I recently listened to Santana (Supernatural and Shaman) for the first time in many years. His guitar playing is awesome! I'm out of touch with his music. Can you give me recommendations regarding his best cds. I'm particularly interested in his most energetic cd.
Sacred Fire - fairly recent live work
Love Devotion and Surrender - with John McLaughlin
Caravanserai. Get the Sony Legacy remastered edition. For a different take on his music try Welcome.
He also did an album with Alice Coltrane (wife of John) that is, in a word...Cosmic.
Pehare and Ceb222 most of the guitar work on the thrid album was performed by Neil Schon who is now with Journey, Carlos does the basic riffs and his solos were amoung the best since Neil pushed him a little harder then he now plays.

Great album none the less.

Happy Listening.
Lotus - 3-Lp live set from mid 70's alvailable only as import untill released on CD in the early 90's.
A Santana recommendation depends on what tracks of Supernatural and Shaman you liked. Some tracks showcase his unique classic bluesy guitar playing and others are "contemporary pop" with his unique stylistic overlay. Which ones moved you most? It's hard to offer a helpful or like-styled Santana recommendation unless you can tell us which tunes you liked. Consequently, I'm sure the Audigon Community can make more specific Santana recommendations. At the moment, everyone is nominating their own favorites... and most are excellent.

FYI, Santana's career can be organized into these broad musical "periods":

"Golden Period-Big 3 Classics"
Santana (1967)
Abraxis (1968)
Santana 3 (1971)

Santana & Buddy Miles (1972)-Forgetable live jam music

"Jazz-Fusion" -Exquisite jazz-rock-latin fusion
Caravansarai (1972)
Love-Devotion-Surrender-w/John McLaughlin (1972)
Welcome (1973)- Ultimate latin-rock-jazz-funk fusion!
Borboletta (1974)
Lotus (1974)-Live from Japan tour

"Back to roots latin-rock & Blues"
Amigos (1976)
Moonflower (1977)- Live "classics" and pop/rock studio tunes
Festival (1977)

"Uneven Period w/occasional brilliance"
Inner Secrets (1978)- It hurts to hear this one.
Marathon (1979)- New Age
Oneness (1979)
Zebop (1981)
Shango (1982)
Blues for Salvadore (1987)-Great blues playing!
Viva Santana (1988)-Retrospective w/unreleased rarities
Beyond Appearences (1990)
Sacred Fire (1993)-Live rendition of his "classics"

"Career Revival"
Supernatural (1999)-Back in the public view
Shaman (2002)- 2nd Ed of Supernatural formula

Regardless, Carlos Santana deserves to be mentioned among the great musical stylists - two notes and you KNOW it's Santana because no one else plays or sounds like him. See for comments about each release.
Thank you jwong.

On the Supernatural CD the cuts I liked most included:

Da Le Yaleo
Africa Bamba
The Calling

On Shaman I most liked:

Aye Aye Aye

It seems that these are all more blues/jazz influenced than many of the other tracks. What I particularly like are the moving (to me) parts where his guitar sings, as in the very beginning of Da Le Yaleo or throughout Adouma. Of the above, I particularly love The Calling instrumentals of Clapton and Santana, each playing off the other at the beginning few minutes of that track. I liked the jazzy latin sound of his guitar in Africa Bamba.

See and hear his performance at Woodstock. That's where I first fell in love with his type of soul music. You can tell watching him perform that he feels the notes down in his soul.
On "Santana 3" the guitar work is fairly evenly split with Carlos usually soloing first. Along with "Welcome", "3" is my favorite Santana album. My favorite solo is from "Yours Is the Light" on "Welcome".

I'm glad people are commenting about Santana's blues influences. On his debut album it's very obvious that he had listened to a lot of Michael Bloomfield and he has mentioned repeatedly that Otis Rush is one of his guitar heroes.

In a radio interview someone asked Carlos why his guitar solos are so similar to one another, he replied "I want my mother to recognize me when they play me on the radio".
YOu must hear "Blues for ElSalvador" Great album and simply exceptional title song.
The albums through Caravanserai all feature the amazing ensemble sound the band had at the beginning.
You think his Cds are impressive...try to get yourself into one of his concerts...especially in a smaller venue.
Since starting this thread, I've purchased Welcome, Abraxis and Blues for Salvador - they were all on sale for $9 canadian. (Santana 3 wasn't available.) Of these, I most enjoyed Blues for Salvador. It's exactly what I wanted at this time --- great featured playing by Santana and high energy (especially the title cut). Of course, the other two cds are also very enjoyable. I look forward to Santana 3 when I can find it.

Thanks to all for your suggestions.

thanks to this thread shaking some cobwebs loose I picked up Caravanseri again (last time was an 8-track), Legacy remastered edition (thanks upstateaudio for the tip). It is better than I remember & making this perfect sunday afternoon something special.
Great Post! Coulnd't agree more with "all of the above". Yet, he continues to evolve. I loved his newest CD with all the young artists, the passion was just so alive. Especially the cut with Michelle Branch, his solo is...well you know. There's an older album, I think it was Live in El Salvador, awsome work with a couple ofnew pieces on it at the time. You can't take it out of the political context in which it developed, the 80's, Regans dirty little illegal war in So. America etc. (oooops, now I've done it, went an gone political).
The version of "Europa" on Moonflower is one of the reasons that God invented the guitar.