Home > Diary, Thoughts > Another Man Done A Full Go Round

Another Man Done A Full Go Round

We knew that Doc Watson was in the hospital… I heard about it when I went to Italy. This morning as I was reading the news I saw that he passed yesterday. The caption to this entry is a title of a Roy Book Binder song that I recorded on River Of Time a couple of years ago and in this context it seems sadly fitting.

It was Roy who first got me to Merlefest in the late nineties and on that trip John Cowan approached me and asked me if I wanted to sit in on one of those memorable gangtwangs with Doc. This was so long ago I was still playing the blue Gibson Starburst… I remember it well. It is resting at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for a while. Anyway, there I am, a guest of Doc’s on the main stage. Before the set, I remember asking him only half in jest, ‘Be gentle with me. I’m just an old folkie.’ Well, gentle and gracious he was. We all passed solos around and after mine, Doc ‘looked’ in my direction and said, ‘Take it again Jorma!’ This moment will always live comfortably in my house of memories.

It has been a distinct honor for all of us to have shared space on this earth with Doc and I know that he now plays in the Heavenly Band and that the Circle is truly unbroken.

Rest well elder brother… your work on earth is done.

Say hello to Levon and my old dog Marlo for me… Thanks!

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  1. Brett
    May 30th, 2012 at 09:25 | #1

    I’ll bet him and Merle are pickin’ up a storm right now!!

  2. Angelo
    May 30th, 2012 at 09:25 | #2

    It’s has been a bitter pill in the world of music this year.

  3. Dave Millard
    May 30th, 2012 at 09:35 | #3

    I’ve heard he was a true gentleman, as well as a dazzling talent – he will be missed

  4. Brian Workman
    May 30th, 2012 at 09:45 | #4

    One of the thrills of my life was attending a Ricky Scaggs picking party at Wolf Trap with Doc as the main star. I was sitting front row center and during the break between Seldom Scene and Doc, the stage was dark. I was sitting there and all of a sudden a voice came out of nowhere and said, Heythere, how ya doing? It was Doc, and he started talking to me about guitars, Martin vs Gallagher. When I Got my Gallagher Doc Watson model, it meant so much to me. Farewell Arthel. Pick with Earl, Bill Monroe, Jimmie Rogers, and your son Merle/

  5. May 30th, 2012 at 09:49 | #5

    I had the privilege of attending a Doc and Merle show many years back. It truly stands out as a bright star memory in my life.

  6. Tom Ferrell
    May 30th, 2012 at 10:51 | #6

    Thanks for the words on Doc, Jorma. You make the first time playing with Doc sound like I felt when I had to perform for you at Fur Peace. Those universal experiences are so much of the musical connection.

    There won’t ever be another Doc Watson. What a privilege it was to see and hear him on many occasions. We continue onward, both richer and poorer today.

  7. Cyndy Consentino
    May 30th, 2012 at 11:04 | #7

    Dear Jorma,
    So sad! Heard about his passing on NPR this
    morning. So much loss in the musical world this
    year.

  8. joe in DC
    May 30th, 2012 at 12:59 | #8

    i agree with Cyndy………so sad…. carry on…………..

  9. Greg C
    May 30th, 2012 at 13:59 | #9

    Speaking of NPR, this morning they did a story on fish that have measurable levels of radioactivity from the Fukishima fallout, and the commentator couldn’t resist throwing in a Hot Tuna reference at the end.

  10. May 30th, 2012 at 14:05 | #10

    @Greg C
    gives a new meaning to the phrase “Hot Tuna”

  11. Bill Rodgers
    May 30th, 2012 at 16:09 | #11

    “Hot Fukishima Tuna!” Had to be said…

  12. Bob Kelly
    May 31st, 2012 at 08:20 | #12

    Yes indeed.. kind words Jorma.. DOC Watson,another American classic has gone.. Amen

  13. rich lindbloom
    June 2nd, 2012 at 17:44 | #13

    “Silver birches lined against the road
    Branches lying in the winter snow…”

    We indeed lost a good one Jorma. I loved to listen to Doc kibbitz before, during and after songs. Always wanted to send him the piece below – who knows, maybe he’s eavesdropping now.

