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Santana

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Santana: Abraxas [Quad LP] (1970)

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ITEM# SR-COCQ30130
Ratings: C=G+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

Santana

Title:

Abraxas

Released: 1970
Label: Columbia
Catalog: CQ 30130
Genre: Latin Rock / Progressive Rock
NOTE: Quadraphonic LP / Stereo Digital Files
NOTE: LP cover has significant ring wear and some tape on seams
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
02 Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
03 Oye Como Va
04 Incident At Neshabur
05 Se A Cabo
06 Mother's Daughter
07 Samba Pa Ti
08 Hope You're Feeling Better
09 El Nicoya
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Album Review

by Alex Henderson [allmusic.com]

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.


Carlos Santana / Mahavishnu John McLaughlin - Love Devotion Surrender [Columbia PC 32034] (1973)

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ITEM# SR-COPC32034
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=NM-

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Artist:

Carlos Santana / Mahavishnu John McLaughlin

Title:

Love Devotion Surrender

Released: 1973
Label: Columbia
Catalog: PC 32034
Genre: Jazz Fusion
NOTE: Reissue from 197?
T R A C K L I S T:
01 A Love Supreme
02 Naima
03 The Life Divine
04 Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord
05 Meditation
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Album Review

Thom Jurek [allmusic.com]

A hopelessly misunderstood record in its time by Santana fans -- they were still reeling from the radical direction shift toward jazz on Caravanserai and praying it was an aberration -- it was greeted by Santana devotees with hostility, contrasted with kindness from major-league critics like Robert Palmer. To hear this recording in the context of not only Carlos Santana's development as a guitarist, but as the logical extension of the music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis influencing rock musicians -- McLaughlin, of course, was a former Davis sideman -- this extension makes perfect sense in the post-Sonic Youth, post-rock era. With the exception of Coltrane's "Naima" and McLaughlin's "Meditation," this album consists of merely three extended guitar jams played on the spiritual ecstasy tip -- both men were devotees of guru Shri Chinmoy at the time. The assembled band included members of Santana's band and the Mahavishnu Orchestra in Michael Shrieve, Billy Cobham, Doug Rauch, Armando Peraza, Jan Hammer (playing drums!), and Don Alias. But it is the presence of the revolutionary jazz organist Larry Young -- a colleague of McLaughlin's in Tony Williams' Lifetime band -- that makes the entire project gel. He stands as the great communicator harmonically between the two very different guitarists whose ideas contrasted enough to complement one another in the context of Young's aggressive approach to keep the entire proceeding in the air. In the acknowledgement section of Coltrane's "A Love Supreme," which opens the album, Young creates a channel between Santana's riotous, transcendent, melodic runs and McLaughlin's rapid-fire machine-gun riffing. Young' double-handed striated chord voicings offered enough for both men to chew on, leaving free-ranging territory for percussive effects to drive the tracks from underneath. Check "Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord," which was musically inspired by Bobby Womack's "Breezing" and dynamically foreshadowed by Pharoah Sanders' read of it, or the insanely knotty yet intervallically transcendent "The Life Divine," for the manner in which Young's organ actually speaks both languages simultaneously. Young is the person who makes the room for the deep spirituality inherent in these sessions to be grasped for what it is: the interplay of two men who were not merely paying tribute to Coltrane, but trying to take his ideas about going beyond the realm of Western music to communicate with the language of the heart as it united with the cosmos. After three decades, Love Devotion Surrender still sounds completely radical and stunningly, movingly beautiful.


Santana - Welcome [Columbia PC 32445] (9 November 1973)

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ITEM# SR-COPC32445
Ratings: C=VG; LP=VG+

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Artist:

Santana

Title:

Welcome

Released: 9 November 1973
Country: US
Label: Columbia
Catalog: PC 32445
Pressing: Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria
Genre: Jazz, Rock


Matrix / Runout (Side A):
o P AL 32445-1B S A8

Matrix / Runout (Side B):
o P BL 32445-1A S A2
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Going Home
02 Love, Devotion & Surrender
03 Samba De Sausalito
04 When I Look Into Your Eyes
05 Yours Is The Light
06 Mother Africa
07 Light Of Life
08 Flame-Sky
09 Welcome
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Album Review

Thom Jurek [allmusic.com]

