As I have remarked many time in the course of this blog, writing about music can be impossible. How do you possibly convey the excitement that comes with hearing a piece of music in ‘mere’ words? It is almost impossible yet….one of things I have always done is to talk about the music that moves me and perhaps writing is a similar task. I hope that those who read these words might seek the music out for themselves. This is what I have done and other people’s estimation and taste has often led me to something which has become a great treasure. This afternoon I listened to a track by Santana called ‘Song of the Wind’ – in fact I listened to it about three times! This is a duet between Carlos Santana and another guitarist called Neal Schon and many people write of the way that it is impossible to tell who is playing what so seamless is the performance. A general consensus is that Neal kicks things off until about 2 minutes in and then returns at the end and Carlos plays the incredible middle section. Whilst the playing of both guitarists is superb (and we must not forget what I assume is the Hammond B3 of the co – composer of the tune Gregg Rolie), it is Carlos’ contribution that blows the roof off. It’s a solo full of the usual Santana touches, the soaring sustained notes and the crunchy almost rhythm guitar like touches. It is a tune I keep coming back to for its lyricism and fire, and one that I sometimes think I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when they recorded it. The rest of the album ‘Caravanserai’ is well worth listening to. It marks a definite shift away from the rock sound of the first three records the group made, but it was a risky move and it is a record actually described by a company executive as “career suicide”, an opinion that proved groundless as it went on to win quite a few accolades. I think I’ll play it again…….
(Santana’s album ‘Caravanserai’ was issued on Columbia in October 1972. Those were the days my friend!).