    “The sun goes up and the sun goes down.
    Hands on the clock they just keep going around.
    I just get up and it’s time to lay down.
    Life gets tee-jus don’t it?” – Hank williams Jr.

    “Bloom, Merle died!” exclaimed a forlorn voice. Stalling for time, I tried not only to figure out who Merle “was” but who was on the other end of the line. Reaching back through the cobwebs that increrasingly seem to hold the past in abeyance, I did my best to recall who the party at the other end of the line was referring to. I couldn’t pull up any recollections of “Merle,” but had but had bought enough time to realize i was talking to Dan O’Connor.

    It turned out Dan was talking about Merle Watson, the son of the blind guitar picker extraordinaire from North Carolina, Doc Watson. The light bulb finaly clicked on. We saw Doc, Merle and the boys a few times back in the late 70’s at Amazing grace in Evanston, Il. While Doc Watson would never fill the United Center, I find myself singing the songs he recorded some 30 years later. One of those songs was a cover of the Hank williams Jr. song, “Life gets tee-jus don’t it.” It’s one I find myself reflecting on increasingly as the sand in the hour glass picks up speed!

    My freshman year at Hillcrest H. S., we were required to take a health class. In between giggling about the descriptions of the female and male reproductive systems, our teacher said something I’ll never forget. He was probably in his late 40’s and often times appeared to be staring out into space. While focusing on the back wall he said, “All those little aches and pains you feel are a sign of something wrong with the body.” When your 14, that statement just doesn’t register like it does when you approach 60. It seems those twinges of pain are picking up in frequency as the years fly by. Have you ever had a sharp pain in your abdomen and find yourself wondering, “Whoa, what was that all about?”

    I’ve had what I called a groin pull for the last 8 years or so. It’s one of those nagging injuries that you just sort of put up with. After promisisng my wife I’d make a doctor’s apponitment for the last six years, she finally made one for me. Let me tell you, waiting rooms can be a bit on the gloomy side of the street. There is not a whole lot of shaking going on in there-in fact it’s eerily quiet. Eventually though, a smiling nurse took me to a small, cold, antiseptic smelling room where i nervously awaited the doctor.

    When the door cracked open, I thought about making a run for it. Too late, the door had closed and the doctor had strategically placed himself between me and my escape route. “What brings you here,” the young doctor asked. Actually, after not seeing a doctor in over 20 years, I had accumulated an varied assortment of ailments.

    “I’m here for the 100,000 mile check up,” as i finally resigned myself to let the sticking, pricking, probing and testing begin. At my age, it’s no longer take two aspirin and call me in the morning remedies. After my initial exam it was off to see Dr. Procto, an audiologist and an orthopedic specialist.

    Dr. Ortho had no problem diagnosing my groing pull as an arthritic hip without even looking at an x-ray. after i had visited all my “new friends,” I was to report back with the results. As I cupped my hand to my ear, I wasn’t exactly overcome with enthusiasm when the primary doc said, “Actually, you’re holding up pretty good for your age.”

    Doctor’s get tee-jus don’t they?

    Ah youth, where for art thou. There’s a verse in a Taj Mahal song that goes “Remember the feeling as a child, when you woke up and morning smiled.”
    It reminds me of my grandma and uncle who lived a block away from us. I used to rise with the sun and walk over to thier house in my pj’s, whistling at the birds along the way. I knew my uncle would be bringing long john’s home from Osborne’s bakery after mass at St. Annes. Now if you never tasted one, you’ll have to take my word for it. The long john from that bakery on a scale of 1 to 10 were a Mt. Everest. They had no equal. Sometimes my uncle would let me eat two of them.

    As time and nature continue to change my proportions, I struggle with my conscious to eat one long john when someone brings them to the office. After cutting one in half, i head back to my desk only to return moments later to see if the other half is still available.

