SANTANA — Santana III (review)

SANTANA — Santana III album cover Album · 1971 · Latin Rock/Soul Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
AtomicCrimsonRush
“Santana 3”, the 3rd excellent album in a row for the band, has some rather heavy rhythms and riffs as the band explore heavier territory. The opener ‘Batuka’ is much more heavily reliant on a riff, and a killer one at that, as Carlos is then given freedom to unleash a flurry of notes on his lead guitar. The singing comes in on ‘No One To Depend On’ and sounds appropriate after that incredible intro. The lead guitar holds back but latches onto a cool laid back melody.

The real Santana sound of shimmering Hammond, frantic bongos and guitar poetry is heard on ‘Taboo’. The voice is as always laid back and soulful, with the kind of sound and structure as ‘Black Magic Woman’; the winning formula for the band. Frenetic tribal percussion and blistering guitar runs drive ‘Toussaint l' Overture’, and I love that Hammond sound from Rolie, one of the best keyboardists. This one is a freakout of manic instrumental intensity, the way the band loved to unleash its power on these 70s albums. When the vocals come in they have a Latin flavour.

‘Everybody's Everything’ is a short blast with a lot of swinging brass and a soul man style vocalist, and a terrific Hammond break. ‘Guajira’ has a laid back feel, nice vox, measured Samba rhythm, and cool guitars. ‘Jungle Strut’ has the type of feel in the intro that would follow with the excellent “Caravanserai” album. this locks into a wild rhythmic percussion and some bluesy lead guitar licks; Carlos at his best. The song ‘Everything’s Coming Our Way’ is too commercial for my tastes but ‘Para Los Rumberos’ closes with a great jazzy brass and Latino percussion explosion.

Overall this is not as great as the debut or “Abraxas” but still rocks with a ton of keyboard and guitar brilliance. I am not a fan of the vocal treatment on this but the musicianship is incredible, and proves the band were a force to be reckoned with. Pioneers, legends, virtuosos, and this is another milestone album of Latin rock. “Caravanserai” would completely blow this album away for infamy in music history, and with 4 albums in a row that are still loved and treasured today, Santana were untouchable in the early 70s.
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