Friday, September 15, 2006

One Advantage Of A Spotty Memory

I knew I liked my old vinyl copy of Santana's Abraxas (1970). However, I'd forgotten that I had also purchased it on CD, until I went to put away Raising Hell by Run DMC. "Ru" being in fairly close proximity to "Sa" led to the pleasant surprise afforded by my lack of memory. "Hey," I thought to myself, "I can take that Santana CD to work."

1. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts (Carabello) – 4:48
2. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Peter Green)/(Gabor Szabo) – 5:24
3. Oye Como Va (Tito Puente) – 4:19
4. Incident at Neshabur (Gianquinto/Santana) – 5:02
5. Se a Cabo (Areas) – 2:51
6. Mother's Daughter (Rolie) – 4:28
7. Samba Pa Ti (Santana) – 4:47
8. Hope You're Feeling Better (Rolie) – 4:07
9. El Nicoya (Areas) – 1:32


Personnel: Carlos Santana - lead guitar, vocals; Gregg Rolie - keyboards, vocals; Dave Brown - bass guitar; Mike Shrieve - drums; Jose Areas - timbales, conga; Mike Carabello - conga

This album is so totally cool it's almost absurd. I love it. It's a truly amazing fusion of blues, jazz and Latin music, all through a psychedelic rock filter. Several songs are entirely instrumental, and others are mostly instrumental. However, the vocals, when present, are quite good. The keyboards are cool, and there's a ton of percussion. Of course, Santana's uniquely excellent, instantly recognizable guitar sound takes center stage. Plus, you have to love an album title pulled from a novel by Hermann Hesse (Demian, in this case).

Briefly, track by track:
1. Classic instrumental with a piano intro, and great, screaming guitar.
2. An all-time classic version of a great song, blended with an instrumental. Check out the ridiculously cool little, high-pitched, "tingly" guitar sound just after the 4:30 mark of this song.
3. Another classic rock radio favorite, originally written by Tito Puente.
4. Instrumental which shifts to a much slower tempo just before the 3:00 mark. Very cool.
5. Ass-kicking guitar dominates the first 1:30 of the song. The only vocals are several repetitions of the title.
6. Mighty fine vocal performance by Mr. Rolie, Santana provides some psychedelic guitar - heavy, but with crazy fluidity.
7. Instrumental with a bluesy intro, and fast, incredible guitar.
8. Nice organ/percussion intro, more cool Rolie vocals, and heavy, yet stinging guitar from Carlos, really picking up the pace around 2 minutes in.
9. Short little closing number with chant-like group vocals.

Abraxas was listed at #205 on the RS list. And, ya gotta love that cover art...

4 Comments:

Blogger Old Lady said...

I will side with you on this one.

12:00 PM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Our high school marching band kicked off every pep rally with "Oye Como Va" (followed by "Smoke on the Water") ... so I always want to grab pompoms and dance around every time I hear it (no, I wasn't a cheerleader; I just enjoy dancing with pompoms).

Excellent review; glad to see you're diving back into the vinyl. Off to read your Rnd DMC review ...

2:31 PM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

And by the time they hit England, they had Neal Schon and Greg the bassist, who with Rolie, would constitute three-fifths of Journey. If you can find it and I'm sure VH-1 classic will still run it every so often as they did on "Eight-track Flashback," check out Santana's performance on the "Old Grey Whistle Test."

2:27 AM, September 16, 2006  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

And by the time they hit England, they had Neal Schon and Greg the bassist, who with Rolie, would constitute three-fifths of Journey. If you can find it and I'm sure VH-1 classic will still run it every so often as they did on "Eight-track Flashback," check out Santana's performance on the "Old Grey Whistle Test."

2:27 AM, September 16, 2006  

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