The Impossible Dream

The Impossible DreamUshers Green Stripe Blended Scotch Whiskey and My Fathers’ Favorite Albums

To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …

This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …

And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …

Don’t Say No

Don't Say No-wm1981’s Don’t Say No by Billy Squier and a circa 1842 Czech Pilsner Urquell

pilsner urquellSolid as a rock! This pilsner and this album are both stead fast, true, simple and to the point. There’s no bull shit with either of these classic works of art. Bragging rights for being the first pilsner in the world, the Czech Republic truly knows how to make a quality brew and as far as pilsners go, this is still my favorite. Since 1842, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I think if they ever tried to change the recipe, there would probably be a revolution.

Urquell essentially translates to “original source” and I’d have to think that Mr Billy Squier tapped into a bit of the original source when creating this masterpiece of the 1980’s. I’m not ashamed to admit it at all, that I loved this album from the first time I heard it back in 1981. Throw in some classic MTV and this album is made of memories for me from a very impressionable age. Start to finish, every song on this vinyl is rock and roll perfection. Straight ahead, never blurring the meaning, well okay maybe a double entendre or two with songs like “The Stroke” but it’s the deep cuts where this album shines. “In the Dark”, “Too Daze Gone”, “Lonely is the Night” and “Nobody Knows”; every song is classic rock goodness.

DSN-vinylIf you want to reminisce back to the classic days of MTV, Billy Squier and this album had a pretty good foothold in that era and it surely does the job. Billy made a few more great albums but this one was certainly the masterpiece out of them all. It’s an album that I still cherish in the vinyl collection and break it out from time to time when I need a straight ahead rock and roll fix. Billy Squier’s Don’t Say No delivers. While you’re at it, grab yourself the original pilsner and turn them both up!
Till next time!
Na zdraví, which means cheers in Czech!

dont say no back

7 Deadly Zins

Fathers and Sons

A 2010 Lodi Appellation Zinfandel & Muddy Waters Fathers & Sons

Somewhere within the realm songs within “Fathers and Sons” as well as most classic blues albums, there is going to be a reference to at least one of the seven deadly sins as listed in Christian ethics. It’s a pretty bad pun that they used to name this wine but there actually is some meaning behind it. The grapes that go into 7 Deadly Zins come from seven different growers in the Lodi region. It’s not clear if the concept came first or the name but either way the results are actually quite amazing for this fairly inexpensive bottle of Zinfandel. Average price around $14.00.

7-Zins-WMThe wine truly was a surprise. Typically Zinfandel’s are not my first choice when selecting a wine but I have to admit the name concept caught my eye and I thought it could make a cool pairing with an appropriate vinyl. The wine is surprisingly smooth, not too sweet and the spicy notes that are typically found in a Zin are balanced amazingly. There’s a zip to this zin that you don’t normally get in a single grape zin. It had a supple cinnamon like front that was balanced by a full bodied grape that would go well with many meals. I truly enjoyed this wine!

When you glance at Don WIlson’s take on Michelangelo’s design on the Sistine Chapel, something somewhat angelically cool is obviously taking place on the cover of Fathers and Sons and if you dig the blues, then the same vibe is also pressed onto this wax. The album features both studio and live recordings recorded in April 1969 with an all-star band including Michael Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Donald “Duck” Dunn of Booker T. & the M.G.’s and Sam Lay in Chicago, Illinois. This double LP gate fold vinyl is a testament to the way the blues should be heard.

gatefold

The blues of Muddy Waters is timeless and epic. It’s the vocabulary and the soul of rock and roll. The attitude, the feeling and the spirit. Any student musician that claims to have mastered improvisation without some reference to the blues is missing a big piece of the heart in my opinion. In fact I would dare say that you can’t master improvisation in any style of music without at least a minor study and appreciation of the blues.

chess labelLust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth. Wrath, Envy & Pride. In many ways, they are the vocabulary of the blues when you think about it. I think you need at least one of these sinful elements to have a decent blues song anyway. I’d have to believe that’s why in the past it was often referenced to as the Devil’s music by many that never bothered to look below the surface. The blues are something everyone needs a little taste of from time to be human. Much like dealing with the 7, you can do your best to avoid them but no person is completely without them and this my friends is why we all have the blues.

muddyMany think the blues are all about sad, these people truly don’t understand the music of the blues or they just aren’t capable of feeling anything below the surface. The blues run deep. The blues are both joy and they are sad but mostly, it’s something that  just makes you feel better and that’s the whole point. Kind of like tasting a bit of fine wine.

