Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles Live! (1972)

Energy for the universe from the center of a volcano.

Kronomyth 1.0: Hyde and seek.

Only in the supernatural world of Carlos Santana would a volcano sacrifice lead to a spiritual rebirth. The volcano in question is the Diamond Head volcanic crater in Oahu, Hawaii, where members of Santana and Buddy Miles’ band first performed these songs as a summoning for 1972 (i.e., the performance took place on January 1, 1972). What ended up on this album, however, are studio re-recordings of those songs (the original live recording was botched). No matter, since Carlos, Buddy and their bandmates bring the heat into the studio for these performances, including a side-long jam session entitled Free Form Funkafide Filth that is the very definition of F’ing awesome. The album sold over a million copies in the U.S. alone and further fueled the mythology of Santana, a man-god in metamorphosis. You see, this and his next album, Love Devotion Surrender, are a study in extremes, at least in terms of imagery. Here, you get Carlos Santana posed in psychedelic resplendence, arguably at the apex of getting his freak on. Before the year was over, however, Santana had become a disciple of Sri Chinmoy and transformed (along with fellow former psychonaut John McLaughlin) into the very picture of sobriety. You can’t make this stuff up. So, Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles Live! is sort of the last psychedelic adventure of Carlos Santana, with smiling buddha Buddy Miles beside him, and Jimi Hendrix watching on from some celestial plane. The music is almost secondary to the myth. The artists trot out their big hits (Them Changes, Evil Ways), play with McLaughlin’s Marbles, and jam a little in between before opening up the heavens to anything and everything on side two. I’m sure there are some who view this album as a cornerstone in the church of Santana. For me, it’s a snapshot from a lost weekend/last adventure: an interesting and entertaining side chapter, but supplemental to the real story. Those aren’t opinions, by the way, but experiences. Music is experienced differently depending on where we are in the journey, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I’m making a pronouncement on the objective quality of this album. I’m not sure objectivity even exists outside the realm of mathematics. What I do know is what I like, and I like this record because of its energy and the way it makes me feel when I’m listening to it. Oh, and as for “hyde and seek,” it’s a reference to the Hyde and Jekyll transformation of Carlos Santana as he went searching after God in a different way; here, indulging his Hyde side, there, seeking after spiritual peace with God. Apologies if I focused on Santana to the exclusion of Buddy Miles, but I’m still catching up with Miles’ music.

Original elpee version

A1. Marbles (John McLaughlin) (4:02)
A2. Lava (Buddy Miles) (2:03)
A3. Evil Ways (Sonny Henry) (6:22)
A4. Faith Interlude (Carlos Santana/Buddy Miles) (2:10)
A5. Them Changes (Buddy Miles) (5:39)
B1. Free Form Funkafide Filth (Buddy Miles/Carlos Santana/Gregg Errico/Ron Johnson, words by Leon Thomas) (25:05)

The Players

Buddy Miles (drums & lead vocals), Carlos Santana (guitar), Hadley Caliman (sax & flute), Michael Carabello (conga), Gregg Errico (drums), Coke Escovedo (timbales), Luis Gasca (trumpet), Robert Hogins (organ), Ron Johnson (bass), James Mingo Luis (conga), Victor Pantoja (conga), Neal Schon (guitar). Produced by Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles.; production assistance by Mike Larner and Glen Kolotkin; production supervision by Stan Maroum, Ron Estrada and Jack DiGiovanni; remix and mixing supervision by Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles; remix and mixing by Glen Kolotkin and Mike Larner

The Pictures

Album design, layout and cover background photographs by Joan Chase. Cover blow ups by Robert Knight and Richard Upper. Inside photographs by Barbara Baker, Glen Kolotkin, Richard Clark.

The Plastic

Released on elpee in June 1972 in the US (Columbia, C/KC 31308) with gatefold cover and insert. I don’t know what the difference is between the C and KC versions; some have a title on the front cover, some don’t. Reached #8 on the US charts (RIAA-certified platinum record) and #29 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1977 in Japan (CBS/Sony, 15AP-636).
  2. Re-issued on cassette in the US (Columbia, PCT 31308).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc on September 6, 1994 (Sony, 66416).

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