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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
lisa null Obit: Sandy Paton (22 January 1929 - 26 July 2009) (276* d) RE: Obit: Sandy Paton 27 Jul 09

I ache at the idea of not seeing Sandy anymore. He was my buddy, my mental sparring partner, my colleague, my comforter, and above all, my mentor. He and Caroline helped me start the record company I co-founded with Pat Sky (Green Linnet)-- they gave me their mailing list and hours of advice to go with it. I lived in CT and when times were tough and I just "had to get away," they were always there for me with a bed, coffee or tea, and a bevy of songs.

Sandy was empathetic but never intruded into my private sorrows-- at least not without my asking for his help. When I asked, he always gave me his opinion straight, and i learned to respect his humane dose of reality.

I always knew what he liked or didn't like musically and why-- he was honest about that too, even if it was my own singing.

One summer, Caroline and i went field collecting together in Waterbury CT. We would come home like two giggling sisters on a shopping spree, and there would be Sandy delighting in our adventures and ready to play Caroline's cassettes, no matter how late at night.

The Patons lived at the other end of the state from me, but they were the next door neighbors I always wanted. Sandy taught me much about performing, but more importantly, (at the tag end of the commercial folk boom), he taught me how to keep the music alive and vibrant as part of a growing community of people who sing for love He and Caroline always believed in letting songs speak for themselves. They taught me that my job as a singer was to purge the words and tune of affectation and hoked-up drama. This is easier said than done, but they succeeded with their own songs as they helped me with mine.

All these memories will live with me forever, but most of all I will remember how fully Sandy lived his life-- his zany and sometimes ribald humor, his gusto at New England's diners and pizzerias not to mention New York's Chinese restaurants. He had great story-telling gifts and bestowed not only stories but gentle attention he gave to all the young 'uns who entered his orbit. He was a great listener. i have a painting of Sandy's from his younger days as an artist --golden trees bending in an invisible wind. I told him I loved it, and suddenly it was mine. That's the kind of man Sandy was.

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