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Santana - Santana CD (album) cover

SANTANA

Santana

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.13 | 337 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Progfan97402
5 stars Santana's appearance at Woodstock certainly left the record company no choice but to quickly have it released. Santana was one of those classic rock groups I always had enjoyed, but given so much of my time had been taken up looking for rare and obscure gems of prog and psych, that I hadn't gotten around to getting much Santana. I am ever glad to get their debut, and what a debut it is! This one seems more rough and unpolished than their more popular followup Abraxas, which I really like. Much of the album is high energy Latin rock. This album shows how much the Afro-Cuban style of Latin rhythms are used, especially the heavy use of congas. Of course, the whole world knows about "Evil Ways", it's became a staple of classic FM rock, and for good reason. It's one of those songs that, yes, it's been overplayed to death on the radio, that it don't bother me, the way "Free Bird" and "Stairway to Heaven" bothers many people (songs that sound impressive when you first hear them, but after hearing those songs a million times since radio DJs never given those two songs a rest,, in fear of losing their audience it does get a bit tiring). I also love Gregg Rolie's style of Hammond organ playing. How about the other songs? "Shades of Time" seems to be cut from the same fabric. They do a cover of Nigerian musician Babatunde Olantuji's "Jin-go-lo-ba", retitled "Jingo" here. Lots of great organ and Latin percussion, I guess doing a song from an African musician drives home the fact the Latin rhythms Santana used were of the Afro-Latin variety. Pierre Moerlen's Gong did a version of it in 1979 on the album Downwind. "Persuasion" and "You Just Don't Care" have a bit of a blues feel to it, while "Treat" has a jazzy feel, demonstrating the jazz influence of Carlos Santana was to be found from Day One. "Soul Sacrifice" is an instrumental jam that became the big highlight at Woodstock. The music here has a jam band quality to it, but not the Grateful Dead variety. They threw in some regular songs (like "Evil Ways") so even more mainstream radio stations have something to play.

Of course, this album largely received positive reviews, but I can't understand why in the life of me rock critic Robert Christgau gave it a C-? I realize Latin music was something he never cared for, but this isn't ordinary Latin music. He pretty pretty much dismissed it as "A lot of noise" and stating his "opposition to the methedrine school of American music". He was sure off base on this one. Most of the other fellow rock critics were more kind. I realize I shouldn't pay much attention to the likes of Christgau, but then he's a perfect example of when rock critics get it wrong (and while I'm at it, usually when rock critics get it wrong is when they pan albums or bands that everyone else loves, sometimes it's the other way around, when they praise albums no one likes, such as the Stones' Dirty Work, liked by the rock critics, hated by the fans).

This might not be a prog album, but why should that bother me? Any fans of classic rock needs this album, it's totally essential, and in fact I actually prefer this over Abraxas (which is too very good, but the more polished nature meant it was a bit less exciting).

Progfan97402 | 5/5 |

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