Last night I learned about the passing of Bill "Cupid" Bartolin, lead guitarist and co-songwriter for Paul's beloved band from Youngstown, Ohio, Blue Ash. Paul signed the group to their first recording contract when he was in A&R at Mercury Records in the early Seventies. Bartolin had been diagnosed with cancer early last month and died yesterday morning due to complications.
and Bill "Cupid" Bartolin in the mid-Seventies
And in June, Doris Hoper passed away. She was Paul Nelson's ex-wife and the mother of their son Mark. Paul and Doris had been high school sweethearts and married in 1959 in Minneapolis, where Paul was attending the University of Minnesota. They separated in 1968, though didn't divorce until four years later.
When we spoke a couple of months after Paul's passing in 2006, she told me that, though she always thought that he should've followed his dream and written novels, one of her favorite pieces of Paul's music criticism was his review of Bob Dylan and the Band's The Basement Tapes. (A greatly expanded version of the piece, considering Dylan's career as a whole, will appear in the book when it's published in the fall of next year.) It is indeed some of Paul's best and writing and, not coincidentally, provides evidence as to the fine fiction writer he might have become.
Copyright 2009 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.