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Latino guitar god's greatest hits package favours the latterday collaborations
on 24 October 2007
Of the eighteen tracks on this greatest hits compilation, only six date from the band's first three classic albums - Santana, Abraxas and Santana III. So although aged nostalgists can groove to the fluid Latin-tinged workout Oye Como Va or think back to a time when the languorous Samba Pa Ti hadn't become stripper soundtrack, most of the album will appeal more strongly to those who only know Latino guitar god Carlos Santana through his latterday high-profile collaborations.
But what collaborations they were. Purists may call it selling out - but Santana's sweaty-but-elegant Latino-pop made the perfect turn-of-the-century summer soundtrack, with Smooth (featuring Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas) right at the top of the heap. Corazon Espinado (featuring Mexican band Maná) is a rootsier version of the same recipe and also features on 1999 comeback album Supernatural.
There are dodgier moments. Brand-new collaboration Into The Night which opens this album features the sub-grunge croaking of Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and neither version of The Game Of Love (featuring Michelle Branch and Tina Turner respectively) really gets onto the scoreboard. And that ancient clunker Black Magic Woman doesn't get any better with age.
The same can't be said of the sizzling new single This Boy's Fire, featuring J. Lo and Baby Bash - a delicious Arabic-tinged groove with some sexy, snappy vocals. Best of the lot, though, is Santana's 1977 cover of The Zombies' 60s hit She's Not There, which dumps the song's original British art-school hysteria and turns sweaty, fearsome and feral.