The mark that the recording of Caravanserai and Love Devotion Surrender had left on Carlos Santana was monumental. The issue of Welcome, the band's fifth album and its first with the new lineup, was a very ambitious affair and was regarded by traditional fans of Santana with even more strangeness than its two predecessors. However, issued as it was at the end of 1973, after Miles had won a Grammy for Bitches Brew and after Weather Report, Return to Forever, and Seventh House had begun to win audiences from the restless pool of rock fans, Santana began to attract the attention of critics as well as jazz fans seeking something outside of the soul-jazz and free jazz realms for sustenance. The vibe that carried over from the previously mentioned two albums plus the addition of vocalist Leon Thomas to the fold added a bluesy, tougher edge to the sound showcased on Caravanserai. The band's hard root was comprised of Carlos, drummer Michael Shrieve, bassist Doug Rauch, and keyboard king Tom Coster. Add to this the percussion section of Armando Peraza and Chepito Areas as well as a second keyboard by Richard Kermode, and space was the place. The John Coltrane influence that inspired the Santana/John McLaughlin pairing on Love Devotion Surrender echoes here on ''Going Home,'' the album's opening track, arranged by Coltrane's widow, pianist and harpist Alice. The deeper jazz fusion/Latin funk edge is articulated on the track ''Samba de Sausalito,'' and to a much more accessible degree on ''Love, Devotion & Surrender,'' which features Thomas growling through the choruses and also features Wendy Haas, a keyboardist on Love Devotion Surrender who is enlisted here as a second vocalist. In fact, her pairing with Thomas on Shrieve's ''When I Look Into Your Eyes'' is nothing less than beatific. McLaughlin makes a return appearance here on the stunningly beautiful guitar spiritual ''Flame Sky.'' Brazilian song diva Flora Purim is featured on ''Yours Is the Light,'' a gorgeous Afro-Brazilian workout that embraces Cuba son, samba, and soul-jazz. Welcome also marked the first appearance of French soprano saxophonist Jules Broussard on a Santana date. He would later collaborate with Carlos and Alice Coltrane on Illuminations. Ultimately, Welcome is a jazz record with rock elements, not a rock record that flirted with jazz and Latin musical forms. It is understandable why Santana punters would continue to be disenchanted, however. Welcome was merely ahead of its time as a musical journey and is one of the more enduring recordings the band ever made. This is a record that pushes the envelope even today and is one of the most inspired recordings in the voluminous Santana oeuvre.


Santana - Zebop! (Columbia FC 37158) (1981)

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ITEM# SR-COFC37158
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Artist:

Santana

Title:

Zebop!

Released: 1981
Label: Columbia
Catalog: FC 37158
Genre: Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Changes
02 E Papa Re
03 Primera Invasion
04 Searchin'
05 Over And Over
06 Winning
07 Tales Of Kilimanjaro
08 The Sensitive Kind
09 American Gypsy
10 I Love You Much Too Much
11 Brightest Star
12 Hannibal
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Album Review

Mike DeGagne [allmusic.com]

After teaming up with Herbie Hancock for the jazz-flavored The Swing of Delight album, Carlos Santana reentered the pop/rock realm with the rest of his band for 1981's Zebop!. He still managed to include a little bit of his famed Latino sound into a few of the tracks ("E Papa Re," "American Gypsy"), albeit only slightly, but Zebop!'s overall feel is that of commercial rock, with the guitar arriving at the forefront through most of the cuts. Santana does a marvelous job at covering Russ Ballard's "Winning," taking it to number 17 on the charts, while "The Sensitive Kind" is built around the same type of radio-friendly structure yet it stalled at number 56. Zebop!'s formula is simple, and all of the songs carry an appeal that is aimed at a wider and more marketable audience base, with "Changes," "Searchin," and "I Love You Much Too Much" coming through as efficient yet not overly extravagant rock & roll efforts. The album's adjustable rhythms and accommodating structures kept the band alive as the decade rolled over, peaking at number 33 in the U.K. but cracking the Top Ten in the United States, which eventually led to Zebop! going gold. Actually, "Winning" followed in the same footsteps as Santana's last couple of Top 40 singles in "You Know That I Love You" from 1980 and "Stormy" from 1979. Shango, the album that came after Zebop!, gave them another hit with "Hold On," sung by bandmember Alex Ligertwood.