Ask anyone, anywhere, if they’ve ever had to deal with at least one of the seven deadly sins and if they say no, they’re either lying or they’re not human. I believe the blues is much the same. It’s unavoidable if you want to understand how to feel anything.

Does the name of the wine level up to the size of the pun used to market it? Yes, I believe it did and did so very well. Until next time! Relish in the joy my friends!
Cheers!

Primal Roots III

Primal Roots 2

 1970’s Led Zeppelin III & a 2010 Primal Roots Red Blend

III-2My day went pretty well today. On my way home this afternoon I stopped in one of my regular vinyl haunts here in Austin (End of An Ear) and came across a missing piece of the vinyl collection. Every time, over the past few years, that I’ve come across Zeppelin III, it has been an utterly thrashed copy. Beaten, abused and loved to death you might say. Today however, I found this gem! A VG+ condition, US gate-fold edition, complete with volvelle intact. A copy of what has to be one of my favorite Zep albums of all Zep albums. It’s an album that I refused to settle for a dilapidated copy of. I might add, it was not a bad price considering what many of the thrashed versions I’ve seen have been going for. Today, I reap the vinyl reward and pair this gem with Primal Roots 2010 Red Blend.

Primal Roots 4I’d been studying the Primal Roots label for some time trying to decide what vinyl would be the best to pair it with. Their website describes the wine as “Provocative, Sensual & Luscious”. This sent me down a few paths before deciding on the Zep. If I had any Robert Johnson on vinyl I would have probably gone with that instead. Yes, the holes in the vinyl collection are endless I suppose.

I also contemplated other more “provocative” artists such as Prince and Sly Stone but I kept coming back to the “Roots” in the name of the wine and to me there has to be some type of blues reference there. So after the days purchase, and knowing what I know about the evolution of rock and Zeppelin’s influences, I felt this album certainly maintains some primal roots and deserves the pairing. It’s not a far stretch to call this album Sensual & Luscious by any means. The second sides’ acoustic numbers alone have enough sexuality to breed what should be, an enjoyable night by the record player with your companion and this bottle of wine.

Primal-Roots-3The wine is a blend of Merlot, Zinfandel and Syrah that tends to linger a bit on the sweet side for my palate. It’s a bit of a surprising start as you’re hit with a flourish of the sweet Syrah and Zin, followed by a more mellow earthy vibe from the Merlot in the finish. It did take a glass to settle into the ride. It’s a bit of a roller coaster really but that can be a fun adventure for any wine enthusiast. To actually be surprised by where a wine takes you is part of the joy of tasting a wonderfully crafted wine. Blends can certainly have that effect and this tasting adventure is much like life itself.

III gatefold

Life is a ride and you never know where it might take you. The year is still young and we have so many new adventures awaiting us. I’m truly excited about what all life has on the horizon and as for Vinyl Pairings, well let’s just say the voices are growing and things are about to expand significantly. Very exciting stuff. I’m off to blast “The Immigrant Song” one more time!

Until next time my friends! Cheers!

III

Primal-Roots

Afterglow takes Root for the New Year

Afterglow takes Root

Black Country Communion’s 2012 release “Afterglow”
& a 2010 Root:1 Cabernet Savignon from Chile

It’s been a couple of months since our last post. We truly hope that everyone enjoyed the holiday season and is ready to rock and roll through 2013! It’s time to take Root in a New Year and we’re kicking it off with a bang, pairing a Chilean Cabernet Savignon with the super group that is Black Country Communion and their release Afterglow.

Black-Country-CommunionBlack Country Communion, for those that don’t already know, is composed of bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes, guitarist and vocalist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham, and keyboardist Derek Sherinian. This band has the chops and they truly show them on this release.

From the lead off track “Big Train” all the way through to the finally “Crawl”, this album delivers exactly what you would hope for. Bonamassa is a monster on the guitar and Hughes sounds better than ever. Bonham, well do you really have to say anything other than “Bonham”? He’s laying it down in true family fashion.
I can’t say enough good things about the musical performances that are recorded in the grooves of this vinyl. Many a new band could learn a thing or two from these veteran performers. Glen Hughes as so much depth and grace on this record, it’s truly amazing, in my opinion he outshines the others a tad on this particular release, the bands third album. Hughes is a top notch rock and roll vocalist of the highest caliber and his bass playing on this record is phenomenal. My personal favorite stand out tracks, “This is Your Time” and the title track “Afterglow” on side one and the second sides’ “The Circle” & “Common Man”. Chops galore! Truly not a dud on the entire album and well worth the price of admission.

