Frank Zappa: Variations on the Carlos Santana Secret Chord Progression

Track

Variations on the Carlos Santana Secret Chord Progression

Artist

Frank Zappa (lead guitar)

CD

Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar (Rykodisc 10533)

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Musicians:

Frank Zappa (lead guitar), Steve Vai (rhythm guitar), Ike Willis (rhythm guitar), Tommy Mars (keyboards), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums),

Ray White (rhythm guitar), Bob Harris (keyboards), Arthur Barrow (bass)

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Composed by Frank Zappa (with chords provided by Carlos Santana)

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Recorded: Dallas Civic Arena, Dallas, October 17, 1980

Albumcoverfzappashutupnplayyerguitar

Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Ah, not just any set of changes here, but the Carlos Santana secret chord progression. The small-minded people will point out that it is just a two-chord vamp on G minor and C7. But didn't Santana hit the top of the charts with two lousy chords on "Evil Ways" and "Oye Como Va"? Well, the secret's out, Carlos. Every guitarist at West L.A. Music and Sam Ash now knows the score. To reinforce the point, Zappa enlists seven people for his rhythm section -- if you can believe the personnel credits, which seem a wee bit padded to these ears -- and they pound away at G minor and C7 like it's the second coming of F major soon to arrive on a cloud in the sky. But forget about the harmonies here. The magic is concentrated in Zappa's lead guitar, which sizzles like a downed power line on wet pavement. Very edgy work with no comic relief, just straight playin'.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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  • 1 Rainman // Nov 03, 2008 at 06:33 PM
    "and they pound away at G minor and C7 like it's the second coming of F major" woe that's a great line!