Santa Fe

Band members               Related acts

- Woody Minnich -- vocals, guitar

- Rob Riggs -- lead guitar, vocals, keyboards

- Steve Salas -- bass, backing vocals

- Bill Saputo -- drums, backing vocals

- Joe Saputo -- vocals, guitar




- The Innocents (Woody Minnich)




Genre: country-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Good Earth

Company: RTV

Catalog: RTV-301

Year: 1971


Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: small cut out hole top right corner; heavy sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4086

Price: $150.00


This one caught my attention due to the fact it was released by the same label that put out Merrell Fankhauser and Mu's debut - RTV Records.  Guess I couldn't be blamed for thinking this album would offer up a similar mix of West Coast psychedelic meanderings ...  The fact numerous dealers have described the set as being Dead-styled West Coast psych did n't exactly dissuade me from that belief.  Well, let me the one to warn you that this is about as far from psych as you can get !!!  


That's not to imply that 1972's "The Good Earth" isn't worth investigating.  Apparently native Americans, the band line up consisted of singer/guitarist Woody Minnich, lead guitarist Rob Riggs, bassist Steve Salas and brothers Bill (drums) and Joe (guitar) Saputo.  Produced by Herb Newman at the Arizona-based Fat Chance Studios, the set offered up an intriguing set that' was heavy on county-rock influences.  While band comparisons are always problematic, to my ears much of this set sounds like Poco at their best - namely when Cotton and Young avoided lame ballads in favor of harder rocking material.  With Minnich responsible for the majority of the material, tracks such as 'River Life', 'Father Love for Live' and 'Tag of an Indian Summer' featured a distinctive ecological-orientation, but without being preachy or irritating.  Even the pro-Native American sentiments expressed on 'As Long As the Grass Grows' were subtle and thought provoking.  The fact that virtually every one of the nine songs sported a nice melody and some first-rate harmonies certainly didn't hurt the results.


"The Good Earth" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Ball Tonight   (Woody Minnich) - 5:56

2.) River Life    (Rob Riggs) - 3:38

3.) Father Love for Live   (Woody Minnich) - 2:47

4.) As Long As the Grass Grows   (Woody Minnich) - 2:43


(side 2)

1.) Tag of an Indian Summer   (Woody Minnich - Joe Saputo) -3:36

2.) There's No One Here To Put You On John   (Woody Minnich) - 3:46

3.) Back Door Annie   (Woody Minnich) - 3:47

4.) Tomorrow's Gone   (Woody Minnich) - 2:55

5.) Black Hills   (Joe Saputo) - 3:03 





Genre: country-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Santa Fe

Company: Ampex

Catalog: A-10135

Year: 1972


Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve; promo sticker on cover; white label

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4619

Price: $20.00


Their debut album (discussed above) is the rare and sought after one, but to my ears, the sophomore album (which is readily available and found at an affordable price) is stronger and far more enjoyable.  Course what do I know ...


Recorded in Hollywood's Goldstar Studios with Herb Newman producing, 1972's cleverly titled "Santa Fe" dropped much of the earlier country-rock influence in favor of a harder rock sound.  Those country-rock influences weren't totally abandoned, but this time around harmony-rich tracks such as 'Iron Horse', 'Sad Days' and 'Matthew Fields' recalled something out of the CSN&Y catalog.  Minnich certainly had the best voice, but I'll admit that Joe Sputo's twangy delivery grows on you after awhile ('Memphis Is a Woman').  Mind you, nothing here is particularly original but the set has a nice cohesive feel to it and virtually every one of the ten tracks featured a nice hook. Personal favorites included 'I'm Going To Be Your Man' (easily the most commercial track on the album) and the lead off epic 'Iron Horse'.


"Santa Fe" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Iron Horse   (Woody Minnich) - 5:49

2.) Sad Days   (Woody Minnich) - 3:24

3.) Memphis Is a Woman   (Woody Minnich - Rob Riggs - Joe Saputo) - 3:27

4.) I'm Gonna Be Your Man   (Woody Minnich) - 2:57

5.) Matthew Fields   (Woody Minnich) - 2:48


(side 2)

1.) Blue Bus   (Woody Minnich) - 5:06

2.) I'm Leaving   (Joe Supto) - 3:12

3.) Poor Country Boy   (Joe Saputo) - 2:40

4.) Meet You In the Morning   (Rob Riggs) - 3:01

5.) My Last Rodeo   (Woody Minnich - Rob Riggs - Joe Saputo) - 2:02


Minnich subsequently became an internationally recognized expert in succulents and desert plants.  He owns a Littlerock, California based company  that sells cacti and other plants world wide via mail order.




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