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Thread: Patrick Sky RIP

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    Default Patrick Sky RIP

    Patrick Sky, one of the bright lights of the folk scare of the 1960s, a contemporary of Bob Dylan, great friend of Dave Van Ronk, special friend of Buffy Saint-Marie, died Thursday 5/27/21 at the age of 80 in Asheville NC, from two types of cancer. He had a deep, complicated love-hate relationship with the music industry. While he enjoyed some success with his music, and the respect and admiration of his peers, he never really caught on with the public the way many of his contemporaries had. But he caught on with me. He was the funny uncle I'd never had.

    Pat Sky was born in Georgia but grew up mostly out in the sticks in Louisiana, in the traditional homeland of the Creek Indian tribe - he was part Creek, part Irish. After serving in the army, he wound up in Florida, becoming part of the folk scene there. That's where he met Buffy Sainte-Marie, striking up a relationship, and soon moving with her to New York's Greenwich Village, then the epicenter of folk music. She recorded Patrick's song, "Many A Mile," on her second album (named the same), before he recorded it on his first. He got signed to Elektra and recorded two albums of mostly traditional-style folk songs, half of which were original - including the aforementioned "Many A Mile," his most-covered song. He then got signed to Verve/Forecast, which allowed him a bit more latitude to express his mordant sense of humor and often oddball approach to songwriting. After two records of modest sales, the label dropped him. In this period, he also produced three albums by Mississippi John Hurt for Vanguard. Somehow, whatever he was doing wasn't enough for his career to take off. He stuck it out there for another year, but finally, frustrated and furious, he left New York.



    He moved to a small town in Rhode Island, where hardly anyone knew him. It just so happened to be the same small town where my mom lived. Being artistic radical freethinkers - she sculpted abstracted human figures in wood - it was inevitable they would meet, becoming best buddies. He was welcome any time at our place, and as I said, he became the funny uncle I'd never had. He was part folksinger, part Rabelaisian raconteur, part Ralph Kramden - always tinkering with things and trying his hand at different get-rich schemes.

    At one point, my mom had the bright idea of setting us up in a business to keep me from scuffling around with our local redneck-y population and getting into trouble. I was quite the hippie-looking cat at the time, with a big Jew-fro that would have attracted the wrong kind of attention. She spotted him the money to start a candle-making business. We made mostly sand-cast candles, which didn't sell, and standard tapers, which sold modestly. We had lots of fun with the sand-cast ones, though, making funny shapes - such as hands with a wick in each finger, or the obligatory middle finger style. He ended up giving up on it, and gave all the equipment and supplies to me. I set up a roadside table to sell them, along with the extra vegetables from our garden. Sales were slow this way, too, though occasional, as curious tourists would stop on their way to or from the beach. Mostly, it was a way to justify hanging out and playing mandolin for hours every day. I got in a lot of practice that way.

    He did like drinking, and having grown up in the back woods like he had, knew how to make whiskey and brew beer. One day he went off shopping with my brother to the hardware store, and came back with a big cooking pot, a bunch of copper tubing, and a fifty pound bag of chicken feed. Pretty soon he had a still going. That 'shine was not smooth, but it packed a wallop. Leastways, I think so; my memory of that isn't clear. I more clearly remember when he took to making beer in a big plastic garbage can in his kitchen. That brew packed a wallop - I think it ran 15-20% alcohol. We'd dip coffee mugs in it and have a go. I don't think I ever got through more than one. Or two. Maybe I don't remember so clearly after all. I swear, it's a wonder we never got arrested for any of these shenanigans. So much for my mom's idea of keeping us kids out of trouble.

