Top Artists – Santana

Santana – Abraxas

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Santana - Abraxas - Nearly White Hot Stamper 

  • With two outstanding sides each rating a Double Plus (A++) for sound, this copy is guaranteed to rock like no other you’ve ever heard
  • The sound is rich, full-bodied and musical with punchy drums and guitar solos that really get LOUD
  • 5 stars on Allmusic, and a Top 100 title for its blistering solos that soar into space
  • “America was never the same after Carlos Santana discovered the smoldering Afro-Cuban magic of Tito Puente. A sinuous cha cha cha that sounds as if it had been waiting for Santana’s soulful guitar licks to reinvent it, the Puente-penned “Oye Como Va” became the pillar of U.S. Latin rock.” -Rolling Stone

This copy is smooth, sweet, rich, full-bodied, and SUPER dynamic. The vocals are shockingly present and clear, with breath and body like nothing you have ever heard. Just listen to all that room around the drums!

The sound is transparent, open, and spacious, with life and rhythmic energy to spare. The bass is deep, tight, and note-like, exactly what this music needs to REALLY ROCK!

Both sides have an exceptionally big soundfield, which opens up and allows you to appreciate all of the players’ contributions. That’s a BIG deal for this music. For me, a big speaker guy with a penchant for giving the old volume knob an extra click or two, it just doesn’t get any better than Abraxas.

Abraxas Rocks

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 chords — 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.)

You may have heard me say this before, but it’s important to make something clear about this music. It doesn’t even make sense at moderate listening levels. Normal listening levels suck 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 the listener, you. (more…)

Carlos Santana, John McLauglin and The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Love Devotion Surrender

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More of The Mahavishnu Orchestra

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  • This stellar collaboration finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • The sound is huge, spacious, lively, transparent and punchy – this is jazz fusion that really rocks
  • A superb collection “inspired by the teachings of Sri Chinmoy and intended as a tribute to John Coltrane”
  • 4 1/2 stars: “To hear this recording in the context of not only Carlos Santana’s development as a guitarist, but as the logical extension of the music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis influencing rock musicians — McLaughlin, of course, was a former Davis sideman — this extension makes perfect sense in the post-Sonic Youth, post-rock era.”

(more…)

Bad Santana LPs from Mobile Fidelity – We Admit We Was Wrong

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santamofi

This is one of the MoFi LPs we’ve reviewed on the site. And for us audiophile record lovers – not lovers of audiophile records, but guys who love records with audiophile sound – it’s simply another nail in the coffin for one of the most laughably inept remastering labels in the history of that unrelievedly sad enterprise.

We also have a Hall of Shame for bad sounding audiophile records such as these. It currently has 250 members but could easily have double that if someone wanted to take the time to make entries for all the bad audiophile pressings we’ve played over the years. (That person would have to be me and I don’t want to do it.)

Santana is a record we admit to having liked a bit when it first came out. Since then we have changed our minds. As embarrassing as it may be, clearly We Was Wrong.

It’s just too damn compressed and lifeless. The Whomp Factor on this pressing is Zero. Since whomp is critical to the sound of Santana’s music, it’s Game Over for us. The review below is exactly what we wrote at the time the record came in. We tried to like it, but it’s clear to us now that we tried to like it too hard. Please accept our apologies.

I noted in my [now discontinued] web site blog: “But now I would have to say that the MoFi LP is far too lifeless to be acceptable to anyone, even those with the worst kinds of Audiophile BS systems.”

And I noted that the Abraxas they remastered never got past the first elimination round; it had to have been one of the worst half-speeds I have ever heard. Dead dead dead as a doornail. (more…)

Santana – Inner Secrets

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  • With a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side two and a side one that’s close to it, this original pressing has the analog magic in its grooves
  • Power and energy are what make this album a true Demo Disc in the world of rock, and this copy has both
  • A sleeper in the Santana canon that boasts some of the best sound the band ever put to vinyl
  • Top tracks here include three of their biggest barnburners: Dealer (Traffic), Stormy and Well…All Right (Blind Faith)

I know EXACTLY the kind of sound I like on this album. When the background vocals come in, on the Tubey Magical copies they are wall to wall and sweet as honey, with no trace of grain or edge. Big as life too. The guitars have plenty of bite, but no matter how loud they get, they never seem to strain. The louder they get the more I like it. That’s the ticket as far as I’m concerned.

Turn It Up

Like Abraxas, when you play a Hot Stamper copy good and loud, you find yourself marvelling at the musicianship of the group — because the Hot Stamper pressings, communicating all the energy and clarity the recording has to offer, let you hear what a great band they were.

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 chords — 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.) Here are some other records that have especially dynamic guitar solos.

What makes it possible to play this record so loud and still enjoy it? Simple. When the sound is smooth and sweet, completely free of aggressive mids and highs, records get BETTER as they get LOUDER. (This of course assumes low distortion and all the rest, but the main factor is correct tonality from top to bottom, and this record has it.) (more…)

Santana / Abraxas – A True Demo Disc in the World of Rock Recordings

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  • Abraxas UNBOUND – this “Triple Triple” (A+++) copy has two mindblowing sides – at loud volumes it’s like Live Music in your very own listening room – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • When a record is this tonally correct, huge, powerful and energetic, the music has power you never imagined
  • AMG gives it 5 stars for its music, and we call it a Top 100 Demo Disc – the blistering solos that soar into the huge space of the studio on pressings like this
  • “America was never the same after Carlos Santana discovered the smoldering Afro-Cuban magic of Tito Puente. A sinuous cha cha cha that sounds as if it had been waiting for Santana’s soulful guitar licks to reinvent it, the Puente-penned “Oye Como Va” became the pillar of U.S. Latin rock.”

This copy is smooth, sweet, rich, full-bodied, and SUPER dynamic. The vocals are shockingly present and clear, with breath and body like nothing you have ever heard. Just listen to all that room around the drums!

The sound is transparent, open, and spacious, with life and rhythmic energy to spare. The bass is deep, tight, and note-like, exactly what this music needs to REALLY ROCK!

Both sides have an exceptionally big soundfield, which opens up and allows you to appreciate all of the players’ contributions. That’s a BIG deal for this music. For me, a big speaker guy with a penchant for giving the old volume knob an extra click or two, it just doesn’t get any better than Abraxas.

Abraxas Rocks

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 chords — 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.)

You may have heard me say this before, but it’s important to make something clear about this music. It doesn’t even make sense at moderate listening levels. Normal listening levels suck 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 the listener, you. (more…)

Santana / Santana – A True Masterpiece

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  • WOW! Amazing sound throughout with both sides of this 360 early pressing earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to them – reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • A Must Own album, clearly their Masterpiece, and one of the truly groundbreaking debuts in rock history – a personal favorite that knocked me out when I first heard it back in high school, and over the decades it has become even more impressive
  • The drums have real snap to them – this copy delivers the fast, clean percussion that is absolutely critical to Santana’s music
  • “Santana combined Latin rhythms with jazz-inspired improvisation, hard-rock guitar and lyrical, B.B. King-style blues – and even had a hit single, “Evil Ways. The combination of rock guitar and funk percussion was undeniable.” Rolling Stone

Santana’s first album came out of nowhere and rocked in a way that few music lovers (especially those who knew nothing about Tito Puente) had heard before.

In one sense it had something in common with Led Zeppelin’s debut from early in 1969. Their album took the blues and added heavy metal guitars. Santana took African and Latin rhythms and added his own heavy guitars. Each is a landmark recording in its own right. It’s hard to imagine and any collection of popular music that would be without both.

Folks, you owe it to yourself to hear what a great band Santana were back in the day. Hot Stampers of any of the first three records will do the trick. If you’ve got the stereo that can play loud rock and roll, we’ve got the records that sound like Santana playing live in your listening room. Take it from someone who likes to listen to his music at fairly loud levels, Santana’s first album is truly a thrill. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Stephen Stills and Abraxas

One of our good customers had this to say about Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

Received the LPs today from Stephen Stills and Santana. Definitely a very and unexpected high quality. I grew up with these LPs. Unfortunately these can no longer be played because of the tobacco of the joints that were left behind. (more…)

Santana – Borboletta

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

Top players include Stanley Clarke, Airto, Flora Purim and Michael Shrieve. 

This is definitely not an album of “hits”, nor is it trying to be one. The lengthy review in Rolling Stone explains it all, and is certainly worth a read if jazz-rock fusion is your thing. (more…)

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. (more…)

Santana – Santana – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

Huge ENERGY, incredible DYNAMICS and amazing IMMEDIACY are what we found on this side two, and those three qualities are what made it the Side Two Winner of our shootout!

We just finished a big Santana shootout and this side two had us going like no other. It’s got that HUGE Santana sound that always gets us rocking along to the beat. The soundfield is big, wide, and open with a three-dimensional quality that lets you hear right INTO the music. The strong bottom end sets the perfect foundation for the mids and highs to really open up and do their thing. I can hear clearly that You Just Don’t Care on side two is recorded LIVE in the studio.

At the levels we were at it sure sounded live! (more…)