SANTANA — Santana (review)

SANTANA — Santana album cover Album · 1969 · Latin Rock/Soul Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
Rarely has such a debut album attained such a level of perfection, but Santana were around for three years so they had plenty of time to become a tight unit and belting powerful anthems. Santana was part of that second wave of San Fran bands, but did not really sound as psychedilc as their forerunners, mostly due to guitarist Carlos Santana and the percussionists giving such an incredible Latin timbre to their feel. Their music reminded everyone that indeed the Californian Spanish heritage was indeed still a reality. From the more traditional rock side come the excellent singer/keyboardist Gregg Rollie and the superb Michael Schrieve. The mix of influences is an excellent example of early fusion (before the term got coined as a twin of jazz-rock) between many Latin America musics and the more RnR, blues, jazz and they were highly innovative. Santana got their big break from their stellar gig in Woodstock propelling their debut album to unhoped-for heights with tracks like Soul Sacrifice.

As I said above, their music was high energy rock and when taking a look at the track list, a good half of this album are pure classics. Evil Ways, Waiting, Persuasion, Soul Sacrifice are complete and utter classic tracks still getting airplay nowadays. I will always remember Jingo Loba for its power (and a friend’s house shall too, after it suffered permanent structural damages from some 50 kids dancing like one on a first floor). And the fact that the majestic Treat was played at a friend’s funeral in the mid-70’s as a piano-conga duo and extended to 15 minutes bringing everyone (even the parents) to tears of joy in such occasion. Yes, this review is biased, yes I am completely unable to bring myself to say one bad (or even average) thing about this album. Yes, some 35 years after discovering thisc album, I am still heads over heels (wors:I think I am heels over heads ;-) and even the relatively lesser tracks such as Savor or Shade Of Time would be highlights on many other band’s best offferings.

Today still almost 40 years later this record still feels fresh and up to date.

PS: although a single-sleeved album, take a close look at the lion’s head and count the human faces in it. The remastered version comes with some live tracks which gives an idea of their power on stage as well.

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