Carlos Santana would sound like if he had to go back to playing covers in clubs, taking requests written in a smudgy scrawl on the back of a bar napkin, or humoring the punter in the back yelling out for Smoke On The Water for the fifth time that night?
Folks, wonder no more.
Santana's latest release Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time features our favorite guitar hero playing through a selection of tunes as they might appear on aforesaid proverbial napkin.
Granted, each tune is given enough of a twist to not be a mere carbon copy, but you've got to wonder if the punter in question in this case might be producer/record mogul Clive Davis. Using the same winning formula that brought sales of 27 million copies for 1999's Supernatural, Davis teams Carlos up with some of the more current names in the business to provide the foil on Guitar Heaven's 12 tracks (14 on the Deluxe Edition) -- Chris Daughtry, Scott Weiland, Chester Benington, Rob Thomas, Gavin Rossdale, India Arie, Scott Stapp, Chris Cornell and Joe Cocker make guest vocal appearances.
For me, some of the material works, some of it doesn't quite fly. But that's what you get when attempting an entire album's worth of classic tunes. But Carlos gives it his all on each cut -- I especially dig his take on Jimmy Page's guitar fills on the solo breakdown of Whole Lotta Love!
And you've got to admit, few guitar heroes out there today are able to weave such tasty guitar fills around a vocal line with such elegance and spontaneity, without getting in the way.
Check out Carlos's heartfelt version of Little Wing with Joe Cocker on vocals in this clip!
Remember Guitar Heaven the next time someone yells out for Smoke On The Water at your local weekly gig. Smile, play it your own way and remember that no one really finishes paying their dues. Not even Carlos Santana.
For more song previews go to: http://www.santana.com/guitarheaven/