    Though to be honest and fair, she was a bit of a wild one herself. She'd taken up smoking pot around 1968 - which is something I'd found out by accident when a friend of mine and I bumped into her and her friend at a multi-media happening put on by the Hog Farm at the Yale Bowl, and she was more buzzed than we were. Our anti-establishment attitudes contributed to our growing disenchantment with what we saw as square society, and after I somehow graduated high school in 1970, we moved out of CT and up to what had been our summer home in RI. Her artist/writer/actor/musician friends from New York, who used to come up for weekends in the summer to escape that city heat got to be more open about their freewheeling ways, and we had some fun times, I tell you. Well, I won't tell you, because - well, just because. That summer was an eye-opening, mind-altering experience. But I will say the following spring, when Passover came around, that Seder was a scene from Rabelais. Boone's Farm apple wine was the drink of choice then, and instead of drinking the traditional four glasses of wine during the course of the ceremony, we went through four cases of the stuff. No, it was not kosher-for-Passover, but neither were we.

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    Somehow in all of this Patrick was writing songs for a new album. It was intended to restore his career, put him back on the map. No, actually, it was intended to either blow everyone's minds with its brilliance or smack conservatives and nay-sayers upside their heads with its satire. He recorded it that spring, but no respectable record company would touch it. This was "Songs That Made America Famous," which lampooned a different facet of society in each of its fourteen songs - sometimes more than one in each - and often using crude language. He skewered the left as well as the right, all manner of races, religions, nationalities, genders - you name it, nothing was off limits. It must have been liberating for him, to fully explore his penchant for satirical humor without having to kowtow to corporate powers-that-be running a record label. He paid a price, though, having the door slammed in his face again and again, until Adelphi gave it a shot in 1973. It got decidedly mixed reviews, of course, and didn't sell much. He claimed he never made any money off it. But in a way - though certainly not the way one wants - it brought him a sort of immortality. People remembered the record, and still do. Perhaps that's more notoriety than immortality. But I'd never heard anyone use humor in songwriting to the extent that he did, and that had a profound effect on my own songwriting. I also got quite a chuckle about being sort-of included in the thank-yous: "all the crazy friends in Rhode Island, and wherever they are."

    Here's an audio clip of him and Dave Van Ronk in 1973 doing one of the few non-salacious songs on the album. The name in the refrain is the birth name of then-current Pope Paul VI.



    Eventually, my mom realized she was having a bit too much fun enjoying life, and wasn't getting enough work done, so she scaled back the party vibe at the house. I went off to college in the fall, and though I'd see Patrick on term breaks, we slowly, unnoticeably, drifted apart. He went through a rough divorce, which didn't help his sobriety any. He pulled himself our of this downturn, though, with another get-rich scheme, one that actually worked somewhat - investing in an Irish pennywhistle manufacturer. This led to an unforeseen career as a builder of uillean pipes, both complete and as do-it-yourself kits, which he continued the rest of his life, off and on.

    He recorded another album in 1975, a good bit more "normal." Then not another one for ten years. He'd already moved on by then. Eventually he and his second wife, Cathy, moved to North Carolina. He got a job working at the help desk for a computer company. A lot of musicians are pretty proficient with math and computers and such, in case you hadn't noticed. Their brains are wired that way. Just imagine calling the 800 number and getting him on the line, walking you through the steps to fix your problem. But you'd never know it was him, or believe it if he told you. He did delve deeper into his Irish roots, building sets of uillean pipes and playing them a bit with Cathy, eventually recording an album of Irish traditional tunes in 2009. He would play occasional showcases and festivals, but the pipes had more appeal to him.

    He was quite a character, and quite an odd choice as a role model ... but I had the good sense to pick and choose which facets to emulate. His voice did not record well, which didn't help his career, much - nor his satirical bent. The freedom with which he used language in writing his songs was a liberating example. Perhaps most of all, his joie de vivre was worth embracing. He may have been crucially flawed as a musician and human being, but he was a whole lot of fun to hang out with and learn from. I'm forever grateful and glad his winding road led our way.

    For those wondering where's the MC in all this ... perhaps you missed the part where I mentioned practicing at our roadside stand? That's not enough? How about the way he opened my mind to using humor in songwriting? Still not enough? Yeah, I guess not. OK, well, on his first record Ralph Rinzler plays mandolin on two songs, cuts #7 and #12. Here you go.





