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Santana

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Santana Welcome album cover
3.46 | 110 ratings | 12 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Going Home (4:10)
2. Love Devotion and Surrender (3:36)
3. Samba De Sausalito (3:10)
4. When I Look Into Your Eyes (5:50)
5. Yours is the Light (5:45)
6. Mother Africa (5:54)
7. Light of Life (3:48)
8. Flame-Sky (11:32)
9. Welcome (6:30)

Bonus track on Columbia/Legacy remaster (2003):
10. Mantra (6:00)

Lyrics

Search SANTANA Welcome lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search SANTANA Welcome tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Leon Thomas / vocals
- James Mingo Lewis / Congas
- Jose 'Chepito' Areas / Timbales, congas, percussion
- Carlos Santana / guitars, vocals
- Tom Coster / Keyboards
- Richard Kermode / keyboards
- Michael Shrieve / Drums
- Doug Rauch / Bass

Guests
- John McLaughlin / vocals
- Fiona Purim / vocals
- Wendy Haas / vocals

Releases information

LP Columbia PC 32445 (Jan, 1973)
25AP 819; SRCS 6319 (CD only) (Japanese)
CD Columbia /Legacy 85944 (2003 remaster)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
Edit this entry

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SANTANA Welcome ratings distribution


3.46
(110 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
15%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (36%)
36%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

SANTANA Welcome reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars After the incredibly succesful Caranserai and heavenly collab with fellow Sri Chimnoy adept John McLaughlin, Carlos Devadip saw his group starting to fizzle out: Greg Rommie and Neil Schon had left (they will later found Journey as a jazz-rock group that will veer towards the execrable AOR group during the 80's) and Carlos went towards jazz singer Leon Thomas (Basie and Pharoah Sanders vocalist) and a duo of keyboardist Kermode and the long-lasting Tom Coster.

While the album tries to duplicate somewhat what Caravanserai had achieved, it eventuially fails to do so, on the count of a number of reasons. The first being that the album is much more sung than its predecessor and that Thomas' voice is just not as convincing as Rollie's was. The second is that the duo of keyboards fails to match the power that Rollie had with his organ, this notably is Kermode as Coster was already playing electric piano on the previous Caravan. While Schon's guitars are less noticably absent, it does have an impact on the overall power of the album too.

While the opening Going Home is an impressive instrumental, it is not that succesful due to a wrong choice of synth, cheapening the overall ambiance. Leon Thomas' voice (coupled with XXX in a duet) is doing nothing to restore the weak Surrender track or the downright half-mediocre When I Look Into Your Eyes, with its unexpected second funky part that compensate a bit. Ditto with the relatively bland Yours Is The Light, where Fiona sings on a latino (salsa if I am not mistaken) beat and a tacky whistle comes in. Simply very kitschy-tacky. The only track to actually equal Caranvanserai on the first side is the instrumental Samba De Sausalito (a San Fran hippie suburb), which does bring some of the magic back.

The second side does start a bit more interestingly with the Mother Africa, with an inhabitual Santana feeling, but it is again ruined by a very controversial Kermode synth, and the following Light Of Your Life is an atrociously sickeningly sweet bonbon, proof that happiness is not everything: I envy bluesman and their perpetual spleen when I hear how corny happy people can sound; The album is however saved by the tremendous Flame Sky (everything indicates this was a leftover from Caravanserai including its title and the predecessor's artwork): this 11-min+ corker is a real gem that seems so out of place on this album, even if by the energy level not present elsewhere on this album. The closer is also a worthy track and announces Carlos' next solo venture with Coltrane's wife Alice. Welcome is one of those reflective John Coltrane written when the great jazzman was at peace with himself. Coster makes a credible McCoy Tyner impression. While the track is slightly too sweet, it does represent well the spiorit of the album. The remastered version of this album is coming with a lengthy bonus track, the excellent, dreamy but rather out-of-place 6-min Mantra.

While I was never a big fan of sung jazz, I am generally even less a fan of sung jazz- rock, and this album is one of the prime example of what not to do. And yes, I am rather harsh with this album, but it is strongly flawed, although clearly not everyone will agree with me. Not quite an essential Santana and edefintely the low point of his 72-75 era.

