Featured Album – Borboletta – Santana

Credit here to fellow blogger Melody Calls who reminded me of late ’70s era, Santana, by posting about the fine album Moonflower. It reminded me that I spent a fair amount of time listening to some of those albums and Borboletta in particular.

Borboletta actually (to my great surprise) was released in 1974. I recall driving around after I got to the Boston area listening to this and Physical Grafitti on cassette. If you’re looking for the “Oye Coma Va” Santana here, forget it. This album had some of the same band members but was heading decidedly in a jazz fusion direction.

Santana’s great original drummer Michael Shrieve of Woodstock drum hero fame split the band after this album. Featured on this and the earlier Welcome album are Brazilian singer Flora Purim and her husband Airto Moreira who I swear were on every fucking fusion album recorded in the ’70s.

Wikipedia: “In 1972, Santana became interested in the pioneering fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra and its guitarist, John McLaughlin. Aware of Santana’s interest in meditation, McLaughlin introduced Santana, and his wife Deborah, to his guru, Sri Chinmoy. Chinmoy accepted them as disciples in 1973.

Santana was given the name Devadip, meaning “The lamp, light, and eye of God.” (That’s how ME thinks of himself but OK.) Santana and McLaughlin recorded an album together, Love, Devotion, Surrender (1973) with members of Santana and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, along with percussionist Don Alias and organist Larry Young, both of whom had made appearances, along with McLaughlin, on Miles Davis’ classic 1970 album Bitches Brew.”

I listened to the album today for the first time in a long time and I find that despite some hokey “we are all one” lyrics it holds up well.

Let’s kick this thing off with a great Carlos guitar solo that evolves into a tune called “Practice What You Preach.”

But I know from just being around
It’s easy to go downhill
Starting from today
I’ll seek only my Lord’s way
So I’ll be happy, free and unafraid from today

Spotify link

The Santana band always had a great facility and great chops to do instrumentals. This tune, “Aspirations,” features saxman Jules Broussard and bass whiz Stanley Clarke. (And no Carlos.)

Spotify link

The last tune I’ll do here is called “Give and Take.” It’s got a smooth, funky beat and you can – should you choose – dance to it. IF you dig what you heard, give the album a spin. It’s good for what ails ya.

Spotify link

 

 

13 thoughts on “Featured Album – Borboletta – Santana

  1. I will openly admit that when it comes to Santana, I’m primarily an “Oye Como Va” guy, or “Evil Ways”, “Jingo”, “Soul Sacrifice”, “Black Magic Woman” and “Samba Pa Ti”, to name a few additional tunes from the first three albums. That being said, I have to acknowledge the musicianship on “Borboletta” is outstanding, as is the sound of this album.

    BTW, I also really dig the “Moonflower” album you mentioned. Only Carlos’ beautiful tone on “Europa” already makes it worthwhile listening to it.

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    1. Overall I lean in the direction of those tunes as well. But after a while, musicians in general and Carlos in particular get tired of doing the same thing that brought them to the party. Wrap your head around this one and I think you will dig it.

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        1. I know, I guess I just have to sing ‘oye como va’ or imagine some other lyrics!😂

          That being said, one of my Santana favorites “Soul Sacrifice” doesn’t have any vocals either – perhaps he should have titled it “Singing Sacrifice”!🤣

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  2. I admit that the first three Santana albums are prime Santana for me. I appreciate that artists need to grow and take on new challenges, so I can listen to this album for what it is, and not hold him to his roots. I felt the same way first listening to Jeff Beck’s Wired and Blow by Blow. They are not Truth (another favourite) but they are strong albums. I guess that by listening to these “back in the day” set me up for appreciating newer artists like Jesse Cook and Ottmar Liebert.

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    1. Sure. I’d definitely rather listen to an artist that’s challenging him or herself than one that does the same thing over and gets bored with it and it shows. That era, of course, was a big one for jazz-rock and Carlos was perfect for that.

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    1. Yes, I think I got Christian – who’s already a pretty big Santana fan – to give it a spin. A great (almost) lost classic. I’d forgotten that it went back as far as 1974 and would have sworn it came out three or four years later.

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  3. Where the hell have you been? I thought you walked off your end of the earth.
    Doc I was big into John Mac, Carlos back then. This is an album I just didnt give a lot of time. Not because of quality but i was spreading my ear around else where.
    Listened to it this morning. Lots of good stuff The ‘Fisherman’ cut he really goes to town. I always like a bit of the hard/soft combo. Flora never bothered me. Like you said she was all over. I found her with Corea.
    Vocals are huge with me. A couple cuts I didnt tune out (because so much good music) buy the voice didnt fit. It’s like the last album. I think you and Christian told me about. Love the music, the vocals not so much. Rolle was always a good fit with Carlos. It’s like a certain Canadian vocalist i know doesnt hit you. Put him with the Allmans and it’s different.
    After all that. I will be putting this in the rotation.

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    1. You mean since I last posted? Relax, CB, it’s only been five days. I’m off the “doc posts every two seconds” bit. More quality, less quantity.

      I liked Flora and Airto as well. But I swear they were on every jazz-rock album of the era. Still married too. More power to ’em.

      Like I said in the piece, I used to drive around and listen to this back when gas was cheap and every driver wasn’t a fucking nut. (Blue Oyster Cult – “The thrills become as cheap as gas, the gas as cheap as thrills.”_ Brought back memories and I remembered all the tunes. Critics liked ‘Welcome’ better but I definitely prefer this one. As a singer, Geddy Lee is an excellent bass player.

      I have it in rotation too. Thanks to the other blogger who put me in the Carlos time machine.

      Liked by 1 person

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