Picking up on the momentum of the band's excellent 1969 self-titled debut and drifting into edgier, more versatile territory, Abraxas is the confident sound of Santana stretching out and carving its own Latin rock subgenre. The 1970 set immediately captured the public's ear, spending six weeks as the nation's #1 album and spawning the cosmic "Black Magic Woman" as a Top 5 single that's since become one of the most widely recognized songs in history. A confluence of celebratory vibes, bluesy jams, mellow vocals, and hip-shaking grooves, Abraxas is a cornerstone of any music collection and nothing short of legendary.
Mysticism and spirituality abound. Wild, free, and loose, Santana conjures the feeling of mountains and rivers on the lead-off instrumental "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts," leads a salsa parade on the definitive version of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va," and explores its sensual side on the stellar showcase "Samba Pa Ti," a tune indicative of the album's Latin vibes and percussion. Sonically, Abraxas takes advantage of studio techniques such as cross-fading and mixing lacking on its predecessor.
"Dissatisfied with the sound of their debut, the group brought in as a co-producer veteran jazz engineer Fred Catero, whose skills proved invaluable in balancing the new range of musical flavors Santana [was] bringing into its sound: the result was a giant step on from [the band's] debut."
– The Mojo Collection book on the Greatest Albums of All Time
But just like 1969's equally essential Santana, Abraxas lays claim to one of the biggest (and unfortunate) production gaffes in music history. Until now, Abraxas has never been heard correctly. After securing the original analog master tapes, our engineers realized a colossal mistake had been made. For nearly four decades, copies were produced with the left and right channels reversed, meaning that everything was placed in a backwards manner. This even extended to compilations on which individual songs from Abraxas were included.
Santana Abraxas Track Listing:
1. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
2. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
3. Oye Como Va
4. Incident at Neshabur
5. Se a Cabo
6. Mother's Daughter
7. Samba Pa Ti
8. Hope You're Feeling Better