Straight Answers to Your Questions
This is a true Demo Disc in the world of rock records. It's also one of those recordings that demands to be played LOUD. If you've got the the big room, big speakers, and plenty of power to drive them, you can have a LIVE ROCK AND ROLL CONCERT in your very own house. When Santana lets loose with some of those legendary monster power chords -- which incidentally do get good and loud in the mix, unlike most rock records which suffer from compression and "safe" mixes -- I like to say that there is no stereo system on the planet that can play loud enough for me. (Horns maybe, but I don't like the sound of horns, so there you go.)
You may have heard me say this before, but it's important to make something clear about this music. It doesn't even make sense at moderate listening levels. Normal listening levels suck the life right out of it. You can tell by the way it was recorded -- this music is designed to be played back at LOUD levels, and anything less does a disservice to the musicians, not to mention the listener, you.
Like Santana's first album, when you play a Hot Stamper copy of Abraxas very loud, you soon find yourself marvelling at the musicianship of the group -- because the best Hot Stamper pressings, communicating every bit of the energy and clarity the recording has to offer, let you hear what a great band they were.
On badly mastered records, such as the run-of-the-mill domestic LP, or the audiophile pressings on MoFi and CBS, the music lacks the power of the real thing. I want to hear Santana ROCK. Most pressings don't let me do that, but the best sure do.
Folks, you owe it to yourself to hear what a great band Santana were back in the day. Hot Stampers of any of the first three records will do the trick. If you've got the stereo that can play live rock and roll, we've got the records that sound like Santana playing live. Take it from someone who likes to listen to his music at fairly loud levels, it is truly a thrill.
Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
Oye Como Va
Incident at Neshabur
Se a Cabó
Samba Pa Ti
Hope You're Feeling
Se a Cabó
Samba Pa Ti
Hope You're Feeling
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.
Carlos also decided that he wanted to further the group’s dedication to Latin music with jazz elements. That allowed him to make the best use of drummer Shrieve, who had proved himself a master of polyrhythms with his solo at Woodstock during the group’s performance of Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice.” Abraxas’ “Oye Como Va” and “Incident At Neshabur” became the centerpieces of this pursuit.
“Oye Como Va” was originally recorded by Tito Puente, the great New York City-born Afro-Caribbean bandleader and composer of Puerto Rican descent. “I thought, ‘This is a song like ‘Louie Louie,’” Santana told Ben Fong-Torres. “This is a song that when you play it, people are going to get up and dance.”
He was right. The relaxed patter of the drums and percussion along with dynamic breaks and Carlos’ simple, gently swinging melody immediately pushes the hips.
“Incident At Neshabur” is far more cerebral. The instrumental was composed by Carlos with blues and jazz pianist Albert Gianquinto. The tune’s brisk tempo changes, dense harmonic colors, groove-oriented breakdowns, polyrhythmic drive and slamming improvisational guitar solo are complex and intoxicating — so much so that B-3 player Rolie recalls thinking “I hope I make it through this!” while the tape rolled in the studio. The song has since become a springboard for grandiose improvisations live, sometimes expanding its original 4:58 to nearly a half-hour. It also helped establish Santana as one of the earliest harbingers of the World Music scene. Reviewing the disc in Rolling Stone upon its September 1970 release, Jim Nash proclaimed that Santana “might do for Latin music what Chuck Berry did for the blues.”
Carlos Santana achieved his goal of creating a better sounding and more successful album than his band’s debut with Abraxas, and satisfied his desire to make richer, more complex music.