October 20 – Desert Island Album Draft, Round 11 (Soundtracks): Eurythmics – 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)

I’m participating in an album draft with nine other bloggers, organized by Hanspostcard. There were ten initial rounds, and now we’re into the first of three bonus rounds which will cover soundtracks, compilations, and music related movies, with draft order determined randomly by round.

Fair or not, the 1980’s is an easy target for blanket criticism of an entire decade’s worth of music. And, of course, it’s all subjective. There was a lot of really good music thirty to forty years ago, and though much of the overall obvious “80’s sound” doesn’t hold up to my ears, there are also some standout albums (did I mention this is subjective?). Mike’s choice yesterday, Purple Rain, is one of them. Another one that passes the ear test for me all these years later is a lesser known soundtrack album by Eurythmics, 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother).

1984 with original Eurythmics soundtrack(Winston's Diary scene) - YouTube

I recall being given this on cassette as a random gift maybe a year after its release in 1984, and a year or so before I read the Orwell novel or watched the film adaptation. Therefore, I became very familiar with it as an album – both instrumentally and vocally driven – before I was able to relate it to a storyline. I liked it then, and I still do. Its nine tracks follow the novel’s themes, with two of them issued as singles: the danceable synth-pop Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four) (though Dave Stewart suggests the music is not synth-pop, but “Kraftwerk meets African tribal meets Booker T and the MGs.”), and the atmospheric Julia, which is a perfect fit in such a dystopian film.

Eurythmics for the Love of Big Brother

There was a bit of a controversy surrounding this soundtrack. Eurythmics were commissioned by Virgin Films to create it, but Virgin failed to notify the film’s director, Michael Radford, who was not pleased to have a pop group “foisted” on him. The later director’s cut of the movie replaced most of the Eurythmics’ music with a more traditional orchestral score. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were also not aware that their contributions were not welcomed by the director until it was too late. I felt as a teen at the time that the music fit the film perfectly, and I feel the same today as we teeter on the edge of our real life dystopia. Eurythmics were as hot as anyone else on the early-mid 80’s pop scene, and Lennox and Stewart’s post-Eurythmics careers have proven them to be anything but synth-flashes in the pan.

Tracklist:

  1. I Did It Just the Same
  2. Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
  3. For the Love of Big Brother
  4. Winston’s Diary
  5. Greetings from a Dead Man
  6. Julia
  7. Doubleplusgood
  8. Ministry of Love
  9. Room 101

-Stephen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_(For_the_Love_of_Big_Brother)

October 8 – Desert Island Album Draft, Round 10: Bob Marley & the Wailers – Live at the Roxy

I’m participating in an album draft with nine other bloggers, organized by Hanspostcard. There will be ten rounds (though rumors abound of three bonus rounds), with draft order determined randomly by round. Deciding what albums to choose has become increasingly difficult over the past few rounds, and now it’s down to one. With apologies to solo McCartney and Lennon, Van the Man, Miles, Coltrane, Croz, Elton, U2, Sinatra, David Freaking Bowie, and many others – hell, I even considered the first Van Halen album as a tribute to the late, great Eddie – I’ve decided on a Bob for my second pick in a row. This time it’s the Marley varietal. The deciding factor? I’m going to an island. I’ll want some reggae.

Bob Marley - On May 26th, during the 1976 Rastaman... | Facebook

Bob Marley was long gone before I actually heard him sing. I vaguely remember hearing Clapton’s version of I Shot the Sheriff when it was current, but don’t recall hearing Marley’s name or even the word “reggae” until the early 80’s. I grew up in a small midwestern town, and other than university towns the genre didn’t make inroads there until the mid/late 80’s. I’d read his name in Rolling Stone various times throughout that decade before finally buying Legend around 1986. I loved it instantly and began collecting Marley albums. If I had one shred of hip cred in high school (which is definitely a stretch), it’s a result of introducing reggae to some of my small burg high school mates. I even got Could You Be Loved played at a school dance. Big time, folks. It’s funny looking back at my mulleted self – I only knew about Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and UB40. So hip.