Carlos Santana - Havana Moon [CBS FC 38642] (1983)

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ITEM# SR-CBFC38642
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Artist:

Carlos Santana

Title:

Havana Moon

Released: 1983
Label: CBS
Catalog: FC 38642
Genre: Jazz
NOTE: Promotional stamp on back cover
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Watch Your Step
02 Lightnin'
03 Who Do You Love
04 Mudbone
05 One With You
06 Ecuador
07 Tales Of Kilimanjaro
08 Havana Moon
09 Daughter Of The Night
10 They All Went To Mexico
11 Vereda Tropical
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Album Review

William Ruhlmann [allmusic.com]

The third Carlos Santana solo album marks a surprising turn toward 1950s rock & roll and Tex-Mex, with covers such as Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" and Chuck Berry's title song. Produced by veteran R&B producers Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett, the album features an eclectic mix of sidemen, including Booker T. Jones of Booker T & the MG's, Willie Nelson, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Havana Moon is a light effort, but it's one of Santana's most enjoyable albums, which may explain why it was also the best-selling Santana album outside the group releases in ten years.

Santana's Biography

by William Ruhlmann [allmusic.com]

Santana is the primary exponent of Latin-tinged rock, particularly due to its combination of Latin percussion (congas, timbales, etc.) with bandleader Carlos Santana's distinctive, high-pitched lead guitar playing. The group was the last major act to emerge from the psychedelic San Francisco music scene of the 1960s and it enjoyed massive success at the end of the decade and into the early '70s. The musical direction then changed to a more contemplative and jazzy style as the band's early personnel gradually departed, leaving the name in the hands of Carlos Santana, who guided the group to consistent commercial success over the next quarter-century. By the mid-'90s, Santana seemed spent as a commercial force on records, though the group continued to attract audiences for its concerts worldwide. But the band made a surprising and monumental comeback in 1999 with Supernatural, an album featuring many guest stars that became Santana's best-selling release and won a raft of Grammy Awards.

Mexican-native Carlos Santana (born July 20, 1947, in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico) moved to San Francisco in the early '60s, by which time he was already playing the guitar professionally. In 1966, he formed the Santana Blues Band with keyboard player and singer Gregg Rolie (born June 17, 1947, in Seattle, WA) and other musicians, the personnel changing frequently. The group was given its name due to a musicians' union requirement that a single person be named a band's leader and it did not at first indicate that Carlos was in charge. Bass player David Brown (born February 15, 1947, in New York, NY) joined early on, as did Carlos' high school friend, conga player Mike Carabello (born November 18, 1947, in San Francisco), though he did not stay long at first. By mid-1967, the band's lineup consisted of Carlos, Rolie, Brown, drummer Bob "Doc" Livingston, and percussionist Marcus Malone. The name was shortened simply to Santana and the group came to the attention of promoter Bill Graham, who gave it its debut at his Fillmore West theater on June 16, 1968. Santana was signed to Columbia Records, which sent producer David Rubinson to tape the band at a four-night stand at the Fillmore West December 19-22, 1968. The results were not released until almost 30 years later, when Columbia/Legacy issued Live at the Fillmore 1968 in 1997.

Livingston and Malone left the lineup in 1969 and were replaced by Carabello and drummer Michael Shrieve (born July 6, 1949, in San Francisco), with a second percussionist, Jose "Chepito" Areas (born July 25, 1946, in Leon, Nicaragua) making Santana a sextet. The band recorded its self-titled debut album and began to tour nationally, making an important stop at the Woodstock festival on August 15, 1969. Santana was released the same month. It peaked in the Top Five, going on to remain in the charts over two years, sell over two million copies, and spawn the Top 40 single "Jingo" and the Top Ten single "Evil Ways." Santana's performance of "Soul Sacrifice" was a highlight of the documentary film Woodstock and its double-platinum soundtrack album, which appeared in 1970. The band's second album, Abraxas, was released in September 1970 and was even more successful than its first. It hit number one, remaining in the charts more than a-year-and-a-half and eventually selling over four million copies while spawning the Top Five hit "Black Magic Woman" and the Top Ten hit "Oye Como Va." By the end of the year, the group had added a seventh member, teenage guitarist Neal Schon (born February 27, 1954).

Santana's third album, Santana III, was performed by the seven bandmembers, though several guest musicians were also mentioned in the credits, notably percussionist Coke Escovedo, who played on all the tracks. Released in September 1971, the album was another massive hit, reaching number one and eventually selling over two million copies while spawning the Top Ten hit "Everybody's Everything" and the Top 20 hit "No One to Depend On." But it marked the end of the Woodstock-era edition of Santana, which broke up at the end of the tour promoting it, with Carlos retaining rights to the band name.

