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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
DADGBE Obit: Sandy Paton (22 January 1929 - 26 July 2009) (276* d) RE: Obit: Sandy Paton (22 January 1929 - 26 July 2 02 Aug 09


In early winter of 1964 I lay on the rug in a friend's home as we listened to The Golden Ring. It was a life changing experience who knew?! Nothing has been the same since and thank God for it.

The music was amazing. While it wasn't the first recording of music not made for performance that I'd ever heard but it was the first one that moved me. We stared at that plain black cover and wondered where in the hell Huntington, Vermont was. The AAA map showed us a tiny dot. Christmas break was coming up so I decided to see if I could find this mythical record company. Eventually, in the remote, snow covered Huntington valley I found the village of Hanksville and Lee Haggerty. He invited me to stay as there was nowhere else nearby. The next day, Sandy and Caroling returned from New York where they had been at Frank Proffitt's memorial.

The welcome was almost overwhelming to a college kid who didn't know much of life. Sandy and Caroline treated me as a welcome friend the way they treated everyone. They were interested in what I had to offer and delighted to share themselves.

Sandy introduced me to traditional music and helped me learn to listen to it intelligently. If that had been all he ever gave me, it would have been enough.

The next summer found me working for Folk legacy as shipping assistant, chauffeur, baby sitter for David and Robin, painter and what ever else was needed. Sandy, Caroline, Lee and I set up and ran the booth at the first Fox Hollow festival where I met so many of you. That summer set the stage for a lifetime of music and connections. If that had been all he ever gave me, it would have been enough.

Sandy shared himself and his encyclopedic knowledge freely with anyone who cared to listen. The only person he treated unkindly was himself. He was never satisfied with his own efforts. When we were recording 'I've Got a Song' he was upset that the pure tenor of his earlier years had given way to a more mature voice tempered by time and tobacco. No one else even noticed but it drove him crazy. Yet, through the whole process, he always noticed and had a kind word for my efforts as accompanist.

I once found a banjo in a corner behind the spinning wheel and asked him about it. It had been made by Frank Proffitt and used on his last recordings but had fallen into disrepair. The head was split and a peg was gone. Sandy gave it to me with the admonition to fix it and keep it working. It's still my most prized possession and it's played often. If that had been all he ever gave me, it would have been enough.

Farewell friend. Perhaps there'll be more later. I'm crying too hard to see.

Ray Frank


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