Doc Watson - The Preacher and the Bicycle

Artist: Doc Watson

Song: The Preacher and The Bicycle

Album: Doc Watson on Stage (1971)


“Rap before there was rap!”


One of Doc Watson's finest later records, Doc Watson on Stage is a virtual travelogue of his entire career in one record, almost a greatest-hits record, live. Assisted by Merle Watson, the program flows from lightning fast hoedowns such as "Brown's Ferry Blues," where Watson picks lightning fast with a dexterity that is almost unbelievable. His feel and command of the instrument is truly incredible. "Open Up Them Pearly Gates for Me" has a similar effect. There are also numerous stories and patter (mostly about the songs) in between the cuts, and it guides you through the performance. Watson also shines on this album as well, especially his exquisite fingerpicking on "Banks of the Ohio." A timeless slice from one of the fathers of modern country music. ~ Matthew Greenwald, All Music Guide


Doc Watson is well known as one of the best flatpicking guitarists in the genres of Old Time, Bluegrass and Folk. He is possibly the one who is responsible for transfering the guitar from only a rythm instrument into a soloinstrument in these kinds of music, by learning how to do the old fiddletunes on the guitar. And how he does it? He is a virtuoso on his instrument. 
On this live recording, first released in 1982 as a dobbel LP, he is joined by his son Merle, and it is possibly one of the most beautiful records he has ever made. Doc sings and plays the guitar, and on some numbers the mouthorgan too. Merle accompanies him on guitar, and gets the chance to kick in a couple of numbers of his own. 
There is a nice and warm and relaxed atmosphere in the concert. Doc tells a few jokes and you get the feeling that you are sitting around in his livingroom. 




The Preacher and The Bicycle as told by Doc Watson:


There's a couple of preachers, a Baptist and a Methodist, livin' in either end of a little community, and it was back in the days when people didn't have many cars -- they rode bicycles to church.

And one Sunday mornin', when the Methodist feller comes a-whistlin' along down the road on his bicycle, he meets that Baptist boy walkin'.

And he asked him where his bike was, and he says, "You know, I don't know where that thing's at -- if someone didn't steal it," he said, "I've left it somewhere's and forgot what I'd done with it."

"Well," he said, "I'll tell you," the Methodist feller says, "I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll go down to the churches this mornin' and preach a good sermon on the Ten Commandments -- and when we get down to where it says 'Thou shall not steal', we'll dwell long and loud, and chances are one of our sermons will pay off."

Next Sunday mornin', they come ridin' along down the road, he met the Baptist feller, he had his bicycle, he says, "Well, one of our sermons paid off!"

And the Baptist boy dropped his head, he says, "Yeah, mine did, but not like you think," he says, "When I got down there to where it says 'Covet not thy neighbor's wife', I remembered where I'd left my bicycle!"

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