I really was making some decent progress on this list… and then went on a long podcast catch up binge. On the plus side, I’m nearly completely caught up with You Must Remember This and have made real headway with Doughboys and Radiolab. On the minus side, it’s taken me three weeks to get around to another album.
The first time I’d heard of Abraxas by Santana was during a scene in A Serious Man (one of my favourite films) where the lead character has an angry with the Columbia Record Club because of his son’s subscription. That was nearly 10 years ago and I have finally listened to this album for the first time and then a second time… with a chance that I’ll probably be playing again on the train tomorrow morning as I continue reading Dune.
While I do like Santana’s record-breaking song ‘Smooth’, I think I like the style of music on Abraxas a lot more. This really is unlike anything else on the album list in that it is almost completely instrumental as well as being a cool mix of Latin and psychedelic rock. As a whole it is an interesting experiment in fusing genres and trying out a lot of different styles, but at no point does it lack cohesion.
The guitar work of Carlos Santana is, as always, exceptional and ‘Black Magic Woman’ really is the standout of the bunch. It’s also nice to have an album that I can appreciate for being complex and yet it doesn’t warrant a whole heap of attention to access it. For a bunch of albums on this list it feels like they really need to be listened to in isolation to get what they were going for, but there is so much going on in Abraxas that I can enjoy the many variations as I read science fiction novels. Weird yardstick, yes, but there are multiple ways to get into an album and this is what worked for this particular one.