The Root:1 Cab Sav (average price around $12.99) gets its name from the fact that it’s crafted exclusively from grapes grown on the oldest root-stock system in the world. This original ungrafted root systems tended by the master winemaker in Chile gives the wine a rich, pure, fruit flavor and aroma. It’s a very well-defined and well bodied wine. A supple nose and a silky cab body that truly makes for an enjoyable wine.

Pure Ungrafted Rock and Roll and a Pure Ungrafted Grapevine

As we let the “Afterglow” of 2012 fade behind us, we look ever forward into the New Year with excitement and anticipation for what the future has in store for us all. Keep those Roots planted and until next time when we can again savor the fruits of life via some tasty tunes and some tasty wine, cheers my friends!

Afterglow-Collage

 

Blood Red Wine

A 2011 Curious Beasts California “Blood Red Wine”
& the 2012 collaboration “Storm Corrosion” Happy Halloween!

The Storm Corrosion pairing is one that has been coming for some time. A conclusion to the trilogy of pairings that started with Steven WIlson’s solo album Grace For Drowning, continued with Opeth’s album Heritage and now concludes with the collaborative effort of Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth & Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, in the form of Storm Corrosion.

Truett-Hurst Winery’s Curious Beasts brings us one of the most fun packaging displays that I’ve seen and paired to date. To begin with the wine is packaged in a marvelously decorated day of the dead style paper bag that immediately lets you know you’re getting something more than just a flavorful wine, you’re getting a real experience popping the cork of this gem. Once you’ve removed the bottle from the bag, you reveal a wonderfully designed label, complete with drips of blood on everything from the sku on the back, to the cork that’s in the bottle. Pretty freaking awesome if you ask me.

Truett-Hurst, the Sonoma County wine company and trendsetter, along with critically acclaimed package designer Kevin Shaw, of Stranger & Stranger (New York and London), identified 22 buying occasions and created brands in a packaging format that commands a powerful shelf presence. With the added paper real estate, the wraps allow for more copy, recipes, and engagement among consumers in a way that a tiny back label cannot. The Evocative Wrapped Bottles present a major opportunity for gifting.” – From PR Newswire The wine was developed to be sold at Safeway grocery stores. I found it locally in Austin at my Randalls which is a division of Safeway.
 
To say I had high hopes for this album goes without saying. Were my expectations met? Well, not entirely but it is still a solid album if you like spooky progressive rock. That’s really all I come away with after listening to it a few times. It doesn’t always hit the mark for me and instead of sincerely being spooky, it comes off a bit campy at times, ala Edward Scissorhands or something. So as for the hopes of a divine trilogy of albums I find myself perfectly content to stay with the first two albums.
 
As for the actual wine that is inside this unique and inventive packaging, I absolutely loved it! The Blood Red Wine blend is marvelously and masterfully done. A blend that is supple to the palate, extremely well-rounded and balanced. A bit sweet and fruity at first but once it opens up it truly blossoms into a well rounded blend. I highly recommend this wine for a gift to take to your Halloween party or Day of the Dead festivities.
 
Here’s to a safe and happy Halloween everyone! Cheers!

Everybody Loves Somebody

A Justerini & Brooks Blended Scotch Whiskey with a splash of Shasta Club Soda
paired with a Mexican import edition of Dean Martin’s “Everybody Loves Somebody”

Talk about classy entertainment. There haven’t been many like Dean that have come around. An all around entertainer, Dean did it all with style and grace and usually with a glass of scotch and soda in his hands. According to his son, when he did drink was it was typically what you see here, J&B blended scotch whiskey and a splash of soda.

His son Ricci Martin is quoted saying the following, “While it was true that Dad drank, the drunky routines were an act. On stage, and later on the set of his TV show, Dad usually had a J&B scotch and soda he nursed through the performance. It was almost always a weak scotch and soda. Other times it was just apple juice. I never saw Dad drink a martini, although the martini glass logo was frequently used in his TV show promotions and there have been countless martini bars christened in his honor. I suppose much of the association came from the last name he took, but he was never much of a martini drinker.” So there you have it, from a source that should indeed know the story.

