THE FABLE OF THE CRASH PAD HIPPIES & THE SANTANA RECORD
Hippie #1: What do you see when you look at this album cover, man?
Hippie #2: A scary-ass roaring lion, man.
Hippie #1: Okay, like, listen to the album, yeah, and tell me what you think.
Hippie #1 makes his friend a cup of tea (one sugar) and puts the album on; Hippie #2 listens to it, nodding his head appreciatively.
Crash Pad Hippies
Hippie #1: So, what do you think, man?
Hippie #2: Way cool, man. It’s propulsively rhythmic, yet not overbearingly so. Instruments weave in and out of each other in a kind of jazzy, proto-world music stew, the percussion keeps things from getting leaden. Carlos’ lead lines are stinging and he doesn’t embarrassingly overplay like on those jive duets records that shifted a gazillion copies at the turn of the century [Supernatural (1999) sold 27 million units–ed.]–no, here it sounds like a proper, dynamic band. The singing’s fairly characterless (apart from Janis, I think that’s typical of these San Fran jam bands), but it certainly doesn’t jar with the music. The production is rich, especially for the times. In some ways, it represents the ultimate fulfillment of the “Sixseventies” Rock promise (along with the Band, of course), even if a couple of the dudes went on to form Journey.
So where’d you get this record, man?
Hippie #1: There was a stack of Lps left by the toilets at the Wincheap bootfair, including the first five Santana records–well, I’m not proud, so I picked ’em up. None of them were original vinyl or gatefold sleeves, but, you know.*
Anyway, you’ve listened to the music, look at the album cover and tell me what you see now.
Hippie #2: Whoa, man, I’m freaking out. I see two men standing looking at each other with a little guy standing in-between them and another man standing over them and, whoa, two women, in ecstasy apparently, and two dudes with acupuncture needles in their faces and, oh my God, a topless Africa princess with her arms folded wearing a head wrap à la Erikah Badu.
That’s so cool. Is that the music that has opened my eyes?
Hippie #1: Yeah, that and the acid I put in your tea.
And the moral of this fable is: Always make your own tea when you live in a crash pad.
*the part about finding the records was true.