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Still Valentines Day, 1969: Live At the Matrix, San Francisco (Live)

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Along with John Fahey, Robbie Basho and others, Sandy Bull was one of a handful of American guitarists who, not content with merely mastering bygone styles, used the folk and blues idioms of the ‘30s and ‘40s as a platform for the exploration of a myriad of musical styles. Bull exhibited a serious interest in Brazilian rhythms and Middle Eastern scales that caused his music to seem warm and inviting in contrast to Fahey’s more austere work. Though Sandy Bull’s first two full lengths Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo and Inventions are the best introduction to Bull’s style, the 1969 live recording Still Valentine’s Day finds Bull in previously uncharted territory, improvising wildly on oud and guitar over a series of pre-recorded backing tracks. Some of these tracks recall the tranquility of Bull’s earlier work, but the most interesting pieces, particularly the slow crawling twang of “Memphis, TN” and the free-floating arpeggios of “Bouree” hint at the emergence of a more brooding, dissonant sensibility. Though the sound quality is occasionally a bit rough, this recording is a revealing and invaluable addition to Bull’s woefully slim discography.

Customer Reviews

A truly unique performance by a totally unique artist

This is a wonderful live recording by a truly amazingly original and eclectic artist. His improvisational ability is a wonder from the jazz style improvisations of Manha de Carnival to the modal microtonal makam based taximi (improvisations) for oud. In addition, his use of multi tracking and re wiring his amplifiers were decades ahead of his time. He was a true pioneer, anticipating world music and he was proficient in any musical genre he explored. I cannot think of any artist who even remotely sounded like him.


Born: 1941 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Long before Ry Cooder, Leo Kottke, Richard Thompson, and others were impressing listeners with their ability to hop from genre to genre, Sandy Bull glided from classical and jazz to ethnic music and rock & roll with grace and verve. Accompanied on his first two albums by renowned jazz drummer Billy Higgins, Bull produced some of the first extended instrumental compositions for guitar that incorporated elements of folk, jazz, and Indian and Arabic-influenced dronish modes. Not "rock" by any stretch...
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Still Valentines Day, 1969: Live At the Matrix, San Francisco (Live), Sandy Bull
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