Owsley "Bear" Stanley, noted audio engineer turned LCD chef for the Grateful Dead, conducted an unprecedented operation recording thousands of reel-to-reel live concerts from the glory days of the San Francisco cultural and musical revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. Beyond his seminal Dead soundboard archives, Stanley also spent four days in May of 1974 capturing the angelic, flat-picking mountain music from the stage mic's surrounding Doc and his son Merle Watson's gigs at the charming and historic (and now defunct) nightclub, The Boarding House in the Tendernob area of San Francisco.
The 94-track, 7-disc box set was released last month from the Owsley Stanley Foundation, a non-profit operated by Stanley's son, dedicated to digitizing the entirety of Stanley's private collection of 1,300+ multi-decade tape reels known as Bear's Sonic Journals. The first release from the grail, these Doc Watson recordings have not been heard in 40 years since the night they were performed and have been preserved and remastered worthy of any audiophile scrutiny. The marathon of Old Time standards, swing and gypsy jazz, and country blues span the panorama of acoustic mastery the Watson's exhibited.