A fully-fledged Texan, Gary Gene Watson was born in Palestine, Texas, on October 11, 1943, one of seven children of a sawmill worker and crop picker. He was raised in Paris, Texas, in a musical family and played his first professional gig at the age of 13. He quit school in the 9th grade to help support his family. In 1963, he moved to Houston, where he found daytime employment in car engine and bodywork repairs. During the evenings, his vocal style, with its slight nasal sound in the best country tradition, made him a very popular honky-tonk singer around the local clubs.
Gene Watson is sort of a itmus test o country fan-dom. To younger or casual fans, he is—at most—an old guy who used to have some hit records. Longtime hard-core country fans, however, revere Watson as one of the genre's truly golden voices, perhaps the best of Lefty Frizzell's many disciples. The man who enriched country music with such timeless classics as Paper Rosie, Nothing Sure Looked Good On You, Fourteen Carat Mind, The Old Man And His Horn and Farewell Party, has always had one of the warmest, most accessible voices in the country field. The one-time motor repairman, has been making music for close on 50 years, with an impressive 50 country chart hits to his credit, including 20 that have made the top ten. He still tours regularly across America and occasionally returns to the UK, where he is held in high esteem. (Alan Cackett)