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Santana - Shangó CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.47 | 86 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Well if the great prog groups of the 70's were now dwindling into their former selves, the least we can say is that the early 80's were much kinder to Santana than to Tull, Genesis etc... Don't get me wrong, this album does not come to the hip level of Caravanserai, but it fares much better than most 80's album present in the ProgArchives database. The group was still holding its own with many long-standing nusicians still in the fold (Margen, Lear, Rekow, Peraza) and Litgerwood (ex-Brian Auger's Oblivion Express) had now been accepted in replacement of Greg Walker and the even earlier Greg Rollie (who actually guests on one great track on organ). While Litgerwood's voice clearly gives Santana an AOR ring, the group still rocks hard. Yes, you will hear that the group was making efforts to get airplay and sometimes manages to sound like Journey or many other US groups groping to keep their places in the Arena-circuit, as the new wave groups where now giving the older generations a run for their money.

Given the circumstances and the course of events, Shango manages to remain a pretty decent album, not trying to bend to new technologies (especially not giving in the drums/percussions department) or in terms of songwriting, even if Carlos' sound is definitely less recognizable as a few years back, his playing on this album rocks your pants off. Sure, there are some rather average tracks that can be easily categorized in the Journey/REO S mould (such as the Hold On or Night Hunting Time), but there are some rather enthralling tracks also, such as the opening The Nile, the fantastic Nueva York, (where Rollie shines as he was about or had left Journey around the time); the exciting Warrior (both instrumentals) or Nowhere To Run and the exciting Oxun. Others such Let Me Inside, Body Burning canbe lukewarm if you are not in a receptive mood, but if you are, they can be also rewarding. Closing the album is Santana returning to an ethnic tracks which they have gotten us used to.

Blessed with an interesting artwork (as opposed to the previous awful Zebop) named after an African King dealing with Voodo, this album is still worth the occasional spin, and I was quite happy to do so four or five times before writing thios review. It brought me back to some years where Santana was one of the few things still positive in music of the awful 80's. This album beats anything Genesis, ELP, Tull, Queen or many groups put out in that decades. As it does not have those irritating "hits" of Zebop, this album is a much better an intro to the 80's Santana.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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