Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fingerpickin', or Is YouTube the new Folkways?

For some reason the old Doc Watson song* Deep River Blues popped into my head. So I googled, and up came a clip of Doc pickin' it, every note in the right place as usual. Right there in the list of related videos next to it was Leo Kottke's take on the same song. Clearly the same song, but it's fascinating how Doc's sounds like no one but Doc and Kottke's sounds like no one but Kottke.

On the related list for that one in turn is impromptu-looking footage of Doc, Kottke and the late Chet Atkins for good measure picking I-forget-what tune along much the same lines as Deep River. Atkins is mostly comping here, but when he does take a lead, darned if it doesn't sound exactly like Chet Atkins. Note that Kottke, being the junior member, doesn't seem to merit a mention in the opening captions.

One could spend a fair bit of time (and this one did) chasing links, comparing and contrasting the styles and techniques of the greats, almost as though there were something to this whole web-as-online-educational-resource thing. If that sounds intruguing to you, I'll leave you to it. In which case if you run across bootleggy-looking versions** of Eight Miles High by Kottke, Michael Hedges and Roger McGuinn himself, say hi for me.

* He didn't write it, just made it his
** I'm going to assume here that YouTube would have taken down anything egregiously illicit, and/or that Kottke, McGuinn and the Hedges estate are not greatly offended. See the previous post on iBiblio for why McGuinn in particular might not mind.

No comments: