Live at the Fillmore 1968


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Live at the Fillmore 1968 Review

by Richie Unterberger

This two-CD package is drawn from Santana's performances at the Fillmore West in December 1968, with an early lineup including Bob Livingston on drums and Marcus Malone on congas (both of whom would be gone by the time the group recorded their official debut in 1969). The band sound only a bit more tentative here than they would in their Woodstock-era incarnation, running through several of the highlights of their first album ("Jingo," "Persuasion," "Soul Sacrifice," and "Treat"). More interesting to collectors will be the five songs that have not previously appeared on any Santana recording, including covers of songs by jazzmen Chico Hamilton and Willie Bobo and a half-hour original jam that concludes the set, "Freeway." The sound is excellent and the arrangements are a bit more improv-oriented than what ended up on the early studio records. The album's appeal isn't solely limited to committed fans; on its own terms, it's a fine release, highlighted by some burning organ-guitar interplay in particular.

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