If it ain't broke... re-release it

I blame Life on Mars for corrupting my memories of some of my favourite musicians. In this case more than most, as Santana soundtracks some of the, erm, more dubious activities of Hunt and Tyler’s quarries. Yeah, you remember. Anyway, the connection between Santana and Seventies cocktail parties will never be erased from my mind. And so the thought is never far away that some of the material in this collection is perhaps a tad lounge-lizard, a bit smooth and samey.

Multi-Dimensional Warrior is a 2-Disc release, or rather re-release, of material spanning right across Carlos Santana’s career, personally chosen by the man himself. The first CD contains vocal tracks, and the second CD purely instrumentals, which is a brilliant idea. All credit to the band, but the instrumentals are what their reputation was built on, what Santana’s personal reputation was built on, and it’s great to have a collection of them. This collection contains material from all three of Santana’s record companies, which must have taken some doing. For the wallet-conscious among us, it’s unlikely you’ll find as diverse a collection in one package.

Being personally chosen tracks, it relies heavily on the non-commercial tunes from less-famous albums. That said, El Farol from Supernatural, and Samba Pa Ti from Abraxas both make an appearance, the first being an inspired choice, and the second… why not? I’d class the track that made me famous as a favourite too.

The vocal tracks are heavy on the ‘love and light’ spiritual message that Santana believes in so heavily, so if you’re more a fan of the pop-rock of Supernatural and beyond, best give this a miss. It’ll only confuse you. But this should appeal to completists and existing fans, and the instrumental tracks are perfect Latino blues with that gorgeous guitar sound.

With rumours rife that Carlos is going to hang up his guitar in the near future, it makes you wonder why not make another album of original material? Maybe because he’s made a lot of albums that the public have forgotten about, and this compilation is a good introduction to those. Maybe, if you’re planning on holding your own Seventies-themed cocktail party…