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Carlos Santana - Havana Moon CD (album) cover


Carlos Santana

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Well I must say that I sort of avoided this album because of its suspicious title (little did I know it was named on a Chuck Berry tune) and a no-less suspicious artwork hinting at romantic Latino dance music. But having come to my sense with the introduction of Santana in our beloved Archives, I had to rent this album especially sionce Carlos Santana is on the whole more progressively-inclined than the group bearing his name. However, this album is probably the least prog of his solo azlbum, being more of a blues rock rather than a jazz-)rock. Actually this album is a bit like many 80's blues record with a myriad of guests (Santana returning the favour on many other such albums) but the general results being a pot-pourri of influences making rather uneven and unfocused album.

And Havana Moon is no exception. Don't get me wrong here, there are many excellent Blues tracks on here, but this has too much of of slick sound to sound authentic. Be it the Fab Thunderbirds or Booker T, playing with Carlos on Bo Diddley or Chuck Berry tracks, or having the Tower of Power horns might have some kind of commercial impact, artistically speaking, this does not do much; but at least we only have to suffer through only one track with Willie Nelson singing. Let's just say that Carlos and Country rock do not mix. Qu alegria!!

Not really an essential album, to say the least, but hardly a bad one either. Just an 80's blues album, neither excellent and certainly not bad, but pointless for a proghead, much more so in regards to his otherwise excellent solo career. A way, this album prefigures the famous John Lee Hooker album, The Healer, where Carlos' guitars will revive the grand old master's career.

Report this review (#99754)
Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After disastrous "Shango", Carlos recorded "Havana Moon" as solo album, with many celebrated guests. It is slightly better than "Shango", if nothing then for the sheer change of style, leaning more towards blues and r'n'b. This album is, again, nothing special but it is pleasant to listen, especially the joyful covers of "Who Do You Love" or the title track. Inclusion of a different, live version of "Tales of Kilimanjaro" (originally appeared on "Zebop!" by Santana band in 1981) makes this record gain an affirmative mark, but you won't miss a thing if you avoid it.
Report this review (#104727)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Carlos is one of the artist whom I discovered while I was eleven years old. And I admired him very, very much (just have a look at my ratings for the first four albums of his band: five stars each ).

It was very surprising to find ''Santana'' on a prog site, and I would say that the surprise was about the same when I saw that the work of the man as a ''solo'' artist was also available for review on PA.

I have said extensively in my review of the excellent ''Love Devotion Surrender'' how deep my love was, but unfortunately the music played by Carlos and friends was less and less appealing after this record. From very good (''Love...'') to average (''The Swing of Delight'').

This one is the nadir of his solo career so far. Pure blues rock music with little (to no) inspiration. There is not an inch of prog in here. Just pure boredom for most of the album. I am deeply searching one single good (not even talking about a great one) track in here.

Our guitar hero is quite discreet, and the overall music performed here is quite poor (''Mudbone''). The jazzy ''One With You'' only shines thanks to the work of the master. So far it is the first great guitar time available combined with some Latin rock music (at last)!!!

My fave track out here is ''Tales Of Kilimanjaro''. Fine percussions like in the good old days, short but passionate guitar moments do convey a complete ''Santana'' feel to this track. At least it is also an instrumental piece so that we don't need to bear the dreadful vocals of a Gregg Walker like during the painful ''One With You''.

And it is not the title track which is kind of a sub, sub ''Evil Ways'' oriented that will change my mind. A few seconds of guitar is not enough to reverse the tendency of a whole work. This solo work is on par with his poorest ones with his band: ''Marathon'', ''Shango'' and ''Beyond Appearances'' to which you can add ''Inner Secrets'' and ''Freedom'' which were released at each end of the process.

I really don't like this album. So little good music to take out of here. Some disco-Latin beat during ''Daughter Of The Night'' is not really what one is expecting from the man even if some good percussions are again highlighting the finale. Is this really all what we can get from the great Carlos Santana?

When I listen to the stupid ''They All Went To Mexico'', I can only be desperate and sad. Such a deep, deep low. Believe me. Prog resides to a million miles of this awful song: sorry, there are no other words for this. And it lasts for about six minutes! Gosh!!!

If it weren't so incredibly poor, the closing ''Vereda Tropical'' could have been funny. Some sort of Mexican party on a Sunday afternoon when all the family regroup in the courtyard, get a drink together and sing a folkloric tune (my step family is Mexican so I know what I'm talking about).

One star for this album. What the hell did you do Carlos???

Report this review (#196492)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | Review Permalink

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