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Doc MacLean

Son of a civil rights lawyer and a fiddle player, Doc MacLean was exposed to country blues and folklore at an early age. By his early teens he was performing in coffeehouses and festivals, and was appearing on radio and television variety shows. Answering the call of the road, Doc traded a guitar for a 1948 Dodge and set out to explore America.

In a relentless cross country ramble, Doc MacLean sought out every living old time blues player he could find. Significantly, he met and became friends with artists such as Son House, Tampa Red, ?Sippi Wallace, Yank Rachel, Robert Pete Williams, Rev Robert Wilkins and Bukka White. Meanwhile he toured and performed with artists as diverse as Peg

Leg Sam the Medicine Show Man, Blind John Davis, Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Rev Pearly Brown, Colin Linden, Mose Scarlett, the Carter Family, and Sam Chatmon. With Linden, he became a popular opener for Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters, and John Hammond.

First known for his work as an accompanist on harmonica and washboard, Doc proceeded to make his own mark as a guitarist, singer, arranger and band leader. For 15 years he toured a 9 piece Memphis- New Orleans jump band, Dr Limbo and His Fabulous Off-Whites, and released a number of singles- some of which achieved heavy regional and college airplay. Alumni from this band include Colin Linden (Bruce Cockburn, The Band, O Brother, etc.), Gord Johnson (Big Sugar), Chris Whiteley (Whiteley Bros., Leon Redbone), Kevin Breit (Nora Jones), and Gene Taylor (Canned Heat, Blasters, Fabulous Thunderbirds).

Performing on bottleneck and standard guitar, Doc MacLean now appears solo and with upright bass and percussion. While his lyrics are mainly contemporary, his approach as a guitarist-songster reflects not only his exposure to southern string bands and jug bands, but also to Delta players and storytellers such as Charlie Patton, Son House, and Sam Chatmon.

As Chatmon?s most frequent accompanist in the 1970s, MacLean lived in Hollandale, Mississippi, and played a wide variety of house parties, jukes, and festivals from Greenville to New Orleans. Moving on to South Carolina to work with Peg Leg Sam the Medicine Show Man, he then played for ?bootleggers and bandits? in what were probably the last days of an isolated, rough and tumble rural lifestyle.

Since 1973 Doc MacLean has appeared at significant North American folk and blues festivals including Fox Hollow, New York, Mariposa, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Buffalo, Owen Sound, Festival Boreal, Atlanta, and New Orleans. Radio and television appearances have included national programming such as PBS Morning Pro Musica, CBC 90 Minutes Live, Touch the Earth, and Morningside.

Doc MacLean came of age playing with some of the Delta?s most celebrated songsters. Now, marking 30 years on the blues highway, his work as a songwriter reflects his family roots in the labor movement, his time spent living and performing in the rural southern United States, and his personal connections to the oral and musical history of the Delta. He views his own compositions as part of an unbroken tradition. Now, as America rediscovers it?s roots, new audiences are discovering Doc MacLean.

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