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

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 4 customer ratings
(4 customer reviews)

$80.00

  • NOTICE: There will be a short delay in shipping orders, until 6/19/17, while we wait for new inventory.  Thank you for making this release so popular!
  • 7 CD Box Set from 4 nights of shows as played in 1974.
  • This is the first box set of live recordings ever released of Doc & Merle Watson, containing 7 CDs and 94 tracks spanning 4 nights of shows.
  • Features a 16-page booklet of liner notes, including new material from Watson collaborators T. Michael Coleman (who plays bass on these recordings) and David Holt.
  • The first Bear’s Sonic Journals release produced entirely by the Owsley Stanley Foundation from Owsley’s storied trove of live concert recordings.
  • Exclusive debut April 27th at the 30th annual MerleFest, the premiere bluegrass festival named after Merle Watson and hosted in Wilkesboro, North Carolina near the Watsons’ family home.  General release June 23, until then only available at OwsleyStanleyFoundation.org

Description

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

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

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    These discs blew me away. The sound is phenomenal! It’s like your sitting in the room with Doc and Merle. I got an emotional response from hearing Doc so clear. I can’t say enough about the sound quality. It’s worth buying for that alone. But that’s only a part of what makes this set a real gem; four superb nights with Doc and Merle playing at their best. Plus the banter is wonderful. The Owsley folks must have released this set first to get people pumped for more because it is so good. I can’t say enough positive things about this boxed set and can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeve.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Picked these up at Merlefest (thanks guys!)- and I couldn’t be happier. I have to say the sound quality makes it hard to believe this could possibly be a 43 year old recording. In the car- or better yet, sitting on the couch with some quality headphones- you would think Doc and Merle were sitting right next to you. Kudos on releasing the entire package of recordings, listening to the different “takes” of the same tune on different nights is part of the appeal. Great job!!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    I bought this box set at MerleFest. I was hopeful, but I wasn’t really sure what I had until I played the cd’s. This set is a treasure. These are the best live recordings of Doc and Merle Watson that I’ve ever heard. It took me right back to my own experience seeing them in the 70’s. Still, it’s impossible to adequately describe just how good this is–you’ll be amazed when you hear it. I’m looking forward to future releases from Bear’s archives.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent recordings and essential for anyone wanting to hear the essence of Doc and Merle performing live! Several years earlier I heard Doc perform at a County Fairground and these recordings brought back vivid memories. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the family and speaking with Stanley’s son at MerleFest. I know that his father made the recordings for the Old and in the Way at the Boarding House and his connection with the Wall of Sound, however wasn’t aware he had these additional recordings. I await the additional gems lurking in the treasure chest of sound.

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