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Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Welcome" was a true surprise for me. I purchased all their four previous records (almost) at the time of release and skipped this one for a reason that I still ignore. Two of the greatest member of the band (Rolies-a founder; and Schon- a superb guitar player) are unfortunately gone and will pursue their musical adventure with Journey.

Carlos already mentioned the following in the liner notes of the rematered edition of their third album : "We were beginning to disintegrate in terms of differences in taste. It's like anything. What used to be honey becomes vinagar. We started to drift apart, because Gregg and Neal Schon already had eyes to do the Journey thing. I think they'd had enough of rhytms or Latin or African, and they wanted to do more of their kind of rock'n'roll".

Mc Laughlin is present as a guest, and one can definitely feel his jazzy influence on the work. So, what was going to happen ?

The opener "Going Home" is a great, emotional instrumental number. It starts a bit like "Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation" the Caranvanserai opener (I was already afraid...) but turns out in a sublime work : loads of guitar and percussion. Great song. "Love, Devotion & Surrender" is a short track (hopefully) : it is too much soul influenced to my ears. Vocals are not really impressive (to say the least). An average song.

"Samba De Sausalito" is an instrumental piece with good percussion work but rather repetitive. No real melody : it sounds more like a jam numeber to my ears.

"When I Look Into Your Eyes" : on the contrary is another good track : nice melody, at times jazzy, and full of rythm changes. One of the best track of the album. Vocals are even great at times (excellent backing vocals...). The funky instrumental finale is not bad at all (and believe me, I'm not really in the funky stuff, so...).

"Yours Is The Light" is more a traditional Santana song : guitar is dominent and fabulous; the bossa nova influence adds quite a bit to this song and makes this one another highlight of the album. The jazzy-rock mood is present as well, but well contained.

"Mother Africa" is the most "Santana" song of the album : congas, percussions, great drumming (as usual from Mike), and good guitar bits in the first part; second part starts with a pure jazz improv (lots of trumpets) and could have neen cut. Just average. "Light Of Life" starts like an ELO song, and ends up in a soul, uninspired tune. A blunder.

"Flame Sky" is the third variation of "Samba 'Pa Ti" (at least during the first three minutes and the closing notes). Its flavour is truely emotional of course. This long number (probably the longest studio one from Santana) is fantastic. Completely in the "Caranvanserai" mood. This track raises the quality of album, that's for sure. The guitar leaves the scene to the band and specially the keys around its first third. But the last five minutes are a golden moment for each guitar lover (to which I belong). A great number. The title track closes the album very well. Very similar to the opening one. It is another one of my favorite tune of "Welcome". Again, lots of emotion comes out of Carlos's guitar.

This album is a real turnpoint in their carreer : a new line-up, as well as a new musical orientation (jazz-rock which was only sketched out so far will be more explored). This album is almost pure instrumental (only a few songs with vocals, which is good actually). I was quite anxious after Neil and (even more of course) Gregg's departures, but we can breathe deeply : this Santana album is a good one. Not a masterpiece (their won't be such ones any longer IMO). Still, four stars.

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Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Since their electrifying debut Santana had improved and matured with every album, culminating in the timeless progressive masterpiece that is "Caravanserai" in 1972. Unfortunately, that was to be the last recording from the classic lineup as Greg Rolie and Neal Schon split to start their own "Journey" and conga man James Mingo Lewis had gone to wherever disgruntled percussionists go. Not only that but they abandoned their custom of striking, artistic album covers and wrapped this LP in a blank one that had "Welcome" in raised letters as its sole feature. This is Santana's "White Album" and it regrettably but aptly symbolizes the lack of color in the music contained inside.

