The Story Behind the Music

by James Speed Hensinger



Electric Blend by Sandy Bull



MUSIC CREDIT:    Music is by Sandy Bull (1941-2001) The song, "Electric Blend," is Side 2 of his album, "E Pluribus Unum" (Vanguard, 1969).





Electric Blend




Sandy Bull may be one of the least known musical artists of the late Twentieth Century. Classically trained, his desire to be in total control of his music meant that he recorded using multi-tracking. At the time, that meant recording himself on magnetic tape using one instrument and then playing the tape back and laying down another track with a second instrument. Since he was accomplished on Guitar (acoustic and electric), oud, banjo, bass guitar (acoustic and electric), and mandolin, he was virtually a one-man band, although he did use Billy Higgins on percussion to accompany him on several albums.

Electric Blend exhibits a full range of Bull's skills. You will hear each of the instruments as he accompanies himself. Please also notice the unusual tuning of some of his instruments. He frequently adds a drone chord.

I have been a fan since the mid-1960s, and chose this piece because it exemplifies the music of the period without intruding lyrics. Bull at the time of the recording may or may not have been influenced by mind altering pharmaceuticals, but many of the performers of the era were. The surrealism of the music makes a perfect accompaniment to the yin and yang of my photos showing the "art" of violence and the pastoral rural character of much of Vietnam.

Although Bull did perform in coffee houses in San Francisco, he rarely gave live concerts in the manner of the pop stars of the period. I believe this was at least partly because of his multi-tracking method of recording. There was just no way he could reproduce his recorded music in a live performance.






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James  Speed  Hensinger