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In memory of Charles Alexander (Sandy) Paton, who passed from this life,
July 26, 2009 at 6:32 pm, at the age of 80


Sing Out!
Folk-Legacy Founder Sandy Paton Passes July 26, 2009

Folk-Legacy Records founder Sandy Paton passed away on Sunday July 26 around 6:30pm. He had been hospitalized the last few days after becoming extremely fatigued. Sandy had been in poor health in recent years, suffering from emphysema which required that he was constantly connected to oxygen. About a month ago, Sandy & Caroline’s grandson died tragically – drowning in a river in Connecticut. Friends have said that Sandy took the loss extremely hard.

Sandy, with his wife Caroline and the late Lee Haggerty, founded Folk-Legacy Records as an independent recording company specializing in traditional and contemporary folk music of the English-speaking world in 1961. Over the 48 years Folk-Legacy has existed, they have produced over 120 recordings with Sandy doing the actual recording and taking cover photographs.

Sandy was a terrific singer in his own right, as well. He and Caroline were designated as the Official Connecticut State Troubadours for 1993-1994.

Sing Out! editor Mark Moss adds: “In a world where meeting your “idols” rarely works out very well, Sandy Paton was an inspiration. His love, dedication and vision for traditional music was unwavering … but he was never strident, pushy or rude about his impressive knowledge. This was a guy who was all about loving the music and wanting to share his love for the songs and singers. And each Folk-Legacy release exuded that passion. Once I “met” my first Folk-Legacy release (the original Golden Ring recording), I was hooked … and am proud to own almost every release from the label. Hardly “hi tech,” but the music Sandy captured, made and shared was the real thing in the truest sense of the words. It was an honor to have known him. My heart was already breaking for the family (after the loss of his grandson Kaelan in June) … I can’t imagine the pain the family is feeling now. A sad, sad day.”

Information about a memorial service is forthcoming.

Sing your songs for him, folks! A great man has passed.

Memorial and Musical Tribute for Sandy will be held on Saturday, 10 October 2009 at Music Mountain


Official Connecticut State Troubadours - 1993
A rousing song from the roustabouts of the steamboating days on the Ohio River, a haunting love song from North Carolina's Appalachians, a lively tongue-twister of a song from the Pacific Northwest, these and many more are sure to be included in the musical memories you will take home with you after you hear Sandy and Caroline Paton singing a program of the wonderful songs and ballads that form their unique and highly varied collection of both traditional and contemporary folk material.

Ed and Beth Brown, of the U'n'I Coffeehouse Concert Series in Springfield, MA, write: "If asked, 'What is this thing you call folk music and why do you care so deeply about it?'- rather than attempt to define it, justify or expound upon it, just send them to a concert by Sandy and Caroline Paton."

Drawing upon a vast repertoire developed over their many years of collecting folksongs throughout the English -speaking world, from the Southern Appalachians to the Ozarks, from Scotland and England to the Maritime Provinces of Canada, Sandy and Caroline share their personal memories as well as their musical talents in every program they present. They also invite their audiences to join in on many choruses, encouraging them to actively participate in the experience. "We prefer to sing with people, rather than at them," they explain. "Folk music has been a participatory sport for many centuries, and we would like to see it continue to be just that."

Accompanying themselves with guitar, Appalachian dulcimer and autoharp, the Patons skillfully blend their voices in harmonies that offer more than just a pleasant musical interlude in our daily lives; many of their older songs provide insights into our nation's history, reflecting the concerns, the delights, the joys and the sorrows of those families who braved the wilderness to settle in the New World. Truly, theirs is a program to be enjoyed by parents and grandparents, as well as by children of all ages.

In recognition of their significant contributions to the folk music world, the Patons have been honored by the California Traditional Music Society, the Memphis Dulcimer Festival, the Eisteddfod Festival of Traditional Arts in Massachusetts, and other organizations. In 1993 they were selected by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts to serve as "official State Troubadours" for that year.

February 24, 1930 - March 31, 2000Lee B. Haggerty, co-founder of Folk-Legacy Records, Inc., passed away at the Sharon Hospital, in Sharon, Connecticut, early on the morning of March 31, 2000.

Lee was born in Westport, Connecticut, but his formative years were spent in a rural setting outside of Zachary, Louisiana, on the banks of the Mississippi River. His deep love of traditional music developed from listening to his mother reading aloud to him and to his siblings such ballads as "Sir Patrick Spens" and "Lord Randall." Recordings of Jules Allen singing songs of the west, ordered by the family from Sears and Roebuck, introduced him to America's folk music. Lee was not a singer, insisting that he couldn't "carry a tune," but he knew and loved the words to hundreds of traditional songs and read ballad literature as others might read the romantic poets.