As for the J&B blended scotch, just the fact that this company began making whiskey in 1749, and are still producing the same classic blend should tell you something.

From the distillor: Each time you sip J&B RARE, 42 different whiskies pass your lips. They are carefully blended together to create a subtle, smooth and complex flavour. The delicate balance is what gives J&B RARE its distinctive character. If we took even one whisky away you would taste the difference.

The heart of J&B RARE is formed by Speyside Malt Whiskies. They provide the fruity, fresh quality you can taste, and give J&B its light colour. Speyside is recognised as the superior area in Scotland for making malt. Added to that are some of the finest grain whiskies Scotland has to offer. They help reveal the individual flavours of the various malts, unveiling the pleasant, smooth character of J&B.

The two in my opinion are indeed timeless. Dean’s character and his music will always be around and I would imagine that J&B will be around making scotch whiskey for quite some time to come as well.

Here’s hoping that all of us can enjoy it as long as we want and truly do so with someone that we love! Till next time! Salute!

 

Deep Purple

A 2009 Lodi Deep Purple Zinfandel from Cali
& 1972’s Deep Purple Machine Head from Great Britain

This is one of those pairings that was truly “way to literal” to be much of an intriguing success, but it’s also way to literal to go with much of anything else, so there you have it, Deep Purple meet Deep Purple.

The Lodi Californian Zinfandel is a truly tasty Zin and if I’m not mistaken, it is the first Zin that I’ve paired here on Vinyl Pairings. I guess this makes it fairly obvious that Zinfandels are not the first types of wine that I go for. Luckily, this one caught my eye for obvious reasons and I had to give it a shot and pair it up with one of the most classic rock and roll albums of all time.

Still to this day, I have to imagine, that anyone starting to learn how to play guitar is bound to start with a riff from this album. “Smoke on the Water” is still one of the first things anyone interested in rock guitar learns how to play. It’s pretty much the vowels and nouns of guitar chords.

For such obvious reasons we’ll keep this blog short and sweet. The Zin is divine and the Machine Head is sublime. It doesn’t get much better for anyone looking for a tasty Zinfandel and some classic heavy rock and roll.

Cheers Everyone! Until the next cork is popped. Hope to see you soon my friends!

Born to Run

A 2009 Indelible Wines Vintage Ink Deepest Merlot
& 1975’s Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

“Baby this town rips the bones from your back. Its a death trap, it’s a suicide rap, we gotta get out while were young. `Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run!”

Deep Rooted Tradition Meets Ground Breaking Technique

A 2010 Noble Vines 181 Merlot & 1965’s A Love Supreme by John Coltrane

“Deep rooted tradition meets ground breaking technique”, this is the motto of Noble Vines and the obvious title for this pairing with John Coltrane. This is the second time we’ve paired a wine from Noble Vines Winery, the first being our pairing with “The King of Limbs” by Radiohead. Let me just say that the 181 vine brought from Bordeaux and transplanted in California seems to be doing just as well as it’s sibling the 337 Cab Sav. This is one delicious bottle of wine. From the first hint of the nose just moving the glass in front of me, I could tell they have another winner here. The nose, the palate & the finish of this wine is top-notch Merlot and by all regards, a French Merlot at heart.

From the 181 Merlot to the 180 gram reissue of the masterpiece that is “A Love Supreme”, how can you say what needs to be said about this definitive album? Often listed amongst the most influential jazz albums of all time, this puppy sings of the universe and is life incarnate in the modern movement of what would be defined as the medium of jazz. As further testimony to the recording’s historic significance, the manuscript for the album is one of the National Museum of American History’s “Treasures of American History”, part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Put it this way, if you are not familiar with the language of jazz, you would be doing very well to start here.

So for another “Winesday” / “Humpday” pairing, we leave you with a bit of the prayer John included in the liner notes of this grand gatefold.

May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain – it is all with God – in all ways and forever.
ALL PRAISE TO GOD.
With love to all, I thank you, – John Coltrane

Tattoo You!

