TKRWM 1809: SANTANA crickets and angels

Santana Crickets & Angels

A1         Going Home     2:58     
A2         Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen     6:08     
A3         Oye Coma Va     4:21     
A4         Incident At Neshabur     10:08     
B1         Soul Sacrifice     13:17     
B2         Samba Pa Ti     7:46     

Recorded Live Balbao Stadium San Diego, july 28, 1974 – KBFH broadcast (also performed / included in the original broadcast was a 7 minute version of ‘Toussaint L’Overture’ following the last track)

Carlos Santana (g/perc/vo)
Jose “Chepito” Areas (perc)
Jules Broussard (fl/sax)
David Brown (b)
Tom Coster (kbd/vo)
Leon Patillo (kbd/vo)
Armando Peraza (perc/vo)

This 1974 live performance, recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour near the beginning of Santana’s North American tour, captures the 1974 lineup in full flight. Although edited to appeal to radio listeners at the time by emphasizing material from the first three Santana albums, this KBFH broadcast is particularly interesting as it showcases the band applying Carlos’ newer musical context to much of the band’s most popular earlier material.

Indeed, with the exception of “Going Home,” the Antonín Leopold Dvorák composed instrumental that kicked off the Welcome album and opens this performance, this entire recording features material from the more popular first three Santana albums. Here “Going Home” serves as a prelude that segues directly into “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen,” a brilliant morphing of Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green’s bluesy composition with another by Hungarian jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo, a highlight of Santana’s most popular album, Abraxas. The next two numbers are also sourced from the Abraxas album, with the group’s engaging interpretation of Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” followed by a breathtaking take on “Incident At Neshabur” that clocks in at twice the length of the album version, allowing the group to flex their improvisational muscles. A thrilling percussion-heavy take on “Soul Sacrifice” follows, a highlight of their debut album and the composition that initially gained the band the most street credibility through its appearance in the Woodstock movie. Carlos peals off searing solos, which lead into the lengthy drums and percussion sequence, which evolves into a characteristically hot, highly energetic jam. More ferocious guitar work and an inspired keyboard solo from Coster eventually build into an explosive ending. Despite containing lengthy improvisations and solos, both “Incident” and “Sacrifice” are thoroughly sizzling performances that remain convincing examples of this lineup’s formidable powers. They also display John McLaughlin’s strong influence on Santana’s guitar technique, which is becoming increasingly complex and fluent.

The loveliest performance on this recording is next with “Samba Pa Ti,” which returns to Abraxas material. This is simply mesmerizing, providing some of the most penetrating and emotional playing of the evening. Santana and Coster both deliver impressive solos over the percolating groove. A close listen to Carlos during this number, reveals a brief moment where he quotes “Never Can Say Goodbye,” which fits perfectly within the context of his solo. The broadcast concludes with one of the standout compositions from Santana’s third album, Toussaint L’Overture, an intense instrumental exercise featuring brilliant guitar playing, dense percussive backing and acid/funk grooves not unlike Agharta/Pangea era Miles Davis.

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