The Essential Santana
The Essential Heart
First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2002, Volume 9, #12
Written by John Metzger
Letís face it ó Carlos Santanaís albums fail, more often than not, to capture his brilliance. Granted, not an album goes by without its share of fabulous guitar solos. But many of the songs tend to be a tad overproduced, wallowing in whatever passes as the pop music fad of the year. This is as true of his 1969 debut as it is of this yearís Shaman. Yet, each album has also featured something worth savoring. No wonder so many compilations have been made from his work.
The Essential Santana is the latest of these ó a 33-track, double-disc affair that truly lives up to its name. Nearly one-third of the songs are culled from Santanaís finest efforts ó his self-titled debut, Abraxus, Santana III, and Caravanserai ó while the rest offer a terrific overview of his career through his collaboration with John Lee Hooker (The Healer) in 1989. Itís true that the second disc isnít quite as good as the first. But together, they do form a cohesive whole, spotlighting the spiritual genius of a man who can brighten the darkest of days with just a few glistening notes from his guitar.
Similar treatment is given to Heartís career via a 36-track, two-disc retrospective titled The Essential Heart. Like the Santana collection, this set lends a sizeable portion of its space to the bandís finest outings Dreamboat Annie and Little Queen. Though the group quickly sank into tired, generic, hard-rock tripe, some of the later material showcased here isnít quite as bad as the albums from which they came. Most notable is a cover of Bob Dylanís Ring Them Bells. Nevertheless, nothing the band ever did was quite as lovely as Dog and Butterfly or quite as inspired as Crazy on You and Magic Man, each of which is, of course, represented here.
The Essential Santana ó
The Essential Heart ó
The Essential Santana is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
The Essential Heart is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box