"Going Home," arranged by Alice Coltrane and "The New Santana Band," is the opener where we are immediately introduced to Rolie's keyboard replacements. Richard Kermode plays Hammond organ and Mellotron and Tom Coster plays an oboe-like melody on the Yamaha organ. It's intended as an instrumental introduction but the crashing drums and percussion along with malleted cymbals lead to. nothing much. "Love, Devotion and Surrender" should be the payoff to but it fails to deliver anything revelatory except for Carlos' singing on the first verse. Yes, it has a nice rhythm but there's no solo to speak of and Wendy Haas' and Leon Thomas' vocals are pedestrian at best. You'd expect something hot and spicy from percussionist Jose Chepito Areas yet his instrumental, "Samba De Sausalito," is sorely lacking in the group's customary dynamics and only serves as a jam for Coster to fill a long break with electric piano. Drummer Michael Shrieve and Coster contribute "When I Look Into Your Eyes" but it, too, is a letdown. Its MOR flavor is so far from being exciting that it may as well be elevator muzak. There's at least some decent flute from Joe Ferrell and when they elevate things to a funky feel halfway through you sense something explosive might be coming but it just fades away. By now it hits you that there's something very essential missing so far: Carlos Santana's guitar! Did his guru tell him he was playing too much? Did a lotus-eating cult kidnap him? Your inquiry is answered with Kermode's "Yours is the Light" as Carlos makes an appearance at last with a much needed ride early in the tune. However the song is a continuation of their lethargic cocktail lounge approach and the vocal by guest Flora Purim is so buried in reverb that it comes off more like a 60s Sergio Mendez easy listening soft jazz piece than something from the mighty Santana. Moving on, "Mother Africa" (a variation on a theme by Herbie Mann) is a relief because it lends hope that they may yet have a pulse. Its lilting melody transitions to some good percussion work from Armando Peraza and Areas while Jules Broussard contributes some fluid soprano sax. Next you are greeted by a lovely string arrangement at the start of "Light of Life," but it's another disappointment. I swear it sounds as if the band was afraid of waking the neighbors. It makes you yearn for Greg Rolie's gruff but distinctive vocals because Leon Thomas is boring and pitchy. If there's a redeeming track to be found it's "Flame-Sky" that sounds like a leftover cut from Carlos and John McLaughlin's impressive project together ("Love, Devotion & Surrender"). It builds over an unorthodox time signature and Mr. Santana and Mr. Mahavishnu turn in some inspired guitar solos along with some slashing Hammond organ. It's a bit long at 11:32 but vastly preferable to the sleep-inducing drivel that preceded it. The closer is their take on John Coltrane's "Welcome" that draws Carlos out into the spotlight to offer up a lot of controlled feedback notes but very few flourishes. If you dig music with pianos cascading endlessly as if portraying an amateur painting of a serene waterfall and shimmering spray then this is your ticket. If that's not your idea of great Santana music then it's six and a half minutes of pointless, meandering swirls.

This album is a prime example of digressive rock music. The caliber of the guest musicians cannot be called into question but Lawrence Welk's orchestra had high-quality members as well and yet I doubt that you'd want to sit through one of their albums. And I'm not alone in my assessment. "Caravanserai," despite its bold and challenging foray into jazz rock/fusion, went platinum while "Welcome" sold dismally and barely reached gold status. Nothing lasts forever and the core of personnel that made Santana the industry juggernaut that consistently scaled the charts had scattered to the winds. From here on out Carlos would juggle the roster with every new album with mixed results. However, this particular project is the nadir. It's like someone saying, "Welcome, we'll be right with you" and you take a seat in the waiting room but no one ever comes back to take you anywhere. 1.8 stars.

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Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Starts off by going home, and ends with a welcome

From the opening bars of the first track, "going home", you could be forgiven for thinking you had mistakenly put a Genesis record on in place of Santana. The lush mellotron surge which leads to a relaxed Yamaha organ solo is not the type of music we generally associate with this band.

It is only when "Love devotion and surrender" segues in that we realise that this is indeed Santana, the dominant rhythms of the ethnic percussion being far more familiar. Even here though, the vocals of Wendy Haas and Leon Thomas offer further diversity. Thomas pops up throughout the album, his soul/funk/jazz tinged voice contrasting well with Santana's own. The songs he leads on have more in common with the albums released more recently by Santana such as "Supernatural" and "Shaman", where the guest performers are allowed to assert their own characters on the songs.

There are of course the more traditional Latin based instrumentals, such as "Samba De Sausalito", "Yours is the light", and "Mother Africa" which allow Carlos to demonstrate his guitar prowess. For me however, it the diversity of the album which gives it its appeal.

