Santana's 1969 debut album followed close on the heels of the sextet's coming-out party at the Woodstock Festival, where the multiethnic, single-minded San Francisco band nearly stole the show from the likes of the Grateful Dead and Sly and the Family Stone. Santana was a nonstop thirty-seven-minute rhythmic onslaught: Hand percussionists Mike Carabello and Chepito Areas duked it out with the relentless Michael Shrieve on the drum kit, Gregg Rolie's churning Hammond runs kept the horns in his Leslie cabinet spinning wildly and Carlos Santana's lead guitar delivered both passion and improbable delicacy. Rolie aired out his pipes on the hit "Evil Ways," the LP's lone conventional piece; otherwise the song form was sucked into the undertow of jams such as "Jingo" and "Soul Sacrifice." The two-CD reissue is stocked with extras, most compellingly the band's entire Woodstock set. Live and in-studio, it all sounds as shit-hot as it did in the summer of '69.
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