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Sandy Bull – No Deposit, No Return Blues

Thu 19 August 2010 // 19:00

+ introduction from KC Bull
+ special solo instrumental performances from Helen Jenner + Neil Smith
Thurs 19th / 7pm / £4/£5

A night given over to the talent and story of Sandy Bull, an American - the ultimate eclecticist, whose albums combined a wild assortment of genres and traditions: from Chuck Berry to fourteenth-century ballades; from salsa and samba to Indian, African, and Middle Eastern music. He was a real character who was a favourite of Hunter S Thompson.

Tonight includes two wonderful grassroots films and a talk by his daughter, plus two short one-off instrumental performances from artists who push their music into wild zones.

Sandy was proved a key influence on lots of players including Jimi Hendrix, Steve Winwood, Patti Smith and John Fahey. He released three Vanguard albums -- Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo (1963), Inventions (1965), and E Pluribus Unum (1968) -- only to drop out with a heroin addiction and then bounce back to play in Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975. He spent the rest of his life a restless and innovative outsider on the music scene, eventually moving closer to his Americanist roots and settling outside Nashville. Davey Graham was a similar type figure in the UK, or Don Cherry in jazz. Slowly his music is making rightfully weird inroads again. Bull's genius wasn't versatility, virtuosity, or even his eclecticism; it was his rage to synthesize. Bach on banjo, bossa nova on oud, and especially raga on guitar: it was imaginative transgressions; now see and hear his story.

KC Bull, his daughter, is here to present two films and has asked us to have some guests play for you. The films are An Introductory Short (a documentary about Sandy Bull’s mother) and No Deposit, No Return Blues (the main feature), all about her father and her family’s intriguing history. This feature documentary starts off in the early sixties. Before such six-string heroes as Ry Cooder, Leo Kottke and Richard Thompson impressed with their ability to hop among and fuse musical genres, Sandy Bull glided from classical and jazz to ethnic music and rock & roll with grace and verve. Incorporating global elements, Bull's ethereal, psychedelic folk-rock recordings and performances, which looked beyond American roots music for their inspiration, made him a cult hero to a generation of musicians and adventurous audiences. In 2001 Bull died of lung cancer, but not before his daughter began to fashion a personal portrait of a gifted musician and a moving ode to a father and daughter relationship. The film is KC Bull's understated way of saying, "Have you heard of my dad? No? Oh, you should."

Article on KC Bull’s films:

Sandy Bull myspace: