Top Artists – Santana

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 – Inner Secrets – 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.

The sound went so far beyond our expectations, so far beyond even the White Hot Stamper pressing we discovered in this shootout, that we had to throw on another plus if the grading was to make any sense at all.

It’s 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.) (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…)

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

(more…)

Letter of the Week – Tea for the Tillerman and Santana

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

Hey Tom,   

I have listened to my copy the day it arrived. I’m not very good at describing the sound of an album, that’s why I love reading your commentaries, because it accurately describes what I actually hear.

The HS Tillerman is now my reference album where I test all improvements/adjustments I make in my system or my turntable. All the Hot Stamper copies I have bought from you really beat all other copies I have.

A good example is my Hot Stamper Santana.The instruments sound tonally right, distinctly separate from each other. There is no harshness on the top end and the bass is tight and defined.

I had five copies of the album before I got my HS copy, all are”360″ including a WLP copy. None of the five came close to the sound of my Hot Stamper. (more…)

Santana – Abraxas – A 180 gram Columbia Disaster

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing

There is a 180 gram domestic pressing of Abraxas that may still be available. The reason we never sold it even when we were selling Heavy Vinyl many years ago is that it’s AWFUL. One side, I don’t remember which one, is actually Mono.

You will see people selling this record on Ebay as an audiophile pressing. Believe me, no audiophile in his right mind would want this record.

Just a word to the wise, a service of Better Records.

Santana – Santana – MoFi Debunked

More Santana

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Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

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. (more…)