made a bad album, but the energy and versatility that he and Merle display on these classic tracks is particularly inspired, and having the complete sequences of Then and Now and Two Days in November finally together on one disc makes this one the edition to get. ~ Steve Leggett