the Michigan Daily __
Friday, March 14, 1986
Doc cures common chord
By Joseph Kraus
E yen someone as blind as Doc
Watson himself could see that
the master guitarist did as fine a job
as anybody in the world could have
done at serving up that pickin' an'
grinnin' on Wednesday night.
Watson, accompanied by guitarist
Jack Lawrence and bassist T.
Michael Coleman, played a mixed bag
of blues, bluegrass, folk, and country
tunes in each of their two hour-and-a-
half shows, and still left the sold out
crowd at the Ark calling for more.
Watson is most famous as the flat-
pick guitarist who transformed the
guitar into a lead, as opposed to
rhythm, instrument in bluegrass.
True to form,he seemed to get faster
and sharper as the night progressed
until it just wasn't possible to follow
everything he was doing.
Each song the trio did seemed bet-
ter than the last, but "I Don't Love
You" (of "Nothin' to it") and "Soldier
of Joy" seemed as strong as any of the
Watson also has a rich, mellow
voicethat captures the Blue Ridge
essence that's such a part of his songs.
Harmonizing on the choruses with
Coleman and anybody in the audience
who felt like it, he made classic coun-
try folk songs like "Don't Let Your
Deal Go Down," "Deep River Blues,"
and "The Wabash Cannonball" seem
like old friends dressed in bluegrass
As if the guitar and singing weren't
enough already, Doc pulled out his
harmonica three or four times and
showed he can play his second in-
strument better than most can play a
first. In fact, for his encore, he ap-
peared without guitar or sidemen and
played a harmonica number called
"Lost John" complete with train
imitation and folksy story.
Lawrence and Coleman were able
accompianists for the master, which
says a lot in itself. Doc and Lawrence
traded leads throughout the show, and
sometimes it was impossible to figure
out who was doing what. Coleman,
who made a big hit at the Ann Arbor
folk festival in January when he filled
in for his broken bass by singing his
bass line, kept a low profile most of
The contrast between the affable
Watson and his sideman, though,
showed how vital Doc's good nature
has been in making him one of the
world's most beloved performers.
From start to finish he seemed to love
being on stage, but he never treated
the show as anything more enner-
vating than an evening at home
around the fireplace.
At 63 years old Watson doesn't show
any signs of slowing down. Having
been here in January for the festival,
it's doubtful he'll be back soon. But if
he is, be sure to catch him; he's an
innovator, a star, and a warm hearted
Lansing guitarist Ray Kamalay
played a 20 minute opening set that
would surely have put a lesser
guitaristthan Doc to shame.
Kamalay, acknowledging that it was
"a little intimidating" to play guitar
before Doc Watson, nevertheless let
his own six strings do the talking.
A combination folklorist and jazz
trivia addict, he seemed most at home
adapting minstrel and jazz standards
to intricate guitar arrangements. His
version of Earl "Fatha" Hines'
"Rosetta" was reason enough to start
looking for his records.
Gifted with a far richer and jazzier
voice than his very professional ap-
See DOC, Page 8
Daily Fhoto by CHRIS TWIGG.
Syd Straw and Lisa Herman providing some of the highlights to Wed-
nesday night's performance by the Golden Palominos.
Broken or ta med.?
By Rob Michaels
ever to violate the sanctum san-
ctorum of my innocent inner ear. The
naty r tiv dimn thatd d nnria
Last Wednesday night, drum- '..ceaive aemons Gna i,.nu s
mer/composer Anton Fier led The freely on the band's debut LP seem
Golden Palominos into town for a one beaten to a festering pulp. This stuff
n sta n t towNectarine would be more at home in the young
night stand at the ol' necdre adults (25-35) bar at your average
ballroom. Their performance drew mnidwestern Ramada Inn. Record it
strange but not unresolvable conflicts adwysernRudarInn eight
up from the darker depths of the and you could spearhead an eight
.aesthetic corner of my said. track tape revivalist movement. With
A. (on one hand) Something is their narcoleptic version of generic
frightfully wrong. I mean here is this hard rock, the new Palominos make
odd combination of somewhat famous Jimmy J.J. "Kid Dynamite"
'musicians (some more famous than Walker's comedy albums seem like
others) linked together only through gripping and revolutionary enter-
their common complacency, churningstimentsxienes. dgdyindeedre
out what has got to be some of the sentiments like these did indeed raise
most comfortable, undynamic, mid- their dirty little voices at the Nec-
dle-aged, and insufferably dull music See OVE RTAMED, Page 8
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