A 2008 Napa Valley Cab Sav by Castle Rock
& 1981’s Tattoo You by the Rolling Stones

We’re making a return to Castle Rock winery with this pairing! We were so impressed with their Monterey County Pinot Noir that when I came across this Napa Valley Cav Sav, I had to pick it up for a taste. I’m truly amazed by the variety of grapes and the variety of regions Castle Rock manages to cover. They’re obviously “all in” when it comes to covering the many bases of winemaking.

The Stones are a band that you could easily say the same thing about; they are a band that knows how to cover the bases of rock and roll Tattoo You is a good example of this since it’s primarily composed of a variety of outtakes from previous recording sessions, a little of this and a little of that, some recordings dating back a decade, with new vocals and overdubs, it covers a lot of ground. Which might be why it’s still one of my favorite and in my opinion, most underrated, Stones albums. Sure it has their last #1 US hit “Start Me Up” but it’s songs like “Worried About You”, “Tops”, “Slave” & “Waiting On A Friend” that are at the core of this release.

This is another vinyl that I’ve had, almost since the day it came out and I can still remember the day I bought it in 1981. I was just a kid, not even a teen yet, but thanks to the early days of MTV (thanks Martha Quinnn you are awesome!), this particular Stones album ended up in my collection early on. Yes, it was my first Stones album, but obviously not my last.

The Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley is an extremely well-rounded wine. Maybe I’m just more partial to a Cab but I think if I came across both the Castle Rock Pinot Noir from Monterey County and this one at the same time, I’d go for the Cab Sav myself. It’s truly delicious and loaded with flavor. It’s got a nose that’s more to my preference with earthy nuances that seem to bring out the tannins of the wine in a more well-rounded fashion. Of course, many may say that’s just the difference between the Pinot Noir and the Cab Sav.

Regardless of the how’s and why’s, let me just say that this is a fabulous wine, not too expensive and well worthy of a trip to a friend’s house. Tattoo You is an album that many should go back and listen to again if they haven’t heard it recently. In fact grab it and take it along with a bottle of Castle Rocks Cab Sav to your good friends house and have a toast or two. Keep on rocking friends!

Austin Soul

Independence Brewing Company’s Austin Amber
and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Soul to Soul

A pairing for National Drink Beer Day. Although it’s the first year I’ve heard about it, I did indeed indulge in some local craft beer to celebrate this year along with another local love, some Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Austin Amber is made right here in Austin, right off of Todd Lane close to where I used to live in town by Amy and Rob Cartwright at Independence Brewing Company.

The Amber is a yummy brew top to bottom. The brewers quote, “A beer as laid back as Austin, our American Amber is smooth and refreshing.  The specialty malts lend caramel sweetness while American hops add balance and a crisp finish that will have you tipping that glass up for more.”

Austin Amber Stats

Style: American Amber
Alcohol by volume: 4.8%
Original Gravity: 12°
Bitterness units: 32
Yeast: American Ale/Chico
Hops: Nugget, Cascade
Malts: American Two-Row, Belgian Special B, Caramel 20, Chocolate
Availability: Year Round, Draft & 6-packs
Food Pairing: BBQ pork, grilled salmon, roasted chicken, burgers

Soul to Soul is one of those albums that I first only ever heard on CD and quite frankly, I never really thought the album sounded that great. Turns out it was just the digital rendering that didn’t do this particular album justice. When I finally heard this album on vinyl my opinion of it changed drastically.

Truly the CD sounds terrible compared to the quality of the analog mastering done when this puppy went to vinyl. It’s a night and day difference and another great case for vinyl’s superiority.

Bringing these two Austin classics together made for a pleasurable Texas evening of sounds and suds to wash back the week with. Signing off from Austin! Cheers!

Too Fast For Love

A Tres Rios Añejo Tequilla & 1981’s “Too Fast For Love” by Mötley Crüe

Tonight’s pairing comes to you, in big part, thanks to Mr Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. Vince has taken upon himself to go into the tequilla business! (as many rockers do these days) We decided it was time to give his Tres Rios a try while we blow the doors down with Mötley Crüe’s debut album Too Fast For Love. Crank! It! Up!

In November of 1981 when Too Fast For Love began to circulate in Los Angeles, no one had ever heard anything quite like it. Like em or not, the Crüe did define a generation and played a major part in birthing the LA metal seen that followed in the 1980’s. This is the album that started it all.

Too Fast For Love took the punk rock attitude of bands like the New York Dolls and gave it a glam metal sheen that was pure LA. They really could have easily called the band the “LA Dolls” at this point in my opinion.

