Santana – Abraxas – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

SABOR! This White Hot Stamper Abraxas has a KILLER A++ to A+++ SIDE ONE and a KNOCKOUT A+++ SIDE TWO! Just about everyone out there knows how good this music was, but I bet you didn’t know it could sound like this. The sound of the drums and percussion on this copy is OUT OF THE STRATOSPHERE.

You aren’t going to believe all the energy and presence — this thing is ALIVE, and the music jumps right out of the speakers.

Both sides of this copy are PHENOMENAL. The sound is so tubey magical without being too thick or turgid. It’s smooth, sweet, rich, full-bodied, and SUPER dynamic. The vocals are amazing, with lots of breath and body. The sound of the percussion goes beyone any expectations — just listen to all that room around the drums! The overall sound is super transparent, open, and spacious with tons of life and energy. The bass is deep, tight, and note-like, exactly what this music needs to REALLY ROCK!

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 cords — 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.)

I know you’ve heard me say this before, but I need to make something clear about this music. It doesn’t even make sense at moderate listening levels. Normal listening levels suck all 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 yourself!

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
Oye Como Va
Incident at Neshabur

Side Two

Se a Cabó
Mother’s Daughter
Samba Pa Ti
Hope You’re Feeling
El Nicoya

AMG  Review

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.