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GUEST,Bob Coltman Obit: Guitarist Sandy Bull has passed (1941-2001) (15) RE: info request:: Guitarist Sandy Bull? 28 Jun 12

From the "I knew him when" department, this may be of interest:

A banjo picking friend of mine, saying, "You gotta hear this guy," took me over to Woodstock Country Day School in I think late winter 1956, to meet Sandy while he was a student there.

That early photo on the import compilation looks very like he did then: serious, intent, listening to that inner ear. Meeting him, I got the impression he was in a world of his own. But what a musical world.

Sandy was playing stuff like nobody'd ever heard before. He was newly into steel drums at the time, talking passionately about how to make them out of 55-gallon oil drums, hammer out the notes in the metal, etc., but it was guitar where he really shone (I don't think he was playing oud then). While he'd started out influenced by Pete Seeger in his banjo and guitar playing, he was already branching out impressively into those brilliant instrumentals that were his later trademark.

His breakout on Vanguard thrilled us all, and the Nitty Gritties were far from being the only ones listening. He was a major, if subterranean, influence on guitar-oriented rock in the sixties.

He sticks out a mile along with David Lindley, then of Kaleidoscope, Robin Williamson and Mike Heron of the Incredible String Band, and Ry Cooder with Captain Beefheart in the Safe As Milk days, as a true magicians of sound at a time when new sound was being formed out of the surrounding ether.

Just shows how eclectic and far-reaching the roots were in those years when rock was just finding out what the possibilities were.

Bob Coltman

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