Week 20 Review

This week I’m reviewing the 2nd album of the mythical Santana trilogy which is made up of the first 3 albums of their discography. It was released in 1970 and rose to number #1 on the US charts.      

SantanaAbraxas

Artist: Santana {Charles Santana – lead guitar, backing vocals; Gregg Rolie – keyboards, lead vocals; David Brown – bass; Michael Shrieve – drums; José “Chepito” Areas – percussion, conga, timbales; Mike Carabello – percussion, conga}
Album: Abraxas
Year: 1970
Genre: Latin Rock
Rating: 5/5

Worth Your Time? Mr. Santana and his band deserve your time and attention.

Twitter Review: Santana’s Abraxas has incredible complexity layered on top of a keen rock sensibility and topped off with some wicked guitar solos.

 Top 3 Tracks:

  1. Hope You’re Feeling Better
  2. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen
  3. Se a Cabo

Things to Look For:

  • Guitar God. I’ve never really given Santana a good listen prior to this album. I’ve heard their song, Smooth, featuring Rob Thomas like a billion times given that song was unavoidable in 1999. But that was about it. I knew he was quite the guitarist given his reputation. But I really had no idea just how good he was. Listening to Abraxas has been very enlightening in that regard. I thoroughly enjoyed his solos on the album. He absolutely deserves all of the praise he gets.
  • And Everyone Else. Santana’s guitar wouldn’t sound quite as amazing on this album if the rest of the band wasn’t also incredibly talented. It’s impressive how well they all complement each other. While Carlos is laying down a serious solo, you can be guaranteed his percussionists will be playing the perfect rhythm in the background while he is doing it. The concentration of musical talent in this band is jaw dropping. I loved the percussion and keyboard work on this album as much the guitar playing.
  • Opening Track. I love the opening track, Singing Winds, Crying Beasts, because of how it slowly builds up in sound with just a couple instruments coming in and out of existence as the song progresses.  It’s not very melodic but it’s interesting enough to more than compensate for the lack of melody. The song is almost 5 minutes long and it passes in time very quickly because my ears are so busy being entertained. Before I know it, the album has transitioned to Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen.

Low Points: It’s not a bad track by any means but Samba Pa’ Ti was not nearly as entertaining as the rest of the album. It’s just a little too laid back so I tended to lose interest and let my mind wander when it got to this part of the album which resulted in me missing out on some amazing guitar playing half of the time. It was probably a good call to have on the album since it comes between Mother’s Daughter and Hope You’re Feeling Better which are both pretty intense. It also gives Santana some time to experiment with some more jazzy concepts which is definitely part of the appeal of Abraxas but I favored the more traditional rock tracks that they spiced up as I listened to it all week.

Anything Else: I think the main reason why I like this album is because Santana was able to take rock music and elevate to a higher plane of existence with the incredible talent of the band and their willingness to take a road less traveled. I’m sure they could have been a great rock band without infusing all these different latin and jazz elements, but I doubt people would still care about this album over 40 years later like they do now. If rock was a cupcake, Santana added some really tasty chocolate sprinkles for everyone to enjoy.

Special Guest Review
by renowned Santana expert, Adolf T. Cat

adolf t cat

Santana’s Abraxas is easily one of the greatest latin rock albums of all…wait a second. Is that an exposed female nipple on the cover of the album? How dare they unleash this trash onto the world. I can’t believe they sell this disgusting pornography on Amazon and iTunes where any young child could have their innocence ripped away from them forever and leave them with no choice but to grow up to become a sexual predator. I absolutely refuse to support such vulgar trash. Do not listen to this album. Do not buy it. In fact, blacklist any links included on this page. You have been warned. (0/5 stars)

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