Bob Marley & the Wailers - Live at the Roxy - Amazon.com Music

Marley released albums that are more legendary than Live at the Roxy. In fact, this album – simulcast live on L.A.’s KMET on May 26, 1976 and heavily bootlegged as a result – wasn’t officially released until 2003. But I like live reggae the most, and this show is legendary. It was a VIP event, and as Robert Hilburn noted in his LA Times review of the show, it was attended by John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, Robbie Robertson, Bernie Taupin, John Bonham, Linda Ronstadt, Harry Nilsson, Carole King, Art Garfunkel, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, and others. To have been a fly in the club, floating around from table to table on clouds of ganja smoke… (Side note: the famous backstage photos of the brief Marley/George Harrison summit were taken at the Roxy the previous year.)

Official Bob Marley Marijuana Is Coming | Money

If you like Marley then you probably know most if not all of this music. The recording itself sounds like it was done from my living room. You can sense the intimacy of the performance, delivered in its entirety on this release. The highlight for me is the second disc which contains the encore: a 24 minute medley of Get Up, Stand Up/No More Trouble/War. Relevant as ever, though I must admit I look forward to a day when I can return to listening to these songs without thinking too much about the message.

Tracklist

Disc 1:

  1. Intro
  2. Trenchtown Rock
  3. Burnin’ and Lootin’
  4. Them Belly Full (but We Hungry)
  5. Rebel Music (3 o’clock Road Block)
  6. I Shot the Sheriff
  7. Want More
  8. No Woman, No Cry
  9. Lively Up Yourself
  10. Roots, Rock, Reggae
  11. Rat Race

Disc 2

  1. Positive Vibration
  2. Get Up, Stand Up/No More Trouble/War

-Stephen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_at_the_Roxy_(Bob_Marley_and_the_Wailers_album)

*Note about the following link: it is a wordpress post which contains a link to the Robert Hilburn/L.A. Times review of the concert. I was unable to post that link to the review for some reason.

https://marleyarkives.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/bob-marley-and-the-wailers-go-hollywood-roxy-1976/

October 4 – Janis Joplin 50 Years On

Janis Joplin passed away 50 years ago today, but rather than a dour post that rehashes the details of her final hours, I’m taking a more celebratory slant just as a reminder to anyone who might need one what an amazing talent she was. She, along with Jimi and Jim, was the embodiment of a shooting star. She arrived on the scene with soulful bombast and maintained it, uncompromisingly, until the end.

It’s easy to forget, given the legends that have grown up around the late 60’s generation of artists, that festivals such as Monterey Pop and Woodstock were introductions to the greater listening public to folks like Janis, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and others. Janis was 24 years old at Monterey, insecure about her talent and herself in general, and without any formal musical training. Yet I can’t watch her performance there without chills. Neither can the audience, who were blown away. Mama Cass’s jaw dropped, probably with a knowing that the game was over for some of the mid-60’s class of pop entertainers, a few of whom were on that same stage during the festival. And Janis knew she’d nailed it when she skipped off the stage at the conclusion of her performance. She was the absolute real deal.

-Stephen

October 2 – Desert Island Album Draft, Round 9: Bob Dylan – Time Out of Mind

I’m participating in an album draft with nine other bloggers, organized by Hanspostcard. There will be ten rounds, with draft order determined randomly by round. My 9th round pick is one of my favorites from the last 25 years.

Most of Dylan’s usual suspects have been selected at this point, but that really doesn’t matter. Time Out of Mind, released in September of 1997, is in my top six or seven Dylan albums, and with Bob the order depends on my mood anyway. It’s certainly my favorite from the latter portion of his long career, which I subjectively define as beginning with this release. It’s also the most “current” album of my desert island picks. I guess I’m just a middle aged dude on the cutting edge…

This album makes the cut for a couple of reasons. While the Beatles, Stones, etc. have always been in my rotation at home, the 1990’s was a decade of Neil Young and Bob Dylan obsession for me. At the time, my exploration into Bob’s music kind of stopped at Desire with the exception of 1989’s Oh Mercy (this no longer is the case). In other words, Dylan was seemingly, maybe, perhaps, done – but wow, what a catalog he’d created! Then came Time Out of Mind, and along with it a new era of excellence from Zimmy. I had become a fan of his current work, not just a second generation fan chasing ghosts down Highway 61.

Live Dylan – 1966/1998 – LongAndWastedYear

The other reason, and as always the most important one, is that the music itself is so good from start to finish. Bob made the smart decision at just the right time to step out of his comfort zone and have Daniel Lanois produce it as he had done on Oh Mercy. If Phil Spector is known for the Wall of Sound, Lanois’ trademark is his…his…ethereal…hmm…ambient…uhh…big sound. Did I get that right? I tried. Another important factor is the fantastic group of sessions players on this recording, the core of which became the band he has consistently worked with since – significant considering there was a time when he discarded session musicians like yesterday’s socks.

A Bob Dylan Vinyl Experience - Time Out of Mind

The first song that pops into my mind is Not Dark Yet, which became more poignant as a result of his hospitalization with pericarditis prior to the album’s release. It was serious. But the entire album is drenched with this vibe, and it worked wonders. Cold Irons Bound is the heaviest track, and the video below was taken from the bizarro 2003 dystopian film, Masked and Anonymous. Following that is a live cut of the album opener, Love Sick. For those who have forgotten or aren’t aware of what happened, I highly recommend watching this performance at the 1998 Grammy Awards all the way through for the surprise about half way through the song. Time Out of Mind won three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, in 1998.

Tracklist:

  1. Love Sick
  2. Dirt Road Blues
  3. Standing in the Doorway
  4. Million Miles
  5. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven
  6. Til I Fell in Love with You
  7. Not Dark Yet
  8. Cold Irons Bound
  9. Make You Feel My Love
  10. Can’t Wait
  11. Highlands

-Stephen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Out_of_Mind_(Bob_Dylan_album)

October 2 – Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother – Almost There

10/2/70: Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

It must be a mark of an extraordinary band to have created such a legendary collection of albums that noncompletists like myself actually make a point of trying to like the portions of their catalog that are almost universally disliked, or at least overlooked, including by the musicians themselves. Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, released 50 years ago today, is one example.

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, this was Pink Floyd’s fifth release, and the follow up to the sprawling, disjointed double LP Ummagumma. Nick Deriso, in an ultimateclassicrock.com review, summed up the album rather concisely: “Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother marks the final signpost for a period of broad and sometimes aimless experimentation following the departure of Syd Barrett.” One result was that it was also the final Floyd album produced by Norman Smith, as the band sought more control over their recording process. Nevertheless, it became the band’s first number one album in the U.K., presumably due to their status as an an underground live act. Despite the initial commercial success, contemporary print reviews were mixed, and neither Roger Waters nor David Gilmour look back upon the album favorably.

Pink Floyd stream live 1970 San Francisco set at 5pm this evening | Louder

Pink Floyd were coming into their own in terms of expecting more artistic freedom, and this is represented on the album’s jacket. The cover, designed by Hipgnosis (artist Storm Thorgerson drove out into the countryside and took a photo of the first cow he saw), is notable for being their first without their name or any photos of band members – a practice that they would continue throughout the 70’s. The band’s idea was to have a cover that didn’t reinforce their placement in any particular genre or sub-genre, such as “space rock.”

The Witchwood Records: RE-UP Pink Floyd - Leeds 1970

Recording presented difficulties due to restrictions placed on them at Abbey Road concerning new studio equipment, one result being that Mason and Waters had to play the entire 23 minute rhythm portion of the Atom Heart Mother suite – which consumes the entirety of side one – rather than create a loop. The suite, which I have yet to develop a taste for, is interesting for the fact that its orchestration, composed by Ron Geesin, takes the lead melody lines while the band provides the backing track – a reversal of the norm in pop/rock recording. As with Ummagumma, the second half of the album features tracks written by individual members Waters, Wright, and Gilmour before closing with the Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast suite. This latter track, with three different “segments,” is really just their roadie Alan Styles talking about and consuming his breakfast. Frankly, this is treading into John and Yoko territory.

Pink Floyd - Live At Paris Theatre, London - 1970 - Past Daily Backstage  Weekend - Past Daily: News, History, Music And An Enormous Sound Archive.

So where does this leave us? There are undoubtedly many fans who find every second of Atom Heart Mother to be among the greatest sounds ever put on vinyl, and more power to them. This is not a very accessible album to me, yet there are elements (even on side one) that I do enjoy which keep me returning from time to time to reevaluate. The easier solution, though, was to put the first three songs from side two on a playlist with some tracks from the first five albums (though I’ve grown to really like the entire Piper…, Saucerful…, and More albums). Their next release, Meddle, was the breakthrough. With Atom Heart Mother they were almost there.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Atom Heart Mother: I. Father’s Shout II. Breast Milky III. Mother Fore IV. Funky Dung V. Mind Your Throats Please VI. Remergence

Side Two:

  1. If
  2. Summer ’68
  3. Fat Old Sun
  4. Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast: I. Rise and Shine II. Sunny Side Up III. Morning Glory

-Stephen

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/pink-floyd-atom-heart-mother/

https://www.allmusic.com/album/atom-heart-mother-mw0000195290

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom_Heart_Mother

September 1970 Music Housekeeping

Another month of a most bizarre year has come and gone. Time to tidy up and move on…

9/4/70: Caravan – If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You

Caravan released their second album this month 50 years ago. It was received relatively well, but their next album would become their most acclaimed. I enjoy the psych/jazz blend of some of the so-called Canterbury Scene groups such as this one and Soft Machine, but it’s been an acquired taste that I’m still developing.

Car-IfI.jpg

9/8/70: Neko Case born

Canadian born Neko Case, one of my favorite singers from the past 20-plus years, turned 50 this month. Random memory: David Letterman once introduced her as “Necko.” Ugh.

Neko Case Pictures, Latest News, Videos.

9/9/70: Macy Gray born

…and so did the great singer/songwriter/producer/actress, Ohio-born Macy Gray.

Macy Gray Filmography, Movie List, TV Shows and Acting Career.

9/12/70: Carpenters – Single – We’ve Only Just Begun

A fragment of this Paul Williams/Roger Nichols written tune first appeared on a bank commercial, sung by Williams. The full song ended up spending seven weeks at number one for the Carpenters.

We've Only Just Begun (Single).jpg

9/14/70: The Byrds (Untitled)

The Byrds released what really is a fantastic double album – one studio album, one live – 50  years ago this month. Their early glory years were way behind them at this point, and it’s silly to even use pronouns such as “them.” Other than McGuinn, this was an entirely different band. But they cooked, especially live, and ironically this version of the group  with McGuinn, Clarence White, Skip Battin, and Gene Parsons was together longer than any of the others. Maybe it’s only my perception as a second generation Byrds fan, but I wonder if a band name change after Chris Hillman’s departure following Sweetheart of the Rodeo would’ve given the latter years albums the attention they deserve. From the live portion, the sixteen minute Eight Miles High is a highlight, though it’s a bit of a letdown when Roger only sings the first verse when all’s said and done. Chestnut Mare is the standout from the studio sides.

The Byrds - (Untitled) album cover.jpg

9/19/70: Performance soundtrack

An interesting soundtrack to a good if somewhat dark period piece film. Names on the album include Randy Newman, Merry Clayton, Mick Jagger (who stars in the film), Ry Cooder, Jack Nitzsche, and  Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Performance-soundtrack.jpg

9/23/70: Ani DiFranco born

Another important artist from the 1990’s-onward turned 50 this month.

Ani DiFranco: Embracing Stability, Remaining Outspoken : NPR

9/25/70: Ringo – Beaucoups of Blues

Ringo released his second solo album on the 25th. His third album would be the breakthrough (with a little help from many of his friends).

BeaucoupsBCover.jpg

September 1970: Curtis Mayfield – Curtis

Mayfield released his post-Impressions solo debut, which he produced, 50 years ago this month. It spent five weeks atop the R&B charts, and reached number 19 on the Billboard Pop albums chart.

Curtismayfield-1970lp.jpg

September 1970: Johnny Winter And

The Texas blues guitarist delivered another butt-kicking album this month in 1970, his fourth studio album.

Johnny Winter And.jpeg

-Stephen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_I_Could_Do_It_All_Over_Again,_I%27d_Do_It_All_Over_You

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neko_Case

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macy_Gray

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We%27ve_Only_Just_Begun

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Untitled_(The_Byrds_album)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_(soundtrack)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani_DiFranco#Discography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaucoups_of_Blues

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_(Curtis_Mayfield_album)

September 23 – Album #2 for The Allman Brothers Band

9/23/70: The Allman Brothers Band – Idlewild South

It hadn’t occurred to me until reading a bit of background on this album just how pivotal it was in the development of the Allman Brothers Band. The group was simultaneously and constantly touring while ducking into studios when time permitted and, in a way, that was just as important an element of the album as these studio tracks themselves. The album was recorded mostly live during sessions which took place intermittently  over a five month period in NYC, Miami, and Macon, GA. Idlewild South, the band’s second album, was released this day 50 years ago. Much of its contents would form part of the core of the band’s live repertoire for years to come.