    Here's one of his later performances. You'll hear a bit of his wry wit, still intact and active, in the introduction.

    Fare thee well, Patrick Sky; I'll see you anon, by and by.

    Last edited by journeybear; May-31-2021 at 6:20pm. Reason: neatness counts
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    One more thing: The refrain of the title song of his third album, "Reality is bad enough, why should I tell the truth?" is included in Buckminster Fuller's 1970 book, "I Seem to Be a Verb."
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    No Patrick Sky tribute would be complete without Rattlesnake Mountain. I've been a fan for decades.

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Ha ha ha! Here's at least part of the story about the tortuous path "Songs That Made America Famous" took to release, from Adelphi Records, the little label that could - and did. Good tongue-in-cheek quips from some. My favorite is from the folk music magazine, Sing Out!: "This is a truly revolting record...and a disgrace to the nation. Don't miss it. Pat Sky makes fun of (in order) communists, feminists, undertakers, blues singers, rednecks, militarists, babies, deformities, ethnic minorities, Bob Dylan, rock stars, the Pope and murder ballads. (Bob Norman)" It's interesting to note that the quote from Rolling Stone's original review - which they included in the obituary - runs counter to its appraisal in the Rolling Stone Record Guide - which gave it 0 stars. A little black square.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    On a lighter note, this video showed up in my inbox several months ago, via a Joni Mitchell. It's from a TV show in Winnipeg in 1965, while she was still calling herself Joanie Anderson. The song should be well-known by Dead Heads as a concert staple, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas. Her voice is mesmerizing, and the camera is close on her, so I didn't notice until near the end that Patrick Sky was right next to her!



    I haven't been able to find video of his performance on that show - yet. But I did find some musings by Joni about an interaction with Pat, and Dave Van Ronk, though I'm not sure if it was this show or another. I think it was another, because Van Ronk isn't on the stage, and in Joni's reminiscence, she talks about her then-new song, "Urge For Going":

    I met Dave and Patrick Sky in Winnipeg in September or October. I had just written it, and it must have been October. They were doing a Canadian television show called "Sing Out" which is like American "Hootenanny." I thought that once again, it was sort of following Mariposa, I was shaky and I thought I was awful and amateurish and I wasn't growing fast enough. And I could feel how good my peers were; I could feel how amateurish I was, and I really needed encouragement. They didn't give me any as far as I could see. Van Ronk was saying things like "Joni, you've really got groovy taste in clothes, why don't you become a fashion model?" And Patrick Sky was saying "It sucks." Here you are, a hopeless romantic, and doing all sorts of crude Patrick Sky things, that I now think are really dear, because I know him.

    The Rolling Stone obit presents a different account of this, which gives a clearer context for his remark:

    In 1965, he and Van Ronk visited Canada to tape an appearance on a folk TV series. There, they saw a newcomer — Joni Mitchell — sitting alone and playing a new song, “Urge for Going.”

    “It was simply magical … you could hear a pin drop,” Van Ronk wrote in The Mayor of MacDougal Street, his memoir. “She finished and there was just his silence, utter silence. Then Patrick turns to me and loudly says, ‘This sucks!‘ As it happened that was the highest compliment Patrick was capable of bestowing, but of course Joni had no way of knowing that.” Mitchell later recalled the moment as “all sorts of crude Patrick Sky things, that I now think are really dear, because I know him.”

    It sucked for him, not her. That was how he expressed his frustration at his predicament. Too bad she took it that way, but I think she's gotten over it.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Pete Seeger had a TV show in 1965-66 called "Rainbow Quest." During these 39 episodes a who's who of the folk scene came through his kitchen - or a set that looked like a kitchen - for some music and chat. Episode 21 included Pat Sky, doing two songs - "Separation Blues," one of my favorites, and "I'm Gonna Fall in Love with You (Keep On Walkin)." Students and fans of fingerpicking guitar should love these, as the camera work is excellent, getting close on his hands, filling the frame so you can clearly see his technique.





