Remembering Doc Watson With 'Tennessee Stud'

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Legendary folk singer and guitarist Doc Watson died on Tuesday, at the age of 89. Long considered one of America's greatest musicians, Watson was blind from the age of one, and taught himself to play music. NPR's Neal Conan remembers the life and career of Doc Watson with a song: "Tennessee Stud."


The great Doc Watson died yesterday at his home in Winston-Salem. The blind guitarist took a Trailways bus from the mountains of North Carolina to the folk clubs of New York City. In the 1960s, he made thousands of appearances and dozens of recordings and became recognized as a master. You can learn much more about his life and music at But let's listen. Here's Doc Watson, "Tennessee Stud."


DOC WATSON: (Singing) Along about 1825, I left Tennessee very much alive. I never would have got through the Arkansas mud if I hadn't been riding on the Tennessee stud. I had some trouble with my sweetheart's paw, and one of her brothers was a bad outlaw. I sent her a letter by my Uncle Fud, and I rode away on the Tennessee stud. The Tennessee stud was long and mean, the color of the sun and his eyes were green. He had the nerve and he had the blood and there never was horse like the Tennessee stud.

We drifted on down into no-man's land, and we crossed that river called the Rio Grande. I raced my horse with a Spaniard's foal till I got me a skin full of silver and gold. Me and the gambler, we couldn't agree. We got in a fight over Tennessee. We jerked our guns and he fell with a thud, and I got away on the Tennessee stud. The Tennessee stud long and mean...

CONAN: Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson. The musician died yesterday after complications from abdominal surgery. He was 89 years old. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

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