Santana-AbraxasAbraxas is the second studio album by the Latin-influenced rock band Santana. Consolidating the interest generated by their first album, Santana released in May 1969, and their highly acclaimed live performance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969, the band followed-up with Abraxas in September 1970. The album’s mix of rock, blues, jazz, salsa and other influences was very well received, showing a musical maturation from their first album and refining the band’s early sound.

The title of the album, which features Mati Klarwein’s 1961 painting Annunciation on the cover,comes from a line in Herman Hesse’s book Demian, quoted on the album’s back cover: “We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas….” The word “Abraxas” has use within Gnostic cosmology.

Abraxas features a mixture of Latin influences with familiar rock themes such as showcased electric guitar, organ and heavy drums. The album also demonstrates Santana’s stylistic versatility, including tracks such as “Samba Pa Ti” (a classic slow-burning piece) and “Incident at Neshabur”, both being instrumentals. The latter has several rhythm and time signature changes consistent with its jazz feel. Latin percussion — congas, bongos and timbales, as well as a conventional rock drum setup, expanded Santana’s foray into Latin rhythm.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 205 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The instrumental”Samba Pa Ti” (“Samba for You”) was covered by José Feliciano, who added lyrics, and also by Angelique Kidjo, who put lyrics in Yoruba on her album Oyo. It is also one of the tracks featured in Nick Hornby’s book, 31 Songs. It was used in the UK as the background music for TV ads for Marks and Spencer food in 2006. It was also featured as the ending song in the Cold Case episode, “Dead Heat”, which aired November 8, 2009.

Track listing

1998 remastered edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts” (Instrumental) Mike Carabello 4:51
2. “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen” Peter Green/Gábor Szabó 5:22
3. “Oye Como Va” Tito Puente 4:16
4. “Incident at Neshabur” (Instrumental) Alberto Gianquinto, Carlos Santana 4:57
5. “Se a Cabo” José Areas 2:50
6. “Mother’s Daughter” Gregg Rolie 4:25
7. “Samba Pa Ti” (Instrumental) Santana 4:54
8. “Hope You’re Feeling Better” Rolie 4:11
9. “El Nicoya” Areas 1:30
10. “Se a Cabo” (Live) (1998 Edition) 3:47
11. “Toussaint L’Overture” (Live) (1998 Edition) 4:52
12. “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen” (Live) (1998 Edition) 4:57