SANTANA — Santana (review)

SANTANA — Santana album cover Album · 1969 · Latin Rock/Soul Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
AtomicCrimsonRush
The debut for iconic legends soul rocking Santana is a phenomenal album full of songs that would cement the band as contenders for one of the most successful groups in history. Carlos Santana is the driving force on lead guitar and absolutely energizes each track with dynamic creativity. The power of the tracks is injected with heavy stabbing overpowering Hammond. The first Santana experience for me was the Woodstock "Soul Sacrifice" performance with that wonderful guitar lick and the amazing drum solo that is unforgettable both visually and aurally. Nothing could compare to that but the studio version is still not too bad though lacking that energy in the live performance. It is always going to be synonymous with Santana's greatest hit and features on every compilation of the group.

The debut album is mainly instrumental and is all the better for it. It begins with a bright jam session on "Waiting", a sanctuary of incessant bongos and pumping bass. "Evil Ways" follows and has become a part of Santana's set list over the years and for good reason. It features amazing dextrous playing of Carlos and swathes of organ that locks into some of the most infectious melodies the band generated. There are Latin flavours wrapped up in "Shades of Time" driven by no less than three percussionists. An instrumental follows in "Savor" and then the wonderful "Jingo" sung in Spanish and Carlos is an inferno on guitar; an absolutely extraordinary guitarist with worldwide acclaim thanks to tracks like this.

Later on in the album we are treated to the six minute instrumental, "Soul Sacrifice" that is unforgettable with manic percussion and staccato Hammond blasts. It sends a chill down my spine every time and is my all time favourite Santana piece. It caps off a very strong debut that has become engrained in the band's success and indeed is one of the all time great debuts of 1969.
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