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Santana - Marathon CD (album) cover

MARATHON

Santana

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars This album is a turning point in Santana's discography: while it was recorded in 79, it is much more representative of the group's 80's output. Due in no small part to singer Alex Litgerwood's arrival (the man had been part of the later 70's Brian Auger's Oblivion Express), the group will change subreptitiously towards the then-very strong AOR sound of the era (semi-west coast laced in with Journey). Graced with an elegant sleeve depicting ancient greek athletes, the album is a fairly deceiving one for progheads.

It all started rather well with the short instrumental intro title track and the excellent Aqua Marine (the longuest track at 5:35), but unfortunately separated by a typical 80's Lightning In The Sky, which does pale in comparison to the tracks sandwiching it. Unfortunately after a strong start, the album does run out of steam (which is a bit of a shame with such an enduring title) and the better tracks might be All i ever Wanted, the other short instrumental Rinnin. The rest is rather uninteresting and there are two stinkers as well: You Know That I Love You (waddya expect with such a stupid title) and Stand Up.

Not really essential, this album is the first one chronologically I wouldn't recommend unless an unconditional Santana fan. In the 70's, they had put out two or three albums which weren't as strong (Festival for example), but this album is weak. I believe that carlos was probably saving his best tracks for his two solo albums sandwiching this album; the divine Oneness and the brilliant Swing Of Delight. Look elsewhere ;-)

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#97153)
Posted Sunday, November 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars And herein enters Alex Ligertwood on vocals. Excellent voice and a mighty fine album released in 1979. He possesses an AOR feel to his sound but of all the era Santana lead vocals, I would have to say that Alex Ligertwood of Brian Auger fame was and is the best to date. Some may argue Gregg Rolie but that is another debate.

The album kicks off with the awesome title track ' Marathon', followed by the commercial ' Lightning in the Sky' My personal favourite follows and is arguably one of Santana's finest instrumentals - ' Aqua Marine', great laid back tempo encapsulating scenes of torquoise waters and dreamy summers....a masterpiece alone.Side two does not hold up as highly as the first side but there are still great songs like ' All I Ever Wanted', the sultry sounds of ' Summer Lady' and the pleading Alex Ligertwood singing ' Stay ( Beside Me ). Great album with a powerful vocalist. CS as usual ( always taken for granted) is simply pure vintage on the guitar throughout Marathon. The best release since Borboletta.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#104731)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I was sure of one thing when I discovered this album : it could not be weaker that the desastrous "Inner Secrets".

They did quite a mistake with the opener and title track : it is a very good but short track (1'27"). With such a name, they could have develop it a bit more, no ? This will appear to be They did already the same with "Live Is A Lady / Holiday" (their best song on "Inner").

With "Lightning", I am afraid I might revise my initial judgement, but let's hear forward. "Aqua Marine" is a dull jazzy instrumental : quite insipid and repetitive. Let's have a bit of disco now with "You Know ..." and "Stand Up" : not good disco la Chic or Donna Summer. Just poor disco.

As an early Santana fan, I cannot humanely bear this stuff.

"All I Ever Wanted" tries to be a rocky song, but where is the Santana sound ? Poor again. "Runnin" lasts for only 1'38" but it is more than enough. A useless track (one more).

We are heading the end of the album with the same feeling : how is this possible ? It is not the FM / AOR oriented "Love" that could change my mind (nor the funky / soul "Stay"). We'll get even a hard-rock attempt with "Hard Times" : I bet you I got a hard time in listening to this effort all the way through (and I did it several times for the purpose of this review) !

So, actually Santana has done it ! For the second time in a row they produced a very poor album (but the list is not closed, unfortunately). Same advise as for "Inner Secrets" : avoid it like plague. Same rating : one star.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#111635)
Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Santana's "Marathon" has a soft spot in my heart while growing up in rural Canada. My brother had this on LP. I wasn't sure what to think of it at the time, but; I do remember the radio track "All I Ever Wanted" was rather unique with the bongos/timbales compared to what I was hearing on the radio coming out of Detroit at the time (i.e. Bob Seger, Ted Nugent and The Rockets). If you enjoy both the commercial and fusion eras of Santana (comparing early '80s Genesis, Side 'A' being the radio friendly side, Side 'B' being the "progressive" side), this is a great addition to any Santana fan's collection. I may add, this album is worth the price alone for Santana's best instrumental of all time, IMHO - "Aqua Marine". The imagery created in this tune, for me personally...is indescribable. Words like _Sheer beauty_ and _sublime_ come to mind. In conclusion, buying Santana's "Marathon" is on par with buying Camel's "I Can See Your House From Here" for the incredible instrumental "Ice". Few albums can make you fork out $10.00 for one track alone...the aforementioned are the ones. Santana's "Marathon" has a variety of R&B, progressive rock and power rock radio (not unlike Camel's "I.C.S.Y.H.F.H"). I personally give this LP 4**** stars, but; being safe for the discriminating progressive rock listener, I'll give it 3*** stars. Actually, I think any fan of the Alan Parsons Project would thoroughly enjoy Santana - "Marathon" for the production values within.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#122060)
Posted Monday, May 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Very good album, maybe Santana's last good album. Very rocky in its way (there are latino rhythms, of course, but nos as many as for Abraxas or Festival, for example), Marathon contains some good songs, but none classic. I especially love All I Ever Wanted, Aqua Marine, Lightning In The Sky and Hard Times. Not essential, but very good album !

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Send comments to Zardoz (BETA) | Report this review (#163981)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have never been a big fan of Santana even though the old albums colored my childhood with songs like "Guajira", "No One To Depend On", "Oye Comova", or "Black Magic Woman". But for some reason I almost purchased any album that Santana produced even though that albums were not quite famous including this one. Well, I only knew this album couple of days ago when I saw the cassette of "Marathon" at secondary market. I had very little attention to have it but as the cassette was quite cheap I finally purchased it. Recently I'd rather listen to music from analog source even though in the form of cassette. Indonesian cassette market in the seventies until mid eighties were booming where many companies record new albums of international bands recorded from the vinyl, illegally. But the record quality was top notch even until today which already 25 years to 35 years old already. So is the case this "Marathon" album by Santana.

I have just realized now that Santana always produced hits because when I play this cassette I find a song that was very popular in late seventies titled "Stay (Beside Me)". This is a number that was famous that period because practically many radio stations played it on air. It's basically a nice song with good straight forward composition. I admire that Carlos Santana did not let his guitar solo dominate the song, but the keyboard / piano instead. All songs basically very good in terms of composition and they flow nicely. The instrumental "Aqua Marine" is also a good one. In terms of favorite song, I would say "Stand Up" continued to "Running" are maybe good ones as the music is quite energetic combined with tight basslines. "Hard Times" is also another good track.

Overall, this is a good album from Santana and do not expect something prog in any song here. But I always enjoy Carlos Santana guitar work as well as the use of percussion in some of the songs in this album. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#866206)
Posted Sunday, November 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album's pretty good - not great, but not dreadful at all (as some people seem to label it). It's not at all like Santana's early jazz-inspired recordings - Marathon is basically a collection of funky pop songs. There's not a whole heap of Latin influence either - which is quite disappointing, but that's not to say that the songs on this album are bad. Most of them are catchy and would be enjoyable for a fan of early 80s pop, but if you're looking for jazzy Santana with long solos, then avoid this album. One track I found quite annoying in particular is "Love". For me, this is a 2.5/5 album; it's alright. So I guess that's rounded up to three.

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Send comments to zeqexes (BETA) | Report this review (#935247)
Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Review Permalink

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