Santana MCMLXVIII (1968)

MCMLXVIII (1968/1996)
Pre-Debut Live Studio Jams

You’d think that these long-lost, pre-debut, pre-Woodstock studio jams (rehearsals, demos, auditions… whatever they actually are) would be a much bigger deal in musical archeology circles. Recorded at Pacific Studios in 1968, and featuring Carlos Santana, Michael Shrieve, Gregg Rolie, David Brown, Michael Carabello and Chepito Areas, these sizzling live-in-the-studio jams are probably what helped the band get signed and sound much like a lost album that never was. Fact is, however, these tapes have already been issued… a hundred different times, via a slew of cheapie, one-off labels and dozens of different titles (usually Acapulco Sunrise). Apparently someone besides CBS acquired the rights to these tapes decades ago and has licensed them to anyone, anywhere at any time. That’s… if they’re even licensed at all. Tainted history aside, this set includes some great live jams, capturing the essence of one of Santana’s first incarnations – almost all instrumental, with high-energy percussion fueled by a jazzy/ethnic flavoring. This particular disc is probably the most legit of the bunch, (supposedly) issued by Virgin Records in 1996 (via Sky Ranch, the then-owners of said recordings?). Note that there are some minor sound issues on a track or two. If you want a hard copy, there are dozens of options @ Amazon (HERE), that are, surprisingly, more expensive than you’d expect – on labels like Rolled Gold, Bellevue, Hallmark, Dark Peak, Noble Price, Prime Cuts and, of course, LaserLight, with titles like Acapulco Sunrise, La Puesta del Sol, Jingo, Jin-Go-Lo-Ba, Early Magic, and Evolution: The Original Recordings, just to name a few. Careful, song titles are inconsistent, so you’ll need to look closely when dumpster diving for this long-ignored piece of rock history. As for this Virgin/Sky Ranch disc, it appears to have a virtually non-existent profile, like it was never even released.

Let’s Get Ourselves Together (2:05)
Acapulco Sunrise
Latin Tropical (11:23)
Santana Jam (14:42)
Coconut Grove (2:24)
Hot Tamales (8:03)
La Puerta Del Sol (10:24)
As The Years Go By (3:48)


  • Willard
    June 20, 2011 - 11:18 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2011 - 20:11 | Permalink

    I’ve seen some of those discs around but had no idea what the recordings were. Interesting that there seems to be little duplication with the first album. Thanks for this!

    • Willard
      July 29, 2011 - 20:45 | Permalink

      Yeah… they’re not flawless, but they’re great live studio recordings.

  • Divine Light Control
    October 7, 2011 - 14:51 | Permalink

    Thanks a lot………..I’ve seen a lot of the other copies mentioned, but first time I hear of this Virgin-edition.

  • Mark
    June 16, 2013 - 18:30 | Permalink

    I love these raw early recordings!

  • Sebastian
    June 17, 2013 - 08:47 | Permalink

    Thanks Willard! Fantastic record!

  • Duncan Walls
    June 17, 2013 - 14:33 | Permalink

    You know when these appeared (pretty early in the 70s, at least by 1975 or so) I think we all passed them by because of all the other titles that resembled this, citing mostly some of the rather duff Hendrix rip-offs and Canned Heat too, for that matter. I would guess only the super die-hard Santana fan bothered and then got punked a few times more because of the title confusion & ‘creative’ shadowing…I also think the prevailing search by many of us for the unknown edges of our favorite acts has opened us up to demos, auditions and live tapes more readily and these and the others I cited are accepted more readily now. I’m also theorizing that Santana fans have been served pretty damn well by Carlos and his support teams. Outside of various live shows he has amassed quite a large catalog by now and displayed a LOT of creative impulse, more than most artists in fact. Did you ever see his semi-bootleg release Spirits Forever with cuts by Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye and John Coltrane FROM HIS OWN PRIVATE TAPE ARCHIVE?

  • john s
    November 5, 2013 - 01:18 | Permalink

    And many thanks afterwards too – gracias!

  • john s
    November 5, 2013 - 14:49 | Permalink

    If anyone’s keeping track, “La Puerta del Sol” is actually a cover of Willie Bobo’s “Fried Neckbones & Homefries.”

  • ocram
    March 17, 2015 - 21:43 | Permalink

    What a good trip with that latin jazz fusion jam sound!!! Chill out!

  • Leave a Reply