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right|thumb|Merle Watson, c. 1979 Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson, born March 3, 1923 in Deep Gap, North Carolina, is a guitar player, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music. According to Doc on his three CD biographical recording "Legacy", he got the nickname "Doc" during a live radio broadcast when the announcer remarked that his given name Arthel was odd and he needed an easy nickname to go by. A fan in the crowd shouted "Call him Doc!" presumably in reference to the Sherlock Holmes sidekick Doctor Watson. The name stuck ever since.
An eye infection caused Doc Watson to lose his vision prior to his first birthday.
The first song Doc ever learned to play was "When Roses Bloom in Dixieland". His father was so proud that he took Doc to the store and bought him his first guitar, a $12 Stella. Doc proved to be a natural and became a prolific acoustic and electric guitar player in spite of his handicap. Seven months later he was busking on local street corners, playing Delmore, Louvin and Monroe Brothers' duets alongside his brother Linny.