Friday, March 23, 2018

Santana - 1970 [1998] "Abraxas"

Abraxas is the second studio album by Latin rock band Santana, released in September 1970. In 2016, the album was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its "cultural, historic, or artistic significance. The title of the album originates from a line in Hermann Hesse's book, Demian, quoted on the album's back cover: "We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas...."

The album cover features the 1961 painting Annunciation by German-French painter Mati Klarwein. According to the artist, it was one of the first paintings he did after relocating to New York City. Carlos Santana reportedly noticed it in a magazine and asked that it be on the cover of the band's upcoming album. Abraxas is now considered to feature a classic of rock-album covers.

Santana's 1970 follow-up to their Woodstock-propelled smash '69 debut found leader Carlos Santana further expanding his San Francisco group's already broad musical boundaries. To wit: two hit singles that emanated from opposite ends of the spectrum--"Black Magic Woman," originally written and recorded by English blues-rock guitarist Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac, and New York Latin percussionist/dance music king Tito Puente's infectious "Oye Como Va." Tying blues, rock, and salsa together in one pancultural package, Abraxas also featured such standout tracks as "Gypsy Queen" and "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts." The latter underscored the growing Eastern sensibilities of guitarist Santana.

The San Francisco Bay Area rock scene of the late '60s was one that encouraged radical experimentation and discouraged the type of mindless conformity that's often plagued corporate rock. When one considers just how different Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, and the Grateful Dead sounded, it becomes obvious just how much it was encouraged. In the mid-'90s, an album as eclectic as Abraxas would be considered a marketing exec's worst nightmare. But at the dawn of the 1970s, this unorthodox mix of rock, jazz, salsa, and blues proved quite successful. Whether adding rock elements to salsa king Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va," embracing instrumental jazz-rock on "Incident at Neshabur" and "Samba Pa Ti," or tackling moody blues-rock on Fleetwood Mac's "Black Magic Woman," the band keeps things unpredictable yet cohesive. Many of the Santana albums that came out in the '70s are worth acquiring, but for novices, Abraxas is an excellent place to start.

This is one of those timeless Classics that gets better and better as time goes by...Nearly 50 years on I never tire of the depth, rhythm and vitality of this album and it sounds as fresh as it did in the 70,s.
As a musician and a band they obviously matured and perfected their interplay over the ensuing decades but never have they sounded as alive and with it as on this their 2nd album , considered by many an all time Gem, and considered by most Santana peers as their finest hour and certainly commercially one of their most successful.

When one listens to BLACK MAGIC WOMAN, SE A CABO, OYE COMO VA, the incredible INCIDENT AT NESHABUR and the all time fave SAMBA PA TI, how can anyone doubt the sheer brilliance and quality of this album?? THIS is SANTANA at their very very best!!

Tracks Listing:

1. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts (4:48)
2. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen (5:17)
3. Oye Como Va (4:17)
4. Incident At Neshabur (4:58)
5. Se A Cabo (2:49)
6. Mother's Daughter (4:25)
7. Samba Pa Ti (4:46)
8. Hope You're Feeling Better (4:10)
9. El Nicoya (1:29)
Bonus Tracks on 1998 Legacy remaster:
10. Se A Cabo (Live *) (3:47)
11. Toussaint L'Overture (Live *) (4:52)
12. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Live *) (4:57)

* Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, april 18, 1970.

Line-up / Musicians:

- Carlos Santana / guitars, vocals
- Gregg Rolie / keyboards, vocals, arrangements
- David Brown / bass
- Michael Shrieve / drums
- Michael Carabello / congas, arrangements
- Jose 'Chepito' Areas / timbales, congas, arrangements
- Alberto Gianguinto / piano (4)
- Rico Reyes / vocals (3,9), percussion (9), arrangements



  2. In my opinion, this is Santana's masterpiece. Thank you!

  3. The best Santana work. A masterpiece. Thank You!!!!