The second side of the album has four slightly longer tracks. The orchestrated intro to "Light of life" sounds like the beginning of an epic film, before an ultra smooth lounge song takes over. At over 11 minutes, "Flame - sky" is by far the longest on the album, and one of the longest studio tracks by the band. It is effectively an elongated jam, allowing Carlos to really get going on guitar. Personally, while I enjoy the piece, I find it is to the benefit of the album that this is the only such track. The title track, which closes the album, is a sort of modified reprise of "Going home" which opened the album. Is it just me, or are those two titles at the wrong ends of the album?

From a prog perspective, this is probably the first indication that the band were moving away from such music into a more mainstream and accessible environment. That is not though reason for criticism, since the quality of both the compositions and the performances here are naturally of a high standard.

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Review by Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Santana made such a fine progressive album with Caravanserai, Welcome may have been a bit of a disappointment with his prog oriented fans. But maybe a return to form for his pop fans. The LP got a decent amount of play around the house when I was in my teens. My older brother and mother were big Santana fans at the time. My sister has subsequently become one. My wife is a fan of the really early stuff and the latter stuff. One big Santanarama family. I didn't really latch on to it in the LP era when I first caught ear of it. I've come to appreciate it more now that I've picked up the remastered CD.

The opening track, Going Home, is really promising. Has a nice symphonic sound to it. It's followed a more pop track (with vocals, of course), Love, Devotion, and Surrender. The album starts a pattern of alternating between commercially appealing vocal tracks and really good instrumentals. The album really delivers at the end. Flame-Sky with John McLaughlin piece stands out in particular. A nice jam, and if you like that you need to check out Love, Devotion, and Surrender, the Santana/McLaughlin duo album released in the same year.

With the remaster, you also get a bonus track, Mantra. Another really good instrumental piece.

All in all, a really joyous album, with no dark moments. Well, maybe the lovey dovey songs a bit in a perverse kind of way. Still an interesting progression from the first three albums, yet as always, distinctively, Santana.

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Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album still depends on Santana earliest ( and for sure the best) group of works. Whenever the line-up is radically changed ( rock-part of Santana band - Greg Rolie and Neal Schon left to form future AOR star Journey),and new band is formed much more from fusion and world/latin music musicians. So, it isn't strange, that the music is lighter,but it's pity- the music often is more commercial.

You still have plenty of shining Latin rhythms an fusion melodies, still Santana's guitar is pleasant and female and male vocals are something in RTF category. But near strong pieces, there are enough of faceless songs, and common impression of album is mixed.

I think after Caravanserai and with new band's line-up it wasn't easy to find new direction. Band just took world-pop-jazzy way.This album is the lower point between Santana's golden era albums ( from debut till "Borboletta"). But in comparence with lot of later albums, still strong work!

Allover 3,5

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Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Welcome" is the 5th full-length studio album by US Jazz rock/fusion act Santana. The album was released through Columbia Records in November 1973.

There have been a couple of major changes in the lineup since the last album "Caravanserai (1972)". Lead vocalist/organist Gregg Rolie had a fallout with guitarist Carlos Santana and left halfway through the sessions for "Caravanserai (1972) ". He would later team up with guitarist Neal Schon, who had also left Santana, to form the commercially successful Journey. The loss of especially the former is very evident on "Welcome". Instead of the very prominant organ which graced the first four albums by Santana there are now two new keyboard players in the band. Both have a very different sound compared to Gregg Rolie. The recording of the album was sandwiched in between two world tours and does suffer a bit as a result of this.

Itīs of course almost impossible to top an album like the fantastic "Caravanserai (1972)" and "Welcome" doesnīt quite reich the heights of that album but fortunately it doesnīt try to sound like that album either. Personally I wouldnīt have minded if "Welcome" sounded closer to "Caravanserai (1972)" than it does, but on the other hand itīs admirable that the band werenīt content with releasing the same album twice. The tracks on "Welcome" are generally soft jazz rock/fusion tracks. A few have vocals but most are instrumental. The vocals are soul music type vocals. Thereīs also a funky touch to some tracks and of course the trademark ethnic latin elements (loads of percussion) are as present as ever on this album too. There are some high quality songs on the album like "Samba De Sausalito" and especially "Flame-Sky". The latter blows away all competition and is by far the best track on "Welcome". There are some intense guitar soloing on that track that are greatly enjoyable. There are some more average tracks on the album too though. Those include vocal tracks like "Love Devotion and Surrender" and "When I Look Into Your Eyes". Now I wouldnīt call those tracks bad but they are not exactly exciting either. My major issue wityh the album is that itīs overall not very consistent. Some might say varied instead of inconsistent but thatīs my take on it.