    It looks like the only way to see the chat portion is to dial up the entire show here. There's plenty more, including the two greats playing together, during the first half hour. Warning: banjo content.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Thank you for the bio and reminiscences. I have had a copy of Songs That Made America Famous for many years and knew he had turned to the Uillean pipes later on, but knew little about him other than that.

    Cheers

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    Thanks. I'm impressed to see the album made it all the way to Australia.

    I have a feeling a lot of people don't know much about him. He was outgoing but not really given to self-promotion. And by the time I met him he was rather jaded concerning the music business. Trying to publicize such a controversial album without a major label's power and influence must have been daunting. Well, at least it got made, and it made some sort of impact. People do still remember it. How could they not, once having encountered it?
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    "They called him Drunken Ira" is the one I remember best. He played my banjo at a gig once in 1963 or so in Blacksburg VA. I still have his Elektra LP somewhere around here.

    Didn't he get a PhD in musicology or something like that working on "Ryan's Mammoth Collection of 1050 Reels and Jigs, .... "?
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    What a great remembrance and education for those of us who didn't now much of his history. I managed to see Dave Van Ronk a few times, but never Eric Sky. Thanks for the post Journeybear.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    "They called him Drunken Ira" is the one I remember best. He played my banjo at a gig once in 1963 or so in Blacksburg VA. I still have his Elektra LP somewhere around here.

    Didn't he get a PhD in musicology or something like that working on "Ryan's Mammoth Collection of 1050 Reels and Jigs, .... "?
    Right. "The Ballad Of Ira Hayes" was written by Peter LaFarge, but somehow it became more associated with Pat Sky. Maybe his version got airplay, something like that. I think Johnny Cash did it, too. Interesting to see this loosely connected undercurrent of Native Americans in folk music then - Buffy Sainte-Marie, Patrick Sky, the subject of this song. Probably others, can't think of any at the moment.

    No idea about that PhD. Would have been after we lost touch.



    Quote Originally Posted by EvanElk View Post
    What a great remembrance and education for those of us who didn't now much of his history. I managed to see Dave Van Ronk a few times, but never Eric Sky. Thanks for the post Journeybear.
    Thank you. I assume you meant Patrick Sky. Eric Von Schmidt was a few days ago.

    But by an odd coincidence, I saw Van Ronk just once, through Eric. He and Mark Naftalin (keyboard for Paul Butterfield Blues Band) put together what they called the Westport Blues Festival. It was really a sort of showcase, a one-day concert featuring several acts, and only lasted two years. My jug band was on it the first year, and so was Dave Van Ronk.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    I saw Patrick play in Black Mountain, North Carolina on my honeymoon in 1983. It was a double bill with singer Rosalie Sorrels. He played quite a lot of Uilleann pipes and had somebody with him on bouzouki.
    I thought of him again about 3-4 months ago and checked him out, to find that he seemed to be mainly making pipes latterly. I was glad to see that he was still so involved.

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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Thank you very much for finding and posting this video. It's a quite insightful look at what he was doing with the pipes. I've been a bit glib in my mentioning his involvement in this area, as my own focus was on other aspects of his endeavors. It's clear here how devoted he was to all facets of uillean pipes - playing, building, repairing. He started from nowhere with this and found it intriguing, and certainly went into it wholeheartedly. No half-measures for him in this! Thanks again.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Here is a very well-conceived remembrance of Pat Sky, including some poignant observations by an old friend, Eric Andersen. There's a quote in it I found intriguing:

    Andersen went on to acknowledge Sky’s friendship with Buffy St. Marie and Peter LaFarge, founded on their shared experiences as Indigenous Native Americans, and confirming a long-held rumour: “Heard the rumor just confirmed by your son Liam. Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Last Time I Saw Richard’ on her album ‘Blue’ was of course about you.”

