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Santana - Guitar Heaven CD (album) cover



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1 stars I initially came here to review Caravanserai, but when I saw that this had no ratings I took the golden opportunity to be the first to warn you all of what you probably already knew: this album is terrible. I consider Carlos Santana to be one of the few (maybe one in a group of five or fewer human beings) to possess supernatural musical abilities. There simply is no accounting for the way he plays his guitar. Like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, there's no book you could ever write to teach a person to put into their guitar what Carlos puts into his. This is what helps albums with weak (or no) songwriting like Love, Devotion, Surrender.

Unfortunately, it doesn't help this one. It sounds like Santana playing Guitar Hero with a rogue band of misfits who have no business going near a microphone (except for Joe Cocker, who only gets BETTER with age in diametric opposition to the album's "star" and whose rendition of Little Wing is perhaps the album's only legitimate high point). How it's possible for a genius of Santana's caliber to disgrace AC/DC... well, of course, a song like Black in Black never did and never would call for the Santana treatment. I love Carlos, and I love AC/DC - they are probably the finest band to ever work with a mere three chords, and that's NOT a denigration. But placing their and Santana's musical gifts on any equal footing is pure ridiculousness.

Long story short, stick to the classic period. I don't even see this as being essential to a completionist's collection. The guitar work isn't even halfway there! It's expected that the guest stars will be dismissible, but at least Santana bothered to put some good licks and feeling into some of the Rob Thomas / Michelle Branch duets. Give those a two. Here... here, he sounds like he's opening for Survivor at my county fair. And that IS a denigration, certainly for Santana.

Report this review (#361820)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Is this a Guitar Heaven, is this the right title? Yes, it is! That is my conclusion, both as a huge Carlos Santana fan and a guitar player myself.

The great thing on this album is that Santana has incorporated his very distinctive (but also very versatile) guitar sound in the 14 more or less classic guitar compositions. Of course he is known as a kind of Mr. Sustain but Santana can deliver both intense blues runs as biting wah wah pedal guitarplay. So that's why he took the challenge and succeeded 'cum laude' in my opinion. The 14 tracks sound fresh and dynamic and feature lots of inventive and surprising arrangements. A fine example are the cello and harpsichord during the intro of the blues classic While My Guitar Gently Weeps (George Harrison) and then wonderful tremolo play on the acoustic guitar.

A strong element on this CD is the wide range of male and female singers, all colouring the music in their own special way. Like Rob Thomas (known from the worldwide hit Smooth with Santana) in Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream). Or rapper Nas in Back In Black (AC/DC) and the 'living legend' Joe Cocker in Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix).

My favorite moments are the exciting version of Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin), the beautiful interplay between a psychedelic sounding organ and fiery guitar in Riders On The Storm (The Doors) and awesome Hammond organ and wah wah pedal guitarwork in the catchy Smoke On The Water (Deep Purple). My 'DeLuxe Edition' contains two bonustracks and an interesting DVD featuring The Making Of Guitar Heaven and an interview with Carlos Santana. Another nice bonus is the inclusion of a hologram picture of the front cover.

This is a terrific album, check out Santana and guitar freaks and take a trip to Guitar Heaven!

Report this review (#1871836)
Posted Sunday, February 4, 2018 | Review Permalink

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