Latter Day Santana

Most of the songs on Ultimate Santana are culled from the last 10 years of his recording career, encompassing Supernatural, Shaman, and All That I Am. From Supernatural is the seminal hit “Smooth,” conceivably his best song since the early days, and certainly the most successful. “Maria Maria” and “Corazon Espinado” are also included.

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Shaman contributes the Michelle Branch collaboration and pop smash, “The Game of Love.” However, in an odd twist, a 2nd version, with Tina Turner singing, also appears on the album. Turner was reputedly the first choice to sing the song, though her voice doesn’t fit the piece nearly as well as Branch’s, so it was probably serendipitous that it worked out the way it did for Shaman.

Also from Shaman, “Why Don’t You And I” has an interesting story. That song originally was recorded by Chad Kroeger (Nickelback). However, after the record company pulled the permission for Kroeger’s voice to be used on the track, Alex Band of The Calling stepped in and re-recorded the vocals. It is the Alex Band version that appears here.

The only cut from All That I Am is the somewhat bland “Just Feel Better,” featuring Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Individually the two artists are quite dynamic, but paired up they don’t complement each other well.

Finally, there are three new songs. “This Boy’s Fire” joins Carlos with pop diva Jennifer Lopez and Baby Bash; this track turns out better than you might think, given some of Lopez’ lackluster vocal skills. “Interplanetary Party,” with an unknown singer and co-writer, Tony Lindsay, falls flat as it tries to tap into the popularity of smooth jazz.

But the pleasant surprise on Ultimate Santana features Chad Kroeger on vocals (this time the record company didn’t object!). “Into the Night” captures the modern rock genre perfectly, while still managing to give Carlos room to soar.

Final Notes

All in all, Ultimate Santana might have been better titled “Santana, Then and Now,” as it basically provides a glance at the bookends of the Latin guitarist’s 50-year musical sojourn. While not the “ultimate,” however, it could well serve to introduce newer fans of Santana to his classic work, or give vintage fans a look at what he’s been doing lately.

Ultimate Santana Song Info

Song Featuring Writers Album
Evil Ways Sonny Henry Santana by Santana
Oye Como Va Tito Puente Abraxas
Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen Peter Green, Gabor Szabo Abraxas
Samba Pa Ti Carlos Santana Abraxas
Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile) Carlos Santana, Tom Coster Amigos
Everybody’s Everything Dave Brown, Brown, Moss, Carlos Santana Santana III
No One to Depend On Pete Escovedo, Gregg Rolie, Mike Carabello Santana III
Smooth Rob Thomas Itaal Shur & Rob Thomas Supernatural
Maria Maria The Product G&B Wyclef Jean, Jerry “Wonder” Duplessis, C. Santana, K. Perazzo & R. Rekow Supernatural
Corazon Espinado Mana Fher Olvera Supernatural
Put Your Lights On Everlast E. Schrody Supernatural
Why Don’t You & I Alex Band Chad Kroeger Shaman
The Game of Love Michelle Branch Gregg Alexander, Rick Nowels Shaman
The Game of Love Tina Turner Gregg Alexander, Rick Nowels Shaman(Unreleased)
Just Feel Better Steven Tyler Steven Tyler, Carlos Santana All That I Am
Into the Night Chad Kroeger Chad Kroeger, Carlos Santana New
This Boy’s Fire Jennifer Lopez and Baby Bash Jennifer Lopez, Carlos Santana New
Interplanetary Party Featuring Tony Lindsay, Carlos Santana New

Next Album: Guitar Heaven