This blues-inflected number hints at an encroaching, enigmatic terror of some sort: "You hear the sound of footsteps, stealing 'cross the floor. You picked up the receiver, you didn't know what for. Then you saw the shadow, steppin' through the door." Said "shadow" is never identified in the song.
In the linear notes for the box set, El Cancionero Mas y Mas, Los Lobos' drummer and songwriter, Louie Perez, describes this song as "double X-L rock."
This is the opening track to Los Lobos' major label debut album, How Will the Wolf Survive?, which was ranked at #461 on Rolling Stone magazine's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.
"Abracadabra" was inspired by Diana Ross and The Supremes. Steve Miller first met the girl group when they performed together on NBC's Hullabaloo in 1966, and he wrote the lyrics after spotting Diana Ross skiing in the mountains years later.