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Santana - Shangó CD (album) cover



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Sean Trane
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.

Report this review (#96312)
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This is it - the worst Santana album I ever heard! Absolutely nothing on this lousy record can attract attention of a prog music fan. This is full-fledged pop AOR in the vein of Toto, Foreigner, Bon Jovi and the likes and even the appearance of original organist Greg Rollie did not help. I mistakenly bought this LP upon its release and succeeded to actually spin it on my turntable only once or twice. I was lucky though to have sold it on the second hand music market. What a relief it was...
Report this review (#97180)
Posted Sunday, November 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I like Shango a lot, not as good as Zebop but a worthy follow on nevertheless. The lineup is much the same as it's predecessor and it also has Gregg Rolie joining for some organ playing. The great voice of Alex Ligertwood is still there and the ubiquitous Carlos Santana strutting his stuff.' The Nile ' is a great opener to Shango and the instrumental ' Warrior' is equally as good. Side 2 of Shango for me is the better half though and the Hawaiian like ' Body Surfing' is just great foot tapping, tequila slugging stuff as is the rocking " Let Me Inside' up your heart!!'.When I see what some bands were beginning to produce in the 80's I cringe but Santana up to 1982 anyways were definitely not one of these. A good album and a solid three stars.
Report this review (#104815)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Santana opened the eighties with the good "Zebop" album. After having released two very poor albums it was a kind of relief for me and I just had hoped that they would go on like this. Unfortunately, it is not the case. This album brings us back to the poor soul / disco / funky stuff as in "Inner Secrets " and "Marathon".

Very few good songs here. Uninspired almost all the way long. We also get some AOR with "Nowhere To Run". What a pity !

"Nueva York" featuring Rollie on the keyboard is the first good song so far (and we are almost in the mid of it). Great percussions, good guitar and heavy keys like Gregg can play. This track brings us back to their earliest days (Santana I in 1969). It is like seing a ghost ! What a nice and strange moment. Gregg, you should never have left ! Shame on you to have done this to me (I'm just kidding, of course but still...).

The afro-cuban rythms for "Oxun" are not too bad, but the vocals are very weak. The "tribal" choir is also very dispensible. Some good percussions as well in "Body Surfing", but this almost reggae song won't be remembered for long...

The poppy "What Does It Take" almost sounds like Supertramp. With good guitar breaks, this song is above the average of this album (which is rather low, I admit).

Another bit of reggae with "Let Me Inside". It is quite remakable that Santana investigated into this direction so long after the heights of the genre (1975 through 1980 or so).

"Warrior" is also too much AOR oriented to be interesting. The tribal "Shango" closes the album very poorly. One star for this very weak work.

Report this review (#111695)
Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The impression might be a thin album in the work of Santana a little more for this album. The atmosphere of POP and AOR might be united well as for the tune being collected by another though existing as a single hit for Santana whose "Hold On" collected to this album is the 80 year is famous.

It might be a flow from "Caravanserai" to "Welcome" that is known generally as a work of initial Santana. And, the masterpiece that is called "Moon Flower" is announced to middle term. And, the music at which Santana in the 80's had aimed might have changed gradually in the age, too. However, it might be consistent the music of Santana by the event that occurs to the end because of the flow of the member and the work as the blood of the him who flows incessantly and music.

The replacement of the member who had been done in the past works on the recording without being done in the same line as "ZEBOP" of the former work in this album. Orestes Vilato and Richard Baker that participates in album in the former work. Or, the song etc. of Alexander Ligertwood might be also indeed good at the band each other. The oneness and ensemble of the band are suitable as the result.

The rhythm of the shuffle of "Nowhere To Run" will have a reformative element as music of Santana at this time. The element of original Santana merges indeed well in "Nueva York". Gregg Rolie participates as an organist in this tune. "Caravanserai" The interest of the fact that man who had come off Santana Band from now on performed again in this album might be deep.

The listener might be surprised also by the anacatesthesia of "Body Surfing" and the element of POP. However, this tune might have been a natural act for Santana. The work such as famous work about Eagles Bill Szymczyk and Styx might be the points to have to make a special mention of the appointment of the talent such as famous Jon Ryan. The album might execute the element of POP that also to the element of the music of original Santana and reflects the times and the refined music well.

Report this review (#237027)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars In his autobiography Carlos Santana claims that the band produced the albums themselves (or, more to the point, himself). That may explains why their 80´s output was far better than most of their 70´s colleagues. It seems they never really gave the producer of the moment a full power over how the ending results would turn out, something a lot of other bands, to their forever regret, did. So, while the name of Bill Szymczyk may be on the cover but you won´t find another Eagles or Styx pastiche here. Sure, Shangó has its share of pop stuff, but Santana always had these melodic traits all along. But they, again, prove they could survive the 80´s without having to "modern up" their music (I.e, those cheesy synths and electronic drums)

After the great success that was Zebop, Shangó follows much of the same pattern (this time with a better cover art). The Nile is fine opener on which the band shows the same trademark Santana sound: great guitar lines, fine vintage keys and fine latin percussion. The hit single Hold On follows and it´s a nice pop song that kept them alive in the charts. Night Hunting Time is maybe the weakest track of the entire CD and it telling performed poorly when released as their third single from Shangó. Having had a big hit with Russ Ballard´s Winning the previous year they released another of his compositions, Nowhere To Run: the band proves they could emulate the AOR style of the moment like the real thing, not a pastiche. It did not fared as well at the charts as Winning, but it was a good melodic rock track. Nueva York on the other side is pure 70´s Santana, where old chum Gregg Rolie made a guest appearance with a blistering organ solo. A real fine instrumental that could be on Abraxas.

Side two fo the vinyl started with the afro/caribbean Oxun. Although a good song in several ways it did never appeal to me. Just a matter of taste. It is interesting that Santana did this track before world music became a common place in the rock music field by the mid to late 80´s. Body Surfing takes them into the Journey mood again, with Alex Lingwood doing the best Steve Perry emulation ever. It would be perfect for that band: with Santana it is a nice tune, but nothing special. Their version of What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) has a surprisingly good arrangement, with Carlos Santana doing a different riff and solo, but working marvelously. The reggae Let Me in is interesting that it is really the first time this band tried a take on that kind of rhythm that was a kind of fever during the late 70´s/early 80´s. The result is as competent as one can expect. Warrior is the second instrumental of this album, unfortunately not near as good as Nueva York. In fact is quite mundane and it is saved only by the fiery guitar lines of Carlos Santana e the good percussion. The very short title track clocks in a little more than one minute mark and is a reminder that Santana did not forget its latin roots.

Conclusion: another Santana album that stood well the test of time. Not as good as Zebop, but a good follow up and certainly one of the best early 80´s record done by a 70´s act. 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#1784773)
Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | Review Permalink

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