His avid interest in literature continued throughout his academic career at Western Reserve Academy and at Knox College in Illinois. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War from 1952 to 1954 and was discharged a sergeant. He then worked for a time in New York City before moving to Chicago where he worked at Chicago First National Bank. Receiving a small inheritance enabled him to leave the bank and focus on doing some writing of his own, as well as to enjoy some extensive travel adventures with his old college roommate, Kent MacDougall.

In 1960, he learned from an announcement on WFMT in Chicago that Sandy Paton had added folkmusic to the spoken-word record department at Krock's and Brentano's bookstore. He soon became its most enthusiastic customer, and he and Sandy became good friends. After Sandy and Caroline Paton moved to Huntington, Vermont, Lee went there to visit them and listened to tapes Sandy had made on a field-collecting trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. It was at his suggestion that they formed Folk-Legacy Records in 1961 and their first recording, "Frank Proffitt, of Reese, North Carolina," was issued early in 1962. In 1967, the company moved to Sharon, Connecticut, where Lee shared a remodeled barn/duplex with the Patons and the business. Over the thirty-nine years of their association, he helped to produce more than 120 recordings of folk and folk-related contemporary music, but it was the traditional field recordings Folk-Legacy was able to release that gave him his proudest moments. In recent years, despite increasingly debilitating arthritis, he remained active with the company, continuing his contribution until his final illness. He was a quiet, thoughtful, gentle, man who devoted his life to the music he loved. We are all indebted to him.

. Was founded in 1961 by Sandy and Caroline Paton and Lee B. Haggerty. At the time of this writing, we have been providing the discriminating folk music enthusiast with fine recordings for over thirty-six years.

The company is operated out of a remodeled barn on a rural road in the Litchfield Hills of Northwestern Connecticut (sometimes referred to as the Connecticut Berkshires).

There are four of us involved: Sandy and Caroline, our son Robin, and our partner Lee. Sandy does the recording and gets to play with the computer. Robin does the invoicing, packaging, inventory maintenance, keeps the promotional list in order, and does anything else that seems to need doing. Lee does the books and maintains the ledger. Caroline does most of the correspondence (Sandy does the E-mail), places the orders with our suppliers, and, generally speaking, keeps the rest of us on our toes.
Just a simple, old-fashioned, family business.

We chose the Green Man as our trademark because the traditional music we help to preserve and promote through our recordings is, happily, flourishing once more, following a period of dormancy. Like the Green Man, these examples of the remarkable folk muse can never die, for the people will not permit it. They may fade from popularity for awhile, as fads momentarily push them from the minds of the less totally committed, but they will always be rediscovered and restored to life.
George Armstrong made the drawing of our Green Man for us, back in 1961, when we first organized Folk-Legacy Records and began producing albums of traditional music. An ancient symbol of temporary death and inevitable rebirth seemed, somehow, appropriate for a company dedicated to the survival of traditions that reach back into a comparable antiquity.

We've had a number of inquiries over the years about our trademark, that weird drawing of a man with green tendrils and leaves growing all over him that appears on all of our records. Caroline has suggested that I write a short article about this representation of the Green Man since individual answers to the curious are terribly time consuming.

I first came upon the Green Man in C. J. P. Cave's Roof Bosses in Mediaeval Churches (Cambridge, 1948). Photographic studies made by Mr. Cave revealed carvings on the beams of parish churches and cathedrals that had never been observed or, at least, had not been commented on previously. The carvings, usually located in obscure, shadowed places, too high to be viewed without the aid of field glasses, depicted "a face with leaves sprouting from the corners of its mouth, its eyelids, eyebrows and ears the face of the Green Man," as John Speirs described the discovery in his Medieval English Poetry, the Non-Chaucerian Tradition (London, 1957). Some of those medieval artisans obviously felt it would be wise to combine a time-honored symbol of their old religion with those of their newly adopted one. They were hedging their bets, apparently, for the Green Man is an ancient fertility symbol of pre-Christian England representing the marvelous death and rebirth of life that occurs annually in the cycle of the seasons. Speirs puts it this way: "Who is the Green Man? He is surely a descendant of the Vegetation or Nature god of almost universal and immemorial tradition (whatever his local name) whose death and resurrection are the myth-and-ritual counterpart of the annual death and rebirth of nature, in the East the dry and rainy seasons, in Europe winter and spring".


Folk Legacy's (Paton's) back yard - Sharon, CT

Sandy, Caroline, Robin, and David Paton
Out back of their Folk Legacy Records home place in Sharon, Connecticut - 1980s

The GREEN MAN - logo of Folk Legacy Records
As carved by Gordon Bok and on display in Sandy and Caroline Paton's headquarters in Sharon, Connecticut.

Folk Legacy - Sandy's studio control room

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Box 1148 - Sharon, CT 06069
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