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Santana - Amigos CD (album) cover

AMIGOS

Santana

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.26 | 147 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Carlos Santana, being much more a jazz fan than a jazz player, was bound to drop his jazz rock/fusion elements sooner or later. And in Amigos that happened. It seemed that he would go back to what he does best: a mix of latin music, rock and blues. But that was not to be. Granted, some of his best features are back: the percussion is upfront again, the instrumentals are simpler and rockier, and his guitar is more prominent than in his two previous albums. But most of the vocal tracks show his new found love (or commercial eye) for funk, soul and gospel. Interesting enough, some jazz masters did fell in love with the same style a few years before (like Herbie Hancock in his Headhunters period). The results here, however, are quite uneven.

The record starts well with the latin beat of Dance Sister Dance (Baila Mi Hermana), a nice track, a bit repetitive at the beginning, but saved by the guitar solo on the fast second part. The frenetic beginning of Take Me With You reminds us of the good old times, with Tom Coster delivering a swirling Hammond organ solo that makes justice to the departed Gregg Rolie. The calmer second part is still good, but nothing special. Trouble starts with the fast funky Let Me: this track has nothing to do with Santana and the same can be said of Tell Me Are You Tired and the gospel/soul/funk ballad Let It shine ( the only single released from Amigos and a minor hit for the band). All three feature the same clavinet sound and black girl backing vocals. In fact, they could be easily be mistaken as several funk acts of the period, like Jimmy Castor or Sly and Family Stone . Not really bad, but clearly out of place here.

The redemption part of the record is the classic Europa: one of Santanaīs best instrumental tracks ever, it was not released as a single in USA but became a hit in several european countries at the time, and it would deservedly stay on the bandīs repertoire to this day. There we can find all the magic we are to expect from such a great, talented bunch: simplicity, feeling and soul all put together with a tasteful performance of all involved. A real masterpiece. Gitano is interesting spanish/mexican mix: nice, but nothing special. The typical latin party track you hope to pop up in any Santana album.

So, in the end Amigo is an album that is quite uneven: even if the funky numbers are not exactly bad per se, they do spoil the overall flow of the tracks and makes you think there are two bands, with two very different styles, playing on the same record. Like oil and water. They donīt mix.

Rating: 4 stars for the instrumental tracks, 3 stars for Gitano and Dance Sister Dance, 2 stars at most for the funky tunes. 3 stars is a fair rating for this mixed bag . Barely.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |

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