Sadly, Doc has left us now. I'm proud to say I knew him, and played music with him. There will never be another like him.
A few years ago, someone commented on Doc's Shubb Capo as he was putting it on his guitar. Doc said, "Son, I knowed Rick Shubb before there was a Shubb Capo."
He's right. Hank Bradley, the great oldtime fiddler, introduced me to Doc Watson when I was about 19 or 20; many years before the first Shubb Capo.
Doc always loved to play fiddle tunes on the guitar, and he liked Hank's fiddling. Hank liked my banjo playing, and thought it would be a good blend. We played a few tunes and it really clicked. Doc liked it so well that he started using us on his shows. He was touring as a solo at the time, and at the end of his sets he would invite Hank and me onto the stage for 3 or 4 fiddle tunes. We joined him on the West Coast portion of his tour, playing concerts and clubs including the Jabberwock in Berkeley and the Ash Grove in Los Angeles.
During that period we recorded about a dozen fiddle tunes with Doc and he submitted the tape to his label, Vanguard. They didn't go for it. Too bad. It really would have been a feather in my cap, and Hank's too, to have been on an album with Doc Watson. I still have that tape, and it still sounds great. Nobody has ever played the fiddle tunes like Doc.