A classical guitarist reworks rocks greatest classics for the ages.
There will always be an unsolved debate to what the greatest rock song of all time is and who the greatest guitarist is, but you will find some of these songs played by one of the best on 'Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time'. This new album by Santana is more than just some tribute band piece. It's one of the greatest bands and guitarists of all time giving their own personal favourites their own unique twist.
Carlos Santana and company whittled down all the best guitar classics to 14 for this unique album. Despite 'Guitar Heaven' being a covers piece Santana (who still haven't run out of steam making their own hits, see 'All That I Am' for all your proof) show that their homage set is a lot more focussed and dedicated than you would expect. This isn't a bunch of old timers hungry for sales and recognition. The only recognition these guys want is for the guitar classics they are tributing. Songs that have paved the way for big bands and songs of today. This LP isn't some throw away, half baked set where the performers just flick through 'Guitar Hero' for their selections. This deep, well worked piece is exactly what it says on the case, heaven.
This act of tribute opens with the classic 'Whole Lotta Love', which does justice to the original all whilst being complete with the world sounds of Santana's classic riffs. On standouts like this and 'Bang A Gong' Santana reinvigorate raw classics bringing them to a universal forefront. The real timeless gem however is 'Sunshine Of Your Love' which reunites Rob Thomas with Santana and his band Matchbox Twenty. With drums and guitar licks reminiscent of their classic summer heater 'Smooth', Santana and Thomas prove that going back to old, timeless classics really furthers that distinct 'Supernatural' sound. On the anniversary of the classic album the combination don't forgot the magic of when they first got together.
Other classic re-inventions include an alternate take on AC/DC's 'Back in Black' which features hip-hop legend Nas. Carlos's guitar work give Nas the perfect beat to deliver his trademark on point lyrical strikes. Ironman rapper Ghostface Killah would be proud. Speaking of the Wu-Tang Clan on The Beatles classic 'While My Guitar Gentley Weeps' Santana and India Arie rediscover the soul of this classic record much like The Wu and Erykah Badu did years back on 'While My Heart Gentley Weeps" off the Wu-Tang Clan album '8 Diagrams'.
Even when Santana play it safe and go for simpler, similair versions of classics like The Doors' 'Riders On The Storm' and Red Hot Chilli Peppers' 'Under The Bridge' they still deliver straight forward post era rock brilliance. With this new concept album Santana work the idea down to a tee. Despite using covers as a basis for this record they still produce material that sounds original. Santana further extend their legendary status while paying homage to the legends of rock. With 'Guitar Heaven' Santana awakes the spirit and help keep these classic records eternal. TIM DAVID HARVEY.