blues stay away from me

Arthel L. “Doc” Watson, 3 March 1923, Stony Fork, near Deep Gap, Watauga County, North Carolina, USA. One of nine children in a farming family, Watson grew up in a musical environment; his mother, Annie, had a vast knowledge of folk songs and his father, General Dixon, played banjo and led his family in nightly hymn singing. He contracted a serious eye defect as a baby and was blind by the age of two. Owing to family poverty and his blindness, he received no formal schooling until he was 10, when he attended the State School for the Blind at Raleigh. Disliking the treatment he received at the school, he left after only a year and gained much of his later education from talking books and Braille. During his life, Watson has never surrendered to his disability and he attributed his determination to the training he received from his father, who encouraged him to work on the farm and attempt various tasks that at first appeared impossible for a blind person. He played harmonica as a child until, at the age of 11, his father gave him a home-made banjo, reputedly with the head covered by the skin of the recently departed family cat. A year later he obtained his first guitar and quickly mastered the instrument by accompanying recordings by artists such as the Carter Family, Riley Puckett and the Carolina Tar Heels that were played on the family’s Victrolla and on radio broadcasts from the Grand Ole Opry.

Source: Doc Watson Biography

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