Hot Ticket! Magazine - Vital Vinyl Briefs

Santana (CBS Records) Viva Santana

Retrospective record sets seem to be in vogue these days and a requisite for musicians with over ten years under their belts, replacing the more common (and more frequent) greatest hits albums of less seasoned veterans. In much the same vein as Dylan's Biograph, and more recently, Clapton's Crossroads, this thirty song, three record set (also available in double-cassette and CD versions) is the definitive Santana collection. "It was about picking the best moments," says Carlos.

The release of Viva Santanacoincides with a Santana "reunion" tour in which Carlos plays with original Santana members --organist Gregg Rolie, percussionist Jose Chepito Areas and drummer Michael Shrieve-- for the first time since the early Seventies, commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Santana's recording career. For the guitarist, the album and tour represent "a celebration and also a conclusion . . . until further notice."

The retrospective features most of Santana's classic tunes including Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen, Guajira, Incident at Neshabur, Soul Sacrifice, Oye Como Va, Evil Ways and the soulful Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile), as well as several previously unreleased tracks. Over half the selections are live from shows at the Fillmore, Warfield, Winterland, Woodstock, Cal Jam and various stops from recent world tours.

This collection is a must for Santana fans, although some may be disappointed with the mixing on many of the live tracks which lack the raw edge and excitement one expects from a live Santana performance. For those who are less familiar with Santana's music and historical background, there is a delightfully written program included that walks you through the collection and history of Santana --the band, the music and the message.

Copyright 1988 Hot Ticket! Magazine