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Santana's volume in Sony’s Flashback series is a double-disc collection featuring various tracks spread across the band’s tenure with Columbia Records, and compiled in aesthetic rather than chronological order. Compiling 20 tracks, it contains many obvious choices, but some great surprises, too. For instance, for a change, “Soul Sacrifice” is nowhere to be found (thank goodness). Beginning the entire set with the glorious “Samba Pa Ti” was a wise choice, and the medley version of “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen” was similarly astute. Other inclusions that are all winners and aren’t so obvious to many listeners are the more Afro-Cuban-flavored rock of “Moonflower,” “Guajira,” “Para los Rumberos,” “Aqua Marine,” and “La Fuente del Ritmo”; the unexpected -- but welcome -- theme from "Love, Devotion and Surrender"; the funky “Dance Sister Dance”; and the utterly brilliant and under-compiled instrumental “Song of the Wind” from Caravanserai. Sure, “Evil Ways,” the cover of “She’s Not There,” and “Oye Como Va” are here as well. The point is that this EU compilation is the first non-box set presentation of the wide range of Santana material and offers a far better portrait of this band’s particular gifts than virtually anything out in North America.

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