Following a tour with Buddy Miles that resulted in a live duo album (Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!), Carlos reorganized Santana and recorded the fourth Santana band album, Caravanserai; each track featured individual musician credits. From the previous lineup, Rolie, Shrieve, Areas, and Schon appeared, alongside pianist Tom Coster, percussionist James Mingo Lewis, percussionist Armando Peraza, guitarist/bassist Douglas Rauch, and percussionist Rico Reyes, among others. (Rolie and Schon left to form Journey.) The album was released in September 1972; it peaked in the Top Five and was eventually certified platinum. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance with Vocal Coloring.

Carlos, who had become a disciple of the guru Sri Chinmoy and adopted the name Devadip (meaning "the eye, the lamp, and the light of God"), next made a duo album with John McLaughlin, guitarist with the Mahavishnu Orchestra (Love Devotion Surrender). Meanwhile, the lineup of Santana continued to fluctuate. On Welcome, the band's fifth album, released in November 1973, it consisted of Carlos, Shrieve, Areas, Coster, Peraza, Rauch, keyboard player Richard Kermode, and singer Leon Thomas. The album went gold and peaked in the Top 20. In May 1974, Lotus, a live album featuring the same lineup, was released only in Japan. (It was issued in the U.S. in 1991.) Carlos continued to alternate side projects with Santana band albums, next recording a duo LP with John Coltrane's widow Alice Coltrane (Illuminations). Columbia decided to cash in on the band's diminishing popularity by releasing Santana's Greatest Hits in July 1974. The compilation peaked in the Top 20 and eventually went double platinum. The sixth new Santana album, Borboletta, followed in October. The band personnel for the LP featured Carlos, Shrieve, Areas, Coster, Peraza, a returning David Brown, saxophonist Jules Broussard, and singer Leon Patillo, plus guest stars Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, and Stanley Clarke. Borboletta peaked in the Top 20 and eventually went gold. Carlos steered Santana back to a more commercial sound in the mid-'70s in an attempt to stop the eroding sales of the band's albums. He enlisted Santana's original producer, David Rubinson, to handle the next LP. The band was streamlined to a sextet consisting of himself, Coster, Peraza, Brown, drummer Ndugu Leon Chancler (Shrieve having departed to work with Stomu Yamashta), and singer Greg Walker. The result was Amigos, released in March 1976, which returned Santana to the Top Ten and went gold. The band was back only nine months later with another Rubinson production, Festival, for which Santana consisted of Carlos, Coster, returning members Jose "Chepito" Areas and Leon Patillo, drummer Gaylord Birch, percussionist Raul Rekow, and bass player Pablo Telez. This album peaked in the Top 40 and went gold. Never having issued a live album in the U.S., Santana made up for the lapse with Moonflower, released in October 1977; that band consisted of Carlos, Coster, Areas, Rekow, Telez, returning member Greg Walker, percussionist Pete Escovedo, drummer Graham Lear, and bass player David Margen. The album peaked in the Top Ten and eventually went platinum, its sales stimulated by the single release of a revival of the Zombies' "She's Not There" that peaked in the Top 20, Santana's first hit single in nearly six years.

Turning to producers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, Santana returned to the studio for Inner Secrets, released in October 1978. The revamped lineup this time was Carlos, Rekow, Walker, Lear, Margen, and returning members Coke Escovedo and Armando Peraza, keyboard player Chris Rhyne, and guitarist/keyboard player Chris Solberg. The album was quickly certified gold, and a revival of the Classics IV hit "Stormy" made the Top 40, but Inner Secrets peaked disappointingly below the Top 20. Once again adopting his guru name of Devadip, Carlos issued his first real solo album (Illuminations/Oneness) in February 1979. Marathon, the tenth Santana band studio album, followed in September, produced by Keith Olsen, the band here comprised Carlos, Rekow, Lear, Margen, Peraza, Solberg, singer Alex Ligertwood, and keyboard player Alan Pasqua. The album equaled the success of Inner Secrets, peaking outside the Top 20 but going gold, with "You Know That I Love You" becoming a Top 40 single. Again, Carlos followed in the winter with another solo effort (The Swing of Delight).