It’s another one of those band debuts that just screams hunger. It’s a no holds barred, take no prisoners, leave no man standing, album of angst and aggression. Put it into a blender with the attitude of punk, add some big 80’s hair, a touch of leather, some lipstick and makeup, mix it all up and what you’ve got is pure Motley.

My opinion of this album when it first came out was that of “what tha?!”, it was like being blind sided with something so new that you weren’t even really sure how to categorize it. It was as much a punch in the face as Nirvana’s Nevermind was some ten years later. “Too Fast For Love” signaled the rise in popularity of the metal scene in LA just as Nirvana skyrocketed the Seattle scene onto everyone’s radar a decade later.

As for the Tequilla, this is a special limited run numbered bottle and I was lucky enough to find bottle number 094604-C from batch 2001. 100% Pure Agave Añejo Tequilla produced in Mexico. Let me just start by saying, it would be a sin to shoot this tequilla and an even bigger sin to mix it into any kind of mixed drink. This is a tequilla worthy of a slow sip and savor. Keep a little lime and salt on hand to compliment it, but to just throw it into the back of your mouth and swallow it without savoring it, well in my opinion you’d be missing out on the divine decadence that is the Tres Rios Añejo.

“Aged to perfection after eighteen months in charred wooden barrels, this Tequila displays a deep, intense caramel color that embodies its complexity. The unmistakable taste of sweet vanilla and smoke imparted by the ageing enhances the original fruit. The result of this exclusive technique is a complex taste, balance, and character that form a symphony for the taste buds.” – http://www.tequila.net/tequila-reviews/anejos/tres-rios-tequila-anejo.html

The 180 gram reissue pressing that I garnered for this pairing is much like many of the 180’s that are coming out these days, it may not have the same depth of some of the original pressings, but it’s far superior to my older thrashed copy from the 1980’s. Pretty much with any 180 gram reissue you get these days, while well worth having if you’re a serious fan of the album, they do typically lack something that the original pressings had. Maybe it’s generational, maybe it’s digital remastering, maybe both; nonetheless, any fan of this album that doesn’t have a copy on vinyl will do quite well with this reissue. The Crüe reissued all of their early catalog on 180 gram a few years ago and they’re not too hard to find but they are becoming a bit more and more scarce as the days go by. Such is one of the groovy things about vinyl. It is a finite resource.

Bringing together the music of Mötley Crüe and the tequilla creation Vince has imparted to us was a great time. Sipping tequilla and jamming to some Crüe is a fine way to get a party going indeed. Here’s to the Agave plant, here’s to the Crüe and here’s to you!
Salute!

Santana Especial

Santana (1969) and a chilled Cerveza Modelo Especial (1925)

Tonight we break away from the wine for some tasty suds from Mexico. Modelo Especial is truly a wonderful cerveza to accompany with a meal or just to sip on and hang out listening to vinyl with. This evenings vinyl is one of the all time greats and still my go-to Santana album of choice.

The 1969 debut album from Santana is classic jam from start to finish. Every track has “legacy of rock” written all over it. “Evil Ways”, the second single taken from the album, was a U.S. Top 10 hit and the album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 pop album chart.

At a rather surprising event I attended last year here in Austin, at the Four Seasons Hotel, I was treated to an acoustic piano performance by Gregg Rolie (keyboards and vocals on this album) who performed the song “Treat” from this album among other wonderful songs in the hotel lobby. Talk about blown away! Gregg is a phenomenal musician and even though his name may not be a household name, everyone that knows “Evil Ways” or “Black Magic Woman”, certainly knows his voice. I can’t imagine this album without Gregg on the keys and vocals, his contribution along with Carlos’s guitar work, made for one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time.

While Carlos has made many great albums since this one, it’s my opinion that this album truly represents the initial spark, the breath of life if you will, that set the Santana train in motion that continues to this day. This album embodies the hunger of a young and eager rock band just as many debut albums do.

It is primal soul music with a rocking latin groove that gets your body moving and truly makes you yearn for a cold beer and a warm summer night.

Break open a Modelo and let’s have a toast!
As we break into fall, here’s to the summer’s end and to another fall season that is upon us. As the nights get colder and the winter approaches, I have no doubt there will be many a hot toddy pairing on the horizon. Keep your needle in the groove and the spirits responsibly indulged and appreciated my friends!