To me this album opens up some good old memories of jam sessions and earlier times -- before David's time -- because of the good old tunes on it. Lord, man, you don't know what a pleasure it was to invite David Grisman up when he was just 17.... all those shows and little sets I was doing as an opening act at Gerde's Folk City... that was in the dues-paving days. That young 'un could pick then, man. We played tunes like ''Soldier's Joy,'' "East Tennessee Blues" and Bill Monroe's "Roanoke" -- a bunch of those good things. He tore that mandolin up even back then. He had a talent that a lot of young folks envied.
I really have enjoyed this album -- that ''All About You'' song takes me back to my courtin' days... yes it does; it opens some memory pages. And those sessions at David's house and those good meals Pam prepared - both those folks are so cordial when you visit them. People will really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere the thing creates when you listen to it, as well as enjoying the old-time music -- and the other tunes that aren't so old-timey.
This one will be around awhile, I'd say.
--- ARTHEL WATSON
In 1960 folklorist/musician Ralph Rinzler (my neighbor and guru) returned home to Passaic, New Jersey with those newly recorded tapes of the legendary banjo player and singer, Clarence ''Tom'' Ashley, and his neighbors from Shouns, Tennessee and Deep Gap. North Carolina. I remember hearing them for the first time, and that incredible flat-picking, heard mostly in the background - the first recordings of Arthel "Doc'' Watson.
When Ralph brought these same musicians up north the following year, Doc and I became friends, hanging out at Ralph's apartment and roaming the streets of New York City. One of the big thrills of my musical life was when, one night at Gerde's, Doc invited me to play and sing a duet with him. Looking back on it, that rendition of ''In the Pines'' probably launched my career!
Throughout the years, Doc and I have never missed a chance to pick together. These tapes document some wonderful ''after-dinner'' sessions at my home during several of Doc's visits. Tunes were selected spontaneously and more often than not, played only once. We're pleased to share some of these moments.
--- DAVID GRISMAN
lt's always a pleasure to hear these two pick and I suspect that's why you're reading these notes and listening to their music.
I've admired Doc's picking on shows and recordings as well as his harmonica and jew's-harp playing ever since l first heard him backing up Tom Ashley on ''Coo Coo Bird" over 35 years ago. Since then he's had a wide-ranging musical journey, always fleet-fingered, tasteful and rock-solid-down-to-earth. I love his line of talk; it gathers us all in gracefully and makes us feel welcome. How many singers can excel at giving us both ''Frankie and Johnny'' and ''Summertime''?
I've enjoyed David's unique mando-touch ever since his bluegrass days in the mid-1960s. His wide-ranging musical associations, choice of music and founding of Acoustic Disc have been vital in helping bring the mandolin -- and acoustic string jazz in general -- to a wider public acceptance. He's made it possible for us to hear such other brilliant mandolinists as Jacob do Bandolim, Jethro Burns and Radim Zenkl.
It's refreshing to hear Doc and David, just the two of them most of the time, so that we can clearly appreciate the joyful, playful interaction of two masterful musicians.
Hearing them back one another is both instructive and a pleasure. In addition to their solid picking and Doc's mellow singing are a bunch of nice surprises: a relaxed ''Bluegrass Stomp,'' a triple-paced "Sweet Georgia Brown'' and some fun with ''Soldier's Joy'' to name just a few. Jack Lawrence's duet runs with Doc are gems.
More than merely impressive pickers, both Doc and Dawg have enlivened our musical lives. They've helped guide progressive acoustic music for over 30 years. It's a joy to hear their musical journeys join for these 50 minutes.
--- MIKE SEEGER
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