Sandy Bull

Re-Inventions: Best of the Vanguard Years

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Sandy Bull's technical skills have always been correlated with his vision. As a guitarist, he could often slip into repetitive drags of both time and space, but as a musical theorist, those crawls into other dimensions were often fascinating excursions that were years ahead of their time. Re-Inventions: Best of the Vanguard Years gathers eight songs from three of the four albums Bull recorded for Vanguard for a decade beginning in 1963. It's Bull's most productive and exciting period, and this splendidly assembled compilation serves it well. His mastery of the acoustic and electric guitar, bass, banjo, and oud is prominently on display here. And on his most sublime track, the 21-minute "Blend," Bull constructs a psychedelic folk song that meanders through several glorious fields before slamming into an open crevice for a rejoicing journey home. It's a straight take, with no overdubs or edits, and it's Bull -- with drummer Billy Higgins -- at his most poetic and timeless.

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