In more than 1600 documentary episodes spanning over thirty years, I can honestly say that we never featured a more influential, important, essential album than Santana ‘s second effort, Abraxas released in October 1970. Containing the infectious”Oye Como Va“, the heavy Gregg Rolie organ rocker “Hope You’re Feeling Better“, the gorgeous guitar instrumental “Samba Pa Ti“, and the classic cover of the late Peter Green/ Fleetwood Mac blues “Black Magic Woman“, Abraxas conjures up mystical steamy Afro-Cuban jazz Tejano soul music electrified by the searing guitar of Mexican immigrant Carlos Santana. Simply stated, this is the Rosetta Stone of World Music. Carlos and Gregg are joined by drummer Michael Shrieve for the fiftieth anniversary here In the Studio.
When a young Carlos Santana first was recognized as possessing a remarkable talent for playing the guitar, he was a Mexican immigrant working as a dishwasher in a San Francisco Bay Area Tick Tock restaurant, humble beginnings which he shares in my classic rock interview In The Studio for October 1970’s Abraxas . Only Santana‘s second release, this iconic album is ranked at #203 on Rolling Stone‘s Top 500 Albums of All Time (the debut Santana ranks even higher, at #149) . The leap in maturation and production sophistication on Abraxas, as compared to their first album, is striking. In 1970, nothing else sounded like it, and scarcely anything quite like it since has so successfully integrated rock, blues, jazz, and Latin music. In this classic rock interview, Carlos Santana tells me, “Ever since I crossed the border, my life has been like Disney Land.” And apparently the American Dream continues to this day, as former U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Carlos the prestigious Kennedy Center honors for Santana’s contributions in music and humanitarian efforts. –Redbeard