Doc & Merle Watson - Never the Same Way Once: May 2, 1974 (2LP)


Half-speed analog-to-analog mastered, 180-gram 45 RPM Double LP

A stunning all-analog production painstakingly mastered by Paul Stubblebine directly from the original source tape!

This exquisitely recorded live concert of Doc & Merle Watson at The Boarding House in San Francisco is one of four live shows recorded in 1974 by the legendary soundman Owsley Stanley. These Doc and Merle Watson recordings are the first release of Bear's Sonic Journals presented by the Owsley Stanley Foundation, a non-profit organization established to preserve and steward Owsley's legendary recordings, which are renowned for their quality and clarity.

These performances have not been heard since the nights they were played more than 40 years ago and have been preserved and restored to the highest audiophile standards. Each night is distinctly brilliant - reflecting differences in the playing, sound recording techniques, and the energy in the room. We chose this particularly captivating night to feature for this special vinyl set.

Doc Watson was a legendary American flat-picking guitarist, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and gospel music, who won seven Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He performed with his son, the multi-instrumentalist Merle Watson, for more than 15 years until Merle's death in 1985. Live recordings from this peak period for Doc and Merle in the 1970s are rare.

1960's counter-culture icon Owsley Stanley, known as "Bear" to his friends, was an audio innovator who helped create the first high-fidelity concert sound systems for rock and roll. As an early patron and first soundman of the Grateful Dead, he amplified, recorded, and influenced many other seminal artists in the psychedelic music scene of San Francisco and beyond in the 1960s and early 1970s, and was known for his focus on products of the highest quality. From the start, Bear recorded nearly every artist that played through a sound system that he built, trying to capture the music precisely as the audience heard it, using the recordings to help him improve his sound. The techniques he developed to create what he called his "Sonic Journals" resulted in recordings of unparalleled quality and clarity, capturing the sound of the room like no-one else.

Doc & Merle's performance from May 2, 1974, is now available on half-speed master, 45 RPM 180-gram audiophile vinyl, mastered directly analog-to-analog by Paul Stubblebine, who worked with Bear on the Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin Sonic Journals album released by Sony in 2012.

"The most extraordinary Doc Watson ever captured on tape. EVER." -- Robert Baird, Stereophile