The production is professional, warm and pleasant, which of course isnīt unusual for Santana albums from those days. Overall "Welcome" is an enjoyable release by Santana that might be slightly too diverse for itīs own good and therefore suffers a bit in the consistency and flow department, but ultimately still comes off as a quality product. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Welcome Leon Thomas, so long Gregg Rolie!

With the departure of Gregg Rolie, lead vocalist and organ player since the inception of the band, I wouldn't have thought that Santana would still be able to produce quality music, especially after the masterpiece that was Caravanserai. I was so wrong, Santana released four more worthy albums, though none as superb as previous efforts with Rolie on board, they are still highly enjoyable.

After Rolie's departure, Santana would be looking for new members for each new album. On Welcome there's present Leon Thomas on lead vocals, the singer of Pharoah Sanders' love and peace jazz "epic", 'The Creator has a Masterplan', highly recommended if you're fond of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Leon Thomas is one really capable singer able to yodel in an impressive way, though in Welcome he simply delivers down-to- earth, soulful vocals that suit Carlos' peaceful state of mind of that time. There's also famous Brazilian singer Flora Purim on backing vocals, also adding to the overall peaceful mood.

Welcome is similar to Amigos, released three years later, in the way that both are less adventurous and keeps things simpler, though still catchy and original as in their first two albums. Welcome, however, is a more peaceful record, maybe due of being the successor of Caravanserai, a moderately quieter and meditative album. Though, another difference is that this time Tom Coster doesn't play much of his organ, trying to retain Gregg's characteristical organ.

The jazzy touch of its antecessor is also heard here, especially on 'Samba de Sausalito' with nice electric keys, while in 'Love, Devotion & Surrender', 'When I Look Into Your Eyes' and 'Light of Life' you've got the more straightforward latin- inspired style, featuring vocals. However, the one problem this album has is that nothing seems to be really great, though there's the 11 minute instrumental 'Flame Sky' where Carlos sets his guitar free, it's rather similar and not as great as the solo guitar parts from Caravanserai which were sublime, though still worthwhile.

It's true that Santana would never reach to the magnitudes of Abraxas or Caravanserai again, but if you're a fan, you really can't miss Welcome nor Borboletta nor Amigos, and much less the excellent Moonflower, the best album post-Rolie in my opinion. Recommended to Santana fans and fans of generally good peaceful music with great guitar soloing and with lots of percussion.

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Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Though Santana's fusion albums would eventually suffer from diminishing returns, Welcome stays fresh mainly through Santana apparently deliberately picking up the musical ideas Chick Corea had discarded during the Return to Forever lineup change. Whilst Chick had tired of combining Latin musical concepts with fusion and had gone for a more direct jazz-rock endeavour from Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy onwards, Santana seems to have found the first two Return to Forever albums sufficiently inspiring to inform his own compositional approach. A guest spot on vocals by Flora Purim, who performed on both those albums, only makes the comparison seem more apt. Obviously, there's more emphasis on electric guitar and less on electric piano this time around, but otherwise this is an interesting album - a bit atypical for Santana, but a joy for fans of early RtF.

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Latest members reviews

4 stars Welcome again I don't agree with other reviewers' rating of this superb record by Santana. We may not be in front of a piece the quality of Santana III or the mythical Caranvaserai, which, by the way, I tend to find more and more mythical, regarding its previous efforts and more to par with the f ... (read more)

Report this review (#1283839) | Posted by ibnacio | Thursday, September 25, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I like this album a lot, especially for Yours Is The Light, Samba De Sausalito, Flame-Sky and Going Home. With its white sleeve, Welcome is one of the most acclamed and well-sold of the Santana releases, and is directly in the 'mystical' period of this great guitar player/band leader. With the ... (read more)

Report this review (#163984) | Posted by Zardoz | Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an essential Santana Recording. Even though some original musicians had left like Gregg Rollins and Neal Schon to form Journey his music just step up. The voice of Thomas just expanse Santana style with other Afro-America culture. With Chepito Areas, Tom Coster and Michael Shrieve on D ... (read more)

Report this review (#110077) | Posted by almc2242 | Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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