Sandy Bull
Fantasias For Guitar and Banjo


4.5
superb

Review

by Frippertronics CONTRIBUTOR (115 Reviews)
October 23rd, 2017 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1963 | Tracklist


A Guide on Folk Music – Volume I

Fantasias For Guitar and Banjo came out in August 1963 – yet for an album well over fifty years old, it sounds an entire decade ahead of its time. Conceived by American Primitivism guitarist Sandy Bull and accompanied by jazz drummer Billy Higgins (best known for his work with saxophonist Ornette Coleman on classic albums such as Science Fiction and the legendary 1959 classic The Shape of Jazz to Come), Fantasias was not only Bull’s debut with the highly esteemed Vanguard label, but was possibly Bull’s greatest triumph in a career that reached several peaks and many debilitating lows throughout the sixty years he lived. Juxtaposing the realms of classical music with the old-time music instrument of choice, the banjo, on his interpretations of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and William Byrd’s “Non Nobis”, Bull introduced such music to a new generation of music enthusiasts, record buyers and so on.

The man was an innovator, taking notes from Indian and Hindustani classical musicians like Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, and perfectly assimilating the exotic stylings of the genre into Western classical guitar music on the 22-minute epic “Blend”. Stemming from his admiration of the Folkways record label, which documented (and most likely introduced Bull to) ethnic music from across the world, “Blend’s” improvisational nature allowed Bull and Higgins to segue from momentary glances into the Indian classical pastiches that are evident throughout the piece, to more free-form jazz drumming sections and all the way back to more familiar Western motifs that enabled the duo to seamlessly traverse from one part to the next with ease. At first glance, Fantasias comes off as your typical run-of-the-mill early 60s folkie record, but simply enough, this isn’t the case. It’s more than mere folk music that you’d hear at the local pub in Greenwich, but is one of the most experimental records of its time that truly never lost its edge.



Recent reviews by this author
Francoise Hardy La QuestionRhodri Davies, David Sylvian and Mark Wastell There Is No Love
Nine Inch Nails BrokenSlowdive Pygmalion
The Stooges I Got A RightCaptain Beefheart and His Magic Band Lick My Decals Off, Baby
user ratings (16)
Chart.
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


15216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Blend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUgj94xGS3g&t=880s



You can learn more on Sandy Bull here, as it gives you a nice glance into what he was about and how he lived: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/9171822/Sandy-Bull-the-Sixties-folk-pioneer-who-burnt-out-too-soon.html



Volume I;

Volume II -- On The Beach, Oct. 27th

Volume III -- Pleasures of the Harbor, Oct. 31st (50th)

Volume IV -- A Boy, Nov. 2nd


Asdfp277
October 23rd 2017


15808 Comments


what part of no ampersands do y'all not understand, they are the devil

Cygnatti
October 23rd 2017


32009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

blessed.

Cygnatti
October 23rd 2017


32009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

btw pls merge this album to the one that already exists ~ :]

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


15216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"what part of no ampersands do y'all not understand, they are the devil"



I had it set as the one that was already in the database, but I've learned my lesson for real this time



requested a merge so hopefully this is settled by morning

Asdfp277
October 23rd 2017


15808 Comments


it's good practice to just edit ampersands out everytime u see one, at least that's what i do

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


15216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah



never had much problems with them but I guess it's just another thing to add to the long list of things that need fixed

TheBarber
October 23rd 2017


3579 Comments


Great review. Short, sweet and well needed. I'm always astonished at how downplayed and free flowing Blend sounds despite all of its ideas and influences.

Also really excited about this upcoming series. Is there just gonna be four volumes ?

Digging: Mamaleek - Via Dolorosa

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


15216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nope, it's going to be a running series starting from this up until December 31st.



I already had eight records in mind and allowed users to make an entry (three at the most, if they wished) to expand upon the series so there's more variety to it. I may add some more entries if I see it fit, but right now I have 26 albums (now 25, since this was no. 1) in the series. (edit: decided to extend the deadline until Wednesday)



http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?listid=177724

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


16425 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ah hah!



Will check later

Digging: Cathal Coughlan - The Sky's Awful Blue

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


15216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

added the tracklist and better quality cover art to this so hopefully it stays when it's merged with the correct version (can't believe this only has 14 ratings though)

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


13294 Comments


this sounds awful but i might check just to pls u frip

Digging: The Body and Full Of Hell - Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


16425 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The cream of hillbilly music tho

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


5447 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will be keeping my beady eyes sharply peeled for this series fella. Sweet, short write up - never heard this before but I just might now.

TheBarber
October 23rd 2017


3579 Comments


I have joined the sput folk union ! Have a good listen Fripp

theBoneyKing
October 23rd 2017


12934 Comments


Nice stuff Fripp. Had this on my computer for a while but haven't listened to it yet.

Digging: Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


15216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you know what to do

theBoneyKing
October 23rd 2017


12934 Comments


After Secrets of the Beehive ;-)

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


15216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

!! !! !

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2017


15216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

a glorious day



and altertide is nowhere to be found



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy