Q. What do you get when you combine Latin rhythms, psychedelic rock, and one the best guitarists of all time?
A. The second album by Santana, 1970’s “Abraxas”.
Like many artists, Santana’s music has changed through the years, morphing with the times. No matter what era you of Santana you listen to, one constant is the infusion Latin, blues, jazz, and rock and roll music.
Santana went into the studio to record “Abraxas” shortly after performing what was one of the most highly regarded performances at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival (considered by many to be second only to the unforgettable closing set by Jimi Hendrix). Consequently, the band’s confidence level was high (as were the band members themselves most likely) resulting in what is arguably the best of Santana’s early work.
Although the cover artwork perfectly fits the Latin and psychedelic feeling of Santana’s music on this album, it was actually painted by a German born artist, Mati Klarwein. The painting, which wraps around to fill half of the back cover as well, is considered by many to be one of the best album covers of all time. Because of its extravagant detail, it can only be truly appreciated in the larger size of the original 12 inch vinyl.
Question: What does the 1960’s folk/blues rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful and the 1970’s sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter” have in common?
Answer: John Sebastian.
Anyone who grew up in the ’70s probably remembers the sweathogs from TV comedy Welcome Back Kotter. If you remember the show, you undoubtedly remember the show’s theme song, “Welcome Back”, performed by John Sebastian, founder and former guitarist and singer for The Lovin’ Spoonful.
The Spoonful formed in the mid ’50s but didn’t release their first album until 1965. They had a solid string of hits that combined elements of folk, blues, and pop, from then until their breakup in 1969. In their early days, especially on their first album, The Lovin’ Spoonful had a heavy jug band influence. (Jug bands played their music on homemade instruments, the name derived from a jug that was sometimes blown into to keep the rhythm of the songs). That influence was less prominent on their later records but one or two jug band songs always made it to their albums.
The spoonful released their greatest hits album after three successful albums and a string of popular singles. Their best remembered song is probably 1967’s “Summer in the City”, which closes out their collection.
After their breakup, guitarist, singer, and songwriter John Sebastian had a somewhat successful career which included penning and performing the theme song to “Welcome Back Kotter”.
The Lovin’ Spoonful was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.