    I'd not heard that before, and it sounded a bit odd. I'd never heard him mention her once. But a quick glance at the wiki revealed this:

    Contrary to rumours regarding the song being about Mitchell's first husband Chuck Mitchell, she has said it was inspired by a conversation with fellow folk singer Patrick Sky, in which he told her "Oh, Joni, you're a hopeless romantic. There's only one way for you to go. Hopeless cynicism."

    Now that I'll believe - that the germ of the song's genesis was an offhand remark of his. That is, "inspired by," not "about." It sounds just like him. He did have a way of cutting to the quick with a few pointed words, often delivered with a chuckle to both soften the blow for the recipient and show some amusement at his own wittiness. It could be a bit off-putting. That seemed to be the case with their earlier encounter, apparently their first one, at the Winnipeg TV show; it could have been again here. This time something good did come of it.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Thanks for the post. There are many little known writers/musicians who've slipped through the cracks and they all have a story.

    Some are just never told.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    I was lucky enough to have Pat stay at our house a few times when the East Coast Pipers met in Baltimore. Pat was my guitar hero in the 60s, and to have the chance to spend time with him was a dream come true, I mean what could compete with hearing him play "Great Dream from Heaven" over morning coffee, or have him and Cathy cook up a big pot of Chili after performing at my son's elementary school. When you hear a funny song, or one that pulls at your heart, you know Pat Sky is with us.

