Sunday, October 9, 2016

Various Artists - 1993 Sacred Sources 1 - "Live Forever"

Any compilation put together by Carlos Santana has got obvious potential, and Sacred Sources I: Live Forever manages to live up to the hype of its title as well as Hal Miller's preachy liner notes. A collection of live material from a diverse bunch of legendary musicians -- Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Coltrane -- Live Forever ranges in audio quality from clean (the Hendrix and Vaughan cuts) to very, very spotty (Coltrane's "Ogunde"), but all is forgiven with the high standard of the performances, most of which were previously unreleased until now. While purists may fret over the stylistic degrees of separation between, say, Coltrane and Vaughan, Live Forever has a remarkably continuous feel to it, and that's exactly Santana's point: eventually, the lines between jazz, blues, rock, reggae, and R&B begin to blur and the music is just plain good.

Santana Pays His Respects.

Intriguing release from Carlos Santana’s short-lived boutique label, Guts & Grace. According to the liner notes, Santana himself petitioned the estates of the participants to secure these, at-the-time, previously unreleased (in their entirety, anyway) live recordings. You get about 10 minutes from each artist, less from Coltrane, more from Hendrix. The sound quality is a varied bag, however, with Coltrane’s “Ogunde” faring the worst. The Stevie Ray track comes from his final 1990 tour, while readers tell us the Hendrix comes from 1970, at the Berkeley Community Theatre. It’s all obviously a labor of love for Santana, as he gathers together some of the inspirations that have gone into his own heady fusion of jazz, blues & rock. Sadly, a Vol. 2 never appeared.

Carlos Santana is unusual both for the passion of his music making, and also for the voraciousness of his listening. Carlos is a music junkie. He collects tapes from street musicians and jazz icons alike - anything, as Carlos puts it, "from the heart, for the heart." His knowledge is extensive - as is his collection - and devoid of pretention.

We get the benefit of both with Live Forever. The first release on Carlos' Guts & Grace label, it's also the first in his personally curated anthology series, Sacret Sources. With Live Forever, Carlos decided to compile outstanding concert performances from the last tours of Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Coltrane.

With the exception of Marvin's "Joy", none of this music has ever been released in its entirety. About a minute of "Ogunde" and two minutes of "I don't live today" have been available on CD and video respectively. All the rest is only available on this collection. In several cases, the music was entrusted directly to Carlos by the artists' heirs. In others, fellow collectors sent tapes, which Carlos the cleared with the relevant estates. And finally, in all cases, the artists' record companies gave their gracious permission for this release to occur.

The recording quality is occasionally far from perfect - several selections were mastered from mixing-board cassettes - but the emotional qualities are unassailable throughout.

Since Carlos has more great anthology ideas, there will be more volumes of Sacred Sources. Live Forever makes a spectacular beginning.

For us hardcore Stevie Ray Vaughan fans, there's a great live version of "Riviera Paradise" on here. Since a live version appears nowhere else on CD, this is a must. Source is from his last tour in 1990. Also will please Hendrix, Bob Marley fans alike.

Great performances of all the late great legends! Some rough sounding recordings but overall worth the money for the cd itself.


1. Jimi Hendrix - Message to love 4:56
2. Jimi Hendrix - Fire 3:47
3. Jimi Hendrix - I don't live today 5:10
4. Marvin Gaye - Joy 5:14
5. Marvin Gaye - What's going on 5:50
6. Bob Marley - Natural mystic 4:49
7. Bob Marley - Exodus 6:58
8. Stevie Ray Vaughan - Riviera Paradise 8:41
9. John Coltrane - Ogunde 5:27

1 comment: