Santana – Moonflower

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  • With incredible Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on ALL FOUR SIDES, this copy is As Good As It Gets – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • These sides are doing everything right — rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical with a big punchy bottom end
  • “Santana, which was renowned for its concert work dating back to Woodstock, did not release a live album in the U.S. until this one… Moonflower went Top Ten and sold a million copies, the first new Santana album to do that since 1972 and the last until Supernatural in 1999.” – All Music

This vintage Columbia pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1977
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on Moonflower

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Dawn / Go Within
– Dawn
– Go Within
Carnaval
Let The Children Play
Jugando
I’ll Be Waiting
Zulu

Side Two

Bahia
Black Magic Woman
Gypsy Queen
Dance Sister Dance (Baila Mi Hermana)
Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile)

Side Three

She’s Not There
Flor D’Luna (Moonflower)
Soul Sacrifice
Head, Hands & Feet (Drum Solo)

Side Four

El Morocco
Transcendance
Savor
Toussaint L’Overture

AMG Review

Santana, which was renowned for its concert work dating back to Woodstock, did not release a live album in the U.S. until this one, and it’s only partially live, with studio tracks added, notably a cover of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There” (number 27) that became Santana’s first Top 40 hit in five years. The usual comings and goings in band membership had taken place since last time; the track listing was a good mixture of the old — “Black Magic Woman,” “Soul Sacrifice” — and the recent, and with the added radio play of a hit single, Moonflower went Top Ten and sold a million copies, the first new Santana album to do that since 1972 and the last until Supernatural in 1999.

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