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    The first time I heard Patrick Sky was at my best friend’s house. It was the “folk boom” of the early 1960’s and his older sister opened that world to us. I was learning the guitar and he was learning the mandolin but what we heard on that first Patrick Sky album seemed far above anything we could play. There was a warmth to his voice and his guitar playing that appealed to me and all I wanted to do was to be able to finger pick like that. We were a successful duo in high school, and I did learn some of his finger style. I had to sneak out of my house to go to his 1966 Carnegie Hall concert, but that turned out to be just the first time I saw Patrick Sky.
    College years drew me away from the folk scene, and my art teachers encouraged me to not play music as it might water down my creativity (it seems absurd to me now). In 1976 I heard that a memorial concert for Phil Ochs was planned and being broadcast on the radio, so I made sure I was tuned in that night. Pat played the Uilleann pipes that night, and I suspect that almost everyone that night was not prepared for that. Patrick had gone to Ireland seeking a set of pipes and a teacher and found that the traditional Irish pipes had all but disappeared from the United States and Ireland as well. Most of his work since then has centered on the Uilleann Pipes. I picked up a small label album of his in the 1980’s that was mostly guitar but had some pipes too – I wore that out, and by that time was playing the guitar and mandolin regularly, and had developed my fingerstyle into something that was my own, but still rooted in the styles of Pat Sky and Mississippi John Hurt.
    Now by the mid-1990’s I had settled into a community surrounding the Waldorf School our son attended. One friend and neighbor played Irish music with Martin O’Malley, a city councilman that would go on to be Governor all the while keeping the band together. My friend played the flute and the pipes, and one night asked if we could have a “piper” stay at our house as he was hosting the East Coast Pipers Convention” in Baltimore. I said sure if Patrick Sky was coming to town he could stay with us. Well a few days later I get a call from my friend and he tells me that he just talk to Pat who just received a royalty check so decided to go to the convention if he could stay at someone’s house because he hated the road and hotels. I’m speechless of course. He said he had to hang up because Patrick Sky was going to call me. Sure enough the phone rang – and it was that same friendly voice like a neighbor over the fence. He had decided to get a master’s in folklore at the University of North Carolina, had recently graduated and was living in Chapel Hill with his wife.
    He immediately launched into a story about the folk club in Baltimore of the 1960 where he played that was run literally by a clown – the owner wore a costume, and after the show he would walk down to “the Block” and drink with the strippers that were off work. Patrick asked me to meet him at an Irish session and wanted to just rest and hang out for a day before the sessions started. Sitting in an Irish bar waiting for him – all I’m picturing is a guy sitting on a rock, or hanging from a tree but not 30 years have gone by. I wonder if he is here and I don’t recognize him. Eventually an elf with gray hair and a beard walks in with a Greek bouzouki – no doubt it was him. The session was good and he enjoyed sitting in – no one ever knew one of the starters of Green Linnet records was sitting in with them that night. The next day we just hung out. He played the song “Great Dream from Heaven” by Joseph Spence for me after breakfast, one of the most beautiful guitar pieces ever and no one plays it because of the difficulty level. Life rarely gets better than that moment. We spent the day in Washington at the House of Musical Traditions looking for a bouzouki case, and then to Greek town in Baltimore, but never found a case. Of course I hung on every word he had to say about Mississippi John Hurt. The mom of my son’s oldest friend, Jane Conly, is the daughter of the man who wrote the “Rats of NIMH” books, and she is an award winning writer in her own right. One summer when she was about 12, friends of her dad brought John Hurt to their summer home on the Potomac River to get out of the Washington heat – the pools in DC were still segregated. She spent an afternoon with him and she tells that he was the first adult she met that believed in magic, as he wouldn’t swim in the river because of the possibility of snakes and other darkness. He was also the first person who conversed with her as if she was grown up. When I see Jane I encourage her to write John’s biography. Well that was a nice little story within the story of Patrick’s stories. He said it was hard for John to perform, record, and he felt he needed to protect John from being used by people. I think there was maybe some issues between Stephan Grossman and Patrick about this. He said John couldn’t handle it and eventually moved back to Mississippi, but died soon after. His granddaughter runs a little museum on the Hurt homestead. I played some of my “versions” of his songs for him after dinner and he showed me a few things. The next time there was a piper’s convention in Baltimore; he came with his wife who is an excellent traditional Irish singer and fiddler. We were more organized this time and I arranged a concert at the Waldorf School for them that covered their travel and expenses, and they cooked us a big Chili dinner one night. I have to comment that as far as pipers conventions go,there is nothing quite like being in the room with 10 or 20 pipers playing together, the fine line between forgettable and unforgettable. By now my son Mikko was playing the oboe – also a double reed like the pipes, and while the first visit was a treasure for me, this time he sat down with Mikko and showed him how you interpret music on the pipes. I have in front of me a copy of O’Farrell’s Collection of National Irish Music for the Union Pipes (1911) that he restored from different incomplete sources, scanned them and restored the pages on the computer.
    I did see the Sky’s one more time. In 2003 there was another convention in Baltimore that coincided with his 60th birthday so they stayed in the hotel the sessions were at. It is rare to meet someone that shapes your artistic style, and far rarer that when you meet them they take an interest in what brought you together. I regularly perform “Love Will Endure” despite him telling me it was “a relationship song” but did admit it had merits.

    So I‘ll fill my glasses up to the brim,
    And through my glass, my world looks dim.
    but I know outside there‘s light somewhere,
    Maybe my ramblin will get me there.
    From “Many a Mile” by Patrick Sky

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  25. #18
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Thank you so much for all of that! As I've said before, I'd pretty much lost touch with him even before I moved to Key West. So any stories about him from more recent years are much appreciated. I tried to visit him sometimes on my way up or down I-95, but never could manage it. The last time we spoke was when I called him to tell him of my mom's passing, more than ten years ago. I have no idea how I managed to find his number, but honestly, he may have just been listed.

