MONDAY NIGHT MOJO – TOP 10 MUSIC (MOJO & FUNK): CARLOS SANTANA (MOJO) –
BLACK MAGIC WOMAN / GYPSY QUEEN 1970 (MOTHER’S DAUGHTER 1970)
“I got a black magic woman
Got me so blind I can’t see
That she’s a black magic woman
She’s tryin’ to make a devil out of me”
My mojo entries tend to be more about their lyrical quality than musical quality, but here the mojo is definitely more musical – Carlos Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his eponymous band, Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and Latin American music with his “melodic, blues-based guitar lines set against Latin and African rhythms featuring percussion instruments such as timbales and congas not generally heard in rock music”.
This entry is the definitive example of that. The song itself is a cover of a Fleetwood Mac single (indeed a number of Santana’s hits were cover versions) but Santana makes it his own, with the vocals (sung by Santana band member Gregg Rolie) merely forming the skeleton for the body of exuberant instrumentals, particularly with the high-paced ‘outro’ – which is technically another song Gypsy Queen but was paired with Black Magic Woman on the original album and generally ever since.
Speaking of the original album, that was mystically titled Abraxas and released in 1970, with the memorably psychedelic cover art of Mati Klarwein’s 1961 painting Annunciation. Abraxas remains for me the high point of Santana’s music and an album well worth listening to in its entirety.
Which brings me to my close runner-up, also from that album but not released as a single from it – the equally exuberant Mother’s Daughter