Santana (Carlos, Rekow, Lear, Margen, Peraza, Ligertwood, keyboard player Richard Baker, and percussionist Orestes Vilato) spent some extra time on its next release, not issuing Zebop! until March 1981, and the extra effort paid off. Paced by the Top 20 single "Winning," the album reached the Top Ten and went gold. The band lavished similar attention on Shango, which was released in August 1982. The same lineup as that on Zebop! was joined by original member Gregg Rolie, who also co-produced the album. A music video helped Santana enjoy its first Top Ten single in more than a decade with "Hold On," but that did not translate into increased sales for the album, which peaked in the Top 20 but became the band's first LP not to at least go gold. Carlos followed with another solo album (Havana Moon), but did not release a new Santana band album until February 1985 with Beyond Appearances, produced by Val Garay. By now the lineup consisted of Carlos, Rekow, Peraza, Ligertwood, Vilato, returning member Greg Walker, bass player Alphonso Johnson, keyboard player David Sancious, drummer Chester C. Thompson, and keyboard player Chester D. Thompson. "Say It Again," the album's single, reached the Top 40, but that was better than the LP did.

Santana staged a 20-year anniversary reunion concert in August 1986 featuring many past bandmembers. The February 1987 album Freedom marked the formal inclusion of Buddy Miles as a member of Santana, alongside Carlos, Rekow, Peraza, Vilato, Johnson, Chester D. Thompson, and returning members Tom Coster and Graham Lear. The album barely made the Top 100. Carlos followed in the fall with another solo album (Blues for Salvador), winning his first Grammy Award in the process (Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the title track). In 1988, he added Wayne Shorter to the band for a tour, then put together a reunion edition of Santana that featured Areas, Rolie, and Shrieve beside Johnson, Peraza, and Thompson. In October, Columbia celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the band's signing to the label with the retrospective Viva Santana! The next new Santana album was Spirits Dancing in the Flesh, released in June 1990, for which the band was Carlos, Peraza, Thompson, returning member Alex Ligertwood, drummer Walfredo Reyes, and bass player Benny Rietveld. A modest seller that made only the lower reaches of the Top 100, it marked the end of the band's 22-year tenure at Columbia Records.

In 1991, Santana signed to Polydor Records, which, in April 1992, released the band's 16th studio album, Milagro. The lineup comprised Carlos, Thompson, Ligertwood, Reyes, Rietvald, and percussionist Karl Perazzo. Polydor was not able to reverse the band's commercial decline, as the album became Santana's first new studio release not to reach the Top 100. The group followed in November 1993 with Sacred Fire: Live in South America, which featured Carlos, Thompson, Ligertwood, Reyes, Perazzo, singer Vorriece Cooper, bass player Myron Dove, and guitarist Jorge Santana, Carlos' brother. The album barely made the charts. In 1994, Carlos, Jorge, and their nephew Carlos Hernandez, released Santana Brothers, another marginal chart entry. The same year, Areas, Carabello, Rolie, and Shrieve formed a band called Abraxas and released the album Abraxas Pool, which did not chart.

Santana left Polydor and signed briefly to EMI before moving to Arista Records, run by Clive Davis, who had been president of Columbia during the band's heyday. Carlos and Davis put together Supernatural, which was stuffed with appearances by high-profile guest stars including Eagle-Eye Cherry, Wyclef Jean, Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill, Rob Thomas of matchbox 20, Everlast, and Dave Matthews. Arista released the album in June 1999, followed by the single "Smooth" featuring Rob Thomas. The album and single hit number one and in 2000, a second single, "Maria Maria," also topped the charts. Supernatural's sales exploded, taking it past ten million copies and the album garnered 11 Grammy nominations. Santana won eight Grammys, for Record of the Year ("Smooth"), Album of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal ("Maria Maria"), Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals ("Smooth"), Best Pop Instrumental Performance ("El Farol"), Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal ("Put Your Lights On"), Best Rock Instrumental Performance ("The Calling"), and Best Rock Album, and "Smooth" won the Grammy for Song of the Year for authors Rob Thomas and Itaal Shur. The follow-up, Shaman, appeared in 2002. Three years later, All That I Am arrived with Steven Tyler, Michelle Branch, Big Boi, Joss Stone, Bo Bice, and many more making guest appearances. Guitar Heaven appeared in 2010 and featured Santana with several guest vocalists taking on some of the most classic guitar-based rock tracks of all time, including George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." In 2012 the guitarist emerged with Shape Shifter, the debut recording for his own Starfaith label. Santana wrote or co-wrote all but two of its 13 tracks (all but one an instrumental), and produced the sessions.
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