Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sandy Bull - E Pluribus Unum (us 1968)

Sandy Bull - E Pluribus Unum (us 1968)

Born: 1941, New York, NY, United States
Died: April 11, 2001 // Franklin, TN, United States

Genres: Contemporary Folk

Credits:Guitar [Electric], Bass, Bass Drum, Bass Drum [Indian Bass Drum], Oud, Tambourine, Cymbal, Cowbell, Written-by: Sandy Bull.

Other: [Liner Notes] - Nat Hentoff.
Producer: Maynard Soloman.

A. No Deposit, No Return Blues 17:03
B. Electric Blend 21:44

Born in New York, Sandy Bull spent the early part of his childhood in Florida with his father before returning to New York to live with his mother, the jazz harpist Daphne Hellman. His mother's eclectic taste exposed him to a wide variety of music that eventually led to him learning the guitar and banjo, the latter from Eric Darling, who was in The Weavers. After a brief stint at college in Boston, Bull returned to New York and became involved with the Greenwich Village scene. But it was in Paris where he had his first experience of Middle-Eastern music and oud-like instruments. Having learnt to play the oud from Hamza El Din, Bull returned to the United States, signing with the folk-label Vanguard.
For his first album, Fantasias for Guitar & Banjo, Bull would take various pieces of American folk, country, blues, jazz and pop and mix them up with Eastern and western classical music. His follow-up album, Inventions, took things further and included a remarkable cover of Chuck Berry's "Memphis". On both recordings, Bull would either play alone or to the accompaniment of jazz drummer Billy Higgins, best known for his work with Ornette Coleman. His ability in blending so many different styles of music was matched only by those of artists such as Davy Graham and John Fahey and his albums would provide a foretaste of the world music that would follow. The third record for Vanguard, E Pluribus Unum, would be comprised of just two tracks, one on each side. Despite his drug problems, Bull managed to record a final album for Vanguard, Demolition Derby, and in 1975 he was offered a guest spot on Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour.
No more albums appeared until the ROM release Jukebox School of Music in 1988, which introduced the piano to the list of instruments that Bull played. This album also marked the return of Billy Higgins on "Truth". Vehicle followed in 1991. After Vehicle, which featured Aiyb Dieng, he moved to the Nashville, TN and started his Timeless Recording Society, which released Steel Tears in 1996, earning him a nomination for Best Folk album at the Nashville Music Awards.
After suffering from lung cancer for a number of years, Bull died at his home, just outside Nashville, on April 11, 2001.
~ RYM.
Sandy Bull (January 1, 1941 – April 11, 2001) was an American folk musician who was active from the late 1950s until his death.
Born in New York City, he was the only child of Harry A. Bull, an editor in chief of Town & Country magazine, and Daphne van Beuren Bayne (1916-2002), a New Jersey banking heiress who became known as a jazz harpist under the name Daphne Hellman. His parents were divorced in 1941, shortly after his birth.
Sandy Bull was a composer and accomplished player of many stringed instruments, including guitar, pedal-steel, banjo and the middle-eastern oud. His music and recordings are characterized by his blending of non-western instrumentation and improvisational traditions with the 1960?s folk revival. His albums for Vanguard Records often combined extended modal improvisations on oud with an eclectic repertoire of instrumental cover material. Bull is well known for his arrangement of Carl Orff’s composition Carmina Burana for 5 string banjo on his first album, which was included on an album of R.E.M.’s favourite songs. Other such musical fusions include his adaptation of Luiz Bonfa’s “Manha de Carnaval,” and compositions derived from J.S. Bach themes.
Sandy Bull’s approach to performance, composition and recording is notable for his extensive use of overdubbing and multi-track tape recording before such techniques became commonplace in music production. However, unlike the sophisticated, glossy aesthetic commonly associated with these techniques, Bull simply used overdubbing as a way to accompany himself and play all the instruments on many of his recordings. As documented in the “Still Valentine’s Day 1969 concert recording, Sandy Bull’s use of tape accompaniment was part of his live, solo performances as well. Bull also played the oud on Sam Phillips 1991 album, Cruel Inventions. Bull primary played a fingerpicking style of guitar and banjo and his style has been compared to that of John Fahey and Robbie Basho of the early Takoma label in the 1960s.
By his mother’s second marriage to The New Yorker writer Geoffrey Hellman, Bull had one half-sister, the sitar player Daisy Paradis; and a half-brother, Digger St. John.
Sandy Bull struggled with a drug problem for many years which seriously affected his performing. After completing a rehabilitation program in 1974, he began performing again. Bull died of lung cancer on April 11, 2001 at his home near Nashville, Tennessee.
~ Internet Source.

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1 comment:

aurora bunny said...

Thanks for the great sandy bull piece! I played him on my radio show minute times which I had from 1974 to 1988 @KCsb-fm (UCSB).
Sorry I never got to see him live or interview him. PS I am also part greek! My grandfather from Greece was a musician in vaudeville