The Allman Brothers Band: Idlewild South: Super Deluxe Edition | Sound &  Vision

Though I’ve always liked the album opener, Dickey Betts’ gospel-tinged Revival, lyrically speaking it’s kind of atypical of this band, who weren’t exactly a flower power group. Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that the song was originally an instrumental. But that groove is infectious, and along with In Memory of Elizabeth Reed it brought Dickey Betts to the fore as a crucial songwriting contributor. The latter song was written for a woman of a different name who Betts was involved with (Boz Scaggs’ girlfriend). Elizabeth Reed was a name Betts spotted on a headstone in the cemetery where the band liked to hang out and write.

Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers wearing it high and proud! :  Highslingers

The Willie Dixon track Hoochie Coochie Man features Berry Oakley’s only vocal performance with the Allmans, sounding an awful lot like Johnny Winter. This one rocks harder than anything else on an album full of blazing guitar licks. Along with In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Gregg’s Midnight Rider is my favorite track on this record. Roadie Robert Kim Payne received a co-credit for a lyric assist. It was released as a single, but didn’t fare well until recorded by others including Gregg on his 1973 solo album, Laid Back. I like this version as much as Gregg’s solo take. Please Call Home features his typically soulful vocals, and should probably be a better known song.

Gregg Allman to Be Buried Next to Duane Allman at Funeral - Rolling Stone

Contemporary and retrospective reviews have always been quite positive, yet the album initially sold only slightly better than it’s debut predecessor. The band would really make their name through relentless touring which, after this release, would lead to arguably their greatest album the following year, At Fillmore East.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Revival
  2. Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
  3. Midnight Rider
  4. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

Side Two:

  1. Hoochie Coochie Man
  2. Please Call Home
  3. Leave My Blues at Home

-Stephen

Idlewild South

https://www.allmusic.com/album/idlewild-south-mw0000196446

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idlewild_South

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/allman-brothers-band-idlewild-south/

September 23 – Simon Finn’s Cult Classic Turns 50

9/23/70: Simon Finn – Pass the Distance

“Madness” “…songs unravel lysergically” “sinewy guitar” “snarling vocals” “catharsis” “raw merriment” “hypnotic” “nocturnal” “nightmarish” “creepy” “beautiful” “poetic” – These are some of the words I’ve come across in reviews of Simon Finn’s Pass the Distance. I’ll go ahead and add “harrowing” to the list. This is a bit of an unorthodox blog entry for me, as Pass the Distance is not a well known album, not by yours truly, anyway. But it’s really quite fascinating to listen to at least once, maybe twice if you enjoy staring over a ledge into the abyss.

SIMON FINN/ “Pass the Distance” 50 anni dopo, la salvezza in una canzone

I discovered this album for myself sometime in the last ten or so years, and if I didn’t find it in the suggested music column on YouTube then I have no idea how I learned of it. In the spirit of Skip Spence’s Oar meets Syd Barrett and maybe Tim Buckley’s more experimental albums, this one is “out there,” a quintessential cult album. I’ve come across a couple of dates given as its release date, including 50 years ago today, so today it is.

Rare inserts: SIMON FINN Pass The Distance

Finn made his professional debut opening for Al Stewart at London’s Marquee Club in 1967, but spent the following two years busking and updating share prices on the London Stock Exchange’s blackboard until presented with the opportunity to record this album with David Toop on guitar and Paul Burwell handling percussion. Besides love and sex, he places heavy focus on Christian themes, redemptive and otherwise. The feature track is titled Jerusalem, in which he equates the Crucifixion with the ideals of the 1960s counterculture. He’s calling out the hypocrites, and there are many. Indeed, if you’re going to sample one song on this album, check out Jerusalem.

