Sunday, August 23, 2009
FSOTD #2/Freight Train Boogie (1973)
Sunday morning. Barely awake. I don't think I had opened my eyes yet. But there - stuck in my head - was the song "Freight Train Boogie" by Doc & Merle Watson. I also have a version of the song recorded in 1946 by the Delmore Brothers. Consulting the Doc & Merle discography, I found that their version was released in 1973, although recorded in '72. One of their studio mates for "Freight Train" was the great fiddler Vassar Clements, who in that same year of 1973 started playing with a group named "Old & In The Way." In 1975, the album "Old & In The Way" was released. It became and for many decades remained the top-selling bluegrass album of all time, due at least in part to the surging popularity of the band's banjo player...Jerry Garcia. A quality outfit throughout, it also featured David Grisman and Peter Rowan, and helped introduce bluegrass to a receptive new audience, including me, around 1980. But in 1973, the year of "Freight Train Boogie," I wasn't listening to any bluegrass and had never even heard of Doc & Merle Watson. I was raised a rocker, and remain so, but I enjoy and know all sorts of music these days, hence FSOTD.