    Watching our portions gets tee-jus don’t it?

    Our health isn’t the only thing that becomes tee-jus as we age. It seems were inundated with a never ending barrage of taks to accomplish each day. Any of the following tasks can lead to serious consequences if left unattended to; laundry, bathing, shaving, shopping, washing floors, flossing, getting gas, taking out the garbage, doing dishes, getting the oil changed, homework, clipping toe nails, hair cuts, paying bills etc. I’m sure we could easily triple this list. I know there’s more than one mom out there who’d like to pull her hair out when the kids ask, “What’s for dinner?” Joan Rivers said it best; “You make your bed and clean the dishes and 6 months later you do it all again.”Sheeesh! and to think we call this progress. All the caveman had to do was hunt, gather and out run an occasional T-Rex.

    Chores get tee-jus don’t they.

    Lately, getting out of a car after a two hour ride can be an adventure. I try not to drive longer than that for fear of rigormortis setting in. It’s a bit ironic that just when you think you can afford a Corvette, you struggle to get in and out of it. How low can you go?! Have you ever walked into a room and asked yourself, “What did I come in here for?” As exercise becomes more tee-jus, we seem to view the exercise equipment more as rest or talk stations. Ever had one of those young whippersnappers come up to you and ask, “Mister, are you using that machine?” I know I’m not the only one!

    Those first measured steps in the morning are becoming increasingly tee-jus. It’s important to give the brain enough time to remember the knee bone’s connected to thigh bone, the thigh bones connected to the arthritic hip bone and so on up the line.

    Actually, I beleive life gets tee-jus due to our concerted efforts to forestall the effects of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As we struggle to keep order in out lives, the universes inexorable trend is towards disorder. Sorry folks, the deck is staked against us.

    Entropy gets tee-jus don’t it.

    Well it’s time to start cleaning out the dang gutters and mowing the grass. While glancing over the check list of things to do to combat the disorder in my life, I’ve decided to add two more things. First, locate a good Cabernet. Secondly, dig an old Doc Watson album off the shelf. At my age this is considered living large. Actually, Nathalie has been after me for some time to get those old records off the shelf, and take them to Good Will. I’m sure there are days when her soltion to entropy is to drop me off ther also!

    However, as i sit and listen to the Doc Watson’s song, “Can’t help but wonder where i’m bound, where I’m bound…” I find i’m briefly transported back to a time “when morning smiled.”

    Yes as Doc sang,

    “The cows gone dry and the hen won’t lay.
    Fish quit biting last Saturday.
    Troubles pile up day by day.
    Now I’m getting dandriff.”

    Life gets tee-jus don’t it?

    “Take it again Jorma.”

  14. June 3rd, 2012 at 06:37 | #14

    I’m very sorry. Goodbye Doc!

  15. Bruce
    June 3rd, 2012 at 11:51 | #15

    @Bill Rodgers
    You got that one right! Just in on radioactive Pacific Blue Fin Tuna–Yellow Fin Atlantic still okay…wondering where my Bumble Bee comes from? Atlantic I think-as for me I may just stick to good old Hot F-gin Tuna on DVD (or vinyl if I can ever nab an unscratched Yellow Fever I would kill for it!)…Jorma-thanks for the post-seems we have more pals in heaven/other side of the matrix than here-but we are all heading for that band-I am hoping when I get there I finally get to toot my horn with you and Jerry..that would be a blast (literally)….Stay well buddy…you should keep playing well into your 90s my man!

  16. Joel McBride
    June 3rd, 2012 at 14:16 | #16

    I was at Merle fest the year Jorma references and got to turn on my newlywed wife to it all! Very Cool. Especially when Jorma spoke about the Rev. Gary Davis and she asked me: “Is this guy a gospel singer?”
    I only wish I had gotten to see and hear Doc more. Going to see Jorma with my brother in Mass July 7th. Really looking forward to that as always….