The Wire - Pass The Distance: A Portrait Of Simon Finn by Gianmarco Del Re

As Finn shared with a journalist in 2004, “The songs were about alienation and loneliness. Jerusalem came to me in one shot. I wrote it on mescaline and was playing it over and over and one of my flatmates wrote it down.” Due to legal issues the album was withdrawn from circulation in the early 70’s, and Finn relocated to Canada where he disappeared from the music scene completely. He taught karate before taking up organic farming, unaware that Pass the Distance had become a cult classic until it was remastered/re-released in 2004, after which he performed the album on stage on a handful of dates. He has since released a few more albums and toured with Current 93, Graham Coxon, Thurston Moore, and others.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Very Close Friend
  2. The Courtyard
  3. What a Day
  4. Fades (Pass the Distance)
  5. Jerusalem

Side Two:

  1. Where’s Your Master Gone
  2. Laughing ‘Til Tomorrow
  3. Hiawatha
  4. Patrice
  5. Big White Car

Simon Finn – Pass The Distance LP

https://www.allmusic.com/album/pass-the-distance-mw0000636661#:~:text=Pass%20the%20Distance%20is%20not,and%20strange%2C%20oblique%20love%20songs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Finn_(musician)

September 23 – Listen How it Goes, My Rhythm: Abraxas at 50

9/23/70: Santana – Abraxas

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”…. – from the Hermann Hesse book, Demian.

There are examples throughout all music genres of bands or individual artists who get into a groove where they can do no wrong in the studio, on stage, or both. In 1970, Latin/blues/jazz/rock fusion band Santana was one such group. It had been just over a year since their breakout performance at Woodstock, followed by the release of their self-titled debut album a couple of weeks after the festival. Santana’s followup was recorded with the same lineup over a period of two weeks in the spring of 1970, and Abraxas was released on this date 50 years ago. It reached the top of the Billboard album chart in the U.S. while featuring three prominent instrumental tracks.

Santana On 'Black Magic Woman,' A Pioneering Cultural Mashup : NPR

The star singles from the album were covers: Black Magic Woman (Fleetwood Mac) reached number four in the U.S. (after leaving Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green derived significant royalty income from Santana’s version), and Tito Puente’s Oye Como Va hit number thirteen. But after many years and many plays, the tracks that keep me coming back are the non-hits, such as the instrumentals Incident at Neshabur with its heavy jazz inflection, and Samba Pa Ti. Carlos’s inspiration for this song was a heavily drinking saxophone busker outside his NYC hotel window. Two of my other favorites were written and sung by keyboardist Gregg Rolie, Mother’s Daughter and Hope You’re Feeling Better. The former maintains much of the Latin flavor of the rest of the album, while the latter features more of a straight forward rock sound. Carlos’s searing guitar licks are the common denominator along with Rolie’s vocals.

Santana - Hope You're Feeling Better - 8/18/1970 - Tanglewood (Official) -  YouTube

While the first three Santana albums have been stuffed into the classic rock pigeon hole over the years, this band perhaps more than anyone carved out a unique niche. The Latin rhythms which form the backbone of Santana’s music just feel good to listen to, and the band must’ve felt an immense sense of freedom when playing it. It could be a bitter cold winter day, but with Abraxas playing it’s always sunny and 75. For many including me, this continued into their lesser known (commercially speaking) fourth album, Caravanserai, before Carlos shifted into a different but also very interesting phase of his career.

Though Carlos and the Latin element of these albums understandably garner the most attention, I feel Gregg Rolie doesn’t receive the praise he deserves. Maybe he has and I’m just not aware. However, it’s no coincidence that Santana and later Journey (who he co-founded with Neal Schon, who also played on the third Santana album) were markedly different bands after his departure. His vocals and signature Hammond B3 were crucial ingredients to both.

rolie

Bonus Blurbs:

  • Oye Como Va, translated to English, means listen how it goes, my rhythm.
  • The album was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry in 2016.
  • The album cover art is a painting titled Annunciation, by Mati Klarwein. His distinctive style would be found on later albums by Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Gregg Allman.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Singing Winds
  2. Crying Beasts
  3. Oye Como Va
  4. Incident at Neshabur

Side Two:

  1. Se Acabó
  2. Mother’s Daughter
  3. Samba Pa Ti
  4. Hope You’re Feeling Better
  5. El Nicoya

-Stephen

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/santana-abraxas/

https://www.allmusic.com/album/abraxas-mw0000191745

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraxas_(album)