    I am sincerely envious of your having seen him in concert, especially back in the day. It's funny to think that's a pleasure I never really had, even with all my other experiences with him. When I met him he was done with all that. I didn't have the nerve to jam with him; I was much too new at the mandolin. The only time I saw him play was sometime in the 1980s, I'm guessing soon before he moved to NC. He and Cathy played a free concert on the town green in Wakefield, the main town in our township. (Political geographical designations in Rhode Island are more than a little screwy; I'll leave it at that and spare you.) I can only imagine what his shows were like in his heyday. The videos from his appearance on Pete Seeger's TV show are great resources for studying his fingerpicking techniques. He seemed to have a different approach for each song. He made it look so easy and natural; that's the result of putting in lots of time mastering his skills.
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    Distressed Model John Ritchhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Fond memory. 1973 at the military academy listening to Songs That Made America Famous. Laughing our butts off. "In the draft board here we sit...." It was hilarious because of where we were at the time.
    We few, we happy few.

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  28. #20
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Ha ha ha! And that's as far as you can get into the song before it's, ah, no longer suitable for delicate sensibilities.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  29. #21
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Speaking of which ...

    I had to struggle a bit to find a song to post that wasn't going to be too offensive, let alone profane. I'd thought of "H. Bromovitz," but even that ... Though there's a good back story. I'll preface it by saying that the source for this, David Bromberg, is Jewish, as am I, so please don't anyone else take offense, but think of this in the context of Patrick's desire to skewer every prejudice and stereotype he could think of, all in more or less good fun. And remember - if we can't laugh at ourselves, how will we ever be able to stand other people laughing at us?

    If you recall, David Bromberg was Jerry Jeff Walker's sidekick/accompanist for a couple of years. When he went out on his own, the album that was a breakthrough for him had a live version of "Mr. Bojangles." In the middle of it, he stops singing and tells how they played it so many times Jerry Jeff got tired of it, though David never did. But at night, after they were done, sometimes they'd "do horrible things to it." Back when his album was in the works, Patrick played this, which always got laughs. So when I heard that bit from Bromberg, I knew exactly what he meant. This, one of surely many examples of parodying the song, envisions the star character as a Jewish pawnbroker:

    I knew a man, Hebromovitz, he'd make for you - worn out shoes
    Silver hair, dirty shirt, and baggy pants - that cheap old Jew
    His prices were so high, his prices were so high - but for you he'd come down

    Well, *I* think it's funny.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    So I got to thinking ... Wonder if my two mentors, Patrick Sky and Eric Von Schmidt, ever met? It seems they must have, sometime during the years. Perhaps not during my time of knowing them, as their paths were quite divergent then, despite a vague geographical proximity. But back in the day, both active in the same circles ... why not? Well, not surprisingly, I couldn't find any photos of them together. But I did see this - Club 47's event calendar for September 1964. And down there in the bottom right corner - Patrick Sky, Friday-Saturday October 1-2. Eric still would have been involved in operations at the club then. In fact, Patrick may very well have been provided accommodations at Eric's apartment, as was often the custom at the time for travelling troubadours. It's not conclusive, but I'll take it.

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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    "T... Didn't he get a PhD in musicology or something like that working on "Ryan's Mammoth Collection of 1050 Reels and Jigs, .... "?
    Found the answer - it was a Masters degree. I am not sure from what university or in exactly what field. Did his thesis on Ryan's Mammoth Collection, its compiler, its publisher, and their influence on the direction of American music. Mel Bay reprinted Ryan's Collection showing him (Sky) as the author -- a very lengthy introduction to the collection was by Sky. It appears to draw heavily on his thesis research.
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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Doug Goodhill gave us that in Post #17 - UNC, in folklore. I know, that dense prose looked daunting.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Patrick Sky RIP

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    ...I had to struggle a bit to find a song to post that wasn't going to be too offensive, let alone profane. I'd thought of "H. Bromovitz," but even that ...
    Giovanni Montini, the Pope, perhaps? My late friend Wesley "Skip" Evans used to sing that to mixed audiences; it seemed more playful than biting, although the "He's Italian, he doesn't use soap" line is borderline offensive.

    But of course the entire album is "borderline offensive," when it isn't "thoroughly offensive." Intentionally so. Maybe better left unposted...?
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