The Owsley Stanley Foundation is pleased to announce the release of Doc & Merle Watson: Never the Same Way Once – Live at the Boarding House – May 1974. “A legend recording a legend,” is how Doc Watson’s long-time bassist T. Michael Coleman describes these rare live recordings of the American bluegrass giant by counter-culture icon and concert sound pioneer Owsley Stanley (known as Bear to his family and friends).
They will be available in stores on June 23rd, but can be purchased now at www.owsleystanleyfoundation.org.
“Bear had tagged these shows as among the gems in his Sonic Journal archive, in both the quality of the performances and the quality of the sound, which is why we chose them as the first project to develop since his passing,” said Starfinder Stanley, Owsley’s son and President of the Owsley Stanley Foundation. Owsley, who died in Queensland, Australia in 2011, left an archive of over 1,300 recordings covering diverse artists and idioms. Known as Bear’s Sonic Journals, they served as working tools as he innovated his live music recording and sound production techniques, still widely used today.
This landmark recording is the first box set of Doc Watson live recordings to be released. It captures previously unreleased material from a fertile period in Doc Watson’s career for which live recordings are rare.
The stellar performances were captured by Owsley’s renowned live recording techniques. The audio quality rivals that of his Old and In The Way album, which is still among the highest selling live bluegrass albums of all time; indeed, these shows were recorded at the same venue just eight months later. These vivid tapes were restored and transferred to the most exacting audiophile standards, utilizing state-of-the-art Plangent Process techniques to remove subtle timing distortions created by the recording and playback devices.
The album debuted recently at the 30th anniversary of MerleFest, the premiere bluegrass festival, named after Merle Watson and hosted in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. It is available now exclusively at owsleystanleyfoundation.org as a 7 CD box set covering four nights of shows, with 32 tracks available for digital download. The box set features a 16-page booklet of liner notes including new work by Watson collaborators T. Michael Coleman and David Holt. A broader release, as well as audiophile format vinyl and analog tape releases of single nights from the run will follow on June 23.
About The Owsley Stanley Foundation
The Owsley Stanley Foundation is a 501c(3) dedicated to the preservation of “Bear’s Sonic Journals,” Owsley’s archive of more than 1,300 live concert soundboard recordings from the 1960s and 1970s, including recordings by Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, and more than 80 other artists across nearly every musical idiom. All proceeds from the development of the recordings further the continuing charitable purpose of preserving Bear’s Sonic Journals and perpetuating Owsley's legacy.