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Santana Moonflower album cover
3.82 | 131 ratings | 10 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Live, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1
1. Dawn / Go Within (2:44)
2. Carnaval (2:18)
3. Let the Children Play (2:38)
4. Jugando (2:10)
5. I'll Be Waiting (5:17)
6. Zulu (3:22)
7. Bahia (1:37)
8. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen (6:33)
9. Dance, Sister, Dance (Baila Mi Hermana) (7:45)
10. Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile) (6:07)

Disc 2
11. She's Not There (4:08)
12. Flor D'Luna (Moonflower) (4:59)
13. Soul Sacrifice / Head Hands and Feet (drum solo) (14:00)
14. El Morocco (5:02)
15. Transcendance (5:14)
16. Savor/ Toussaint L'Overture (12:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Carlos Santana / guitars, vocals
- Tom Coster / Keyboards
- Greg Walker / Vocals
- David Margen / Bass
- Paul Rekow / Congas, Bongos
- Graham Lear / Drums
- Pete Escovedo / congas

Releases information

LP NULL C2 34914 (Jan, 1977)
CD NULL CK 34914
CD NULL 40AP 787-8 (Japanese)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to BaldJean for the last updates
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Buy SANTANA Moonflower Music

SANTANA Moonflower ratings distribution

(131 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SANTANA Moonflower reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars As the triple album Lotus was not released world wide (it was a Japan-only release at first) Columbia took the decision to release another live album, this time a double, but Moonflower turned outtgo be a bit of a mixed product between live tracks and yet unreleased studio tracks. One of the most striking cover ever graces the album in full stride with some of the most delightful music ever. Don't get me wrong the overall level of the album is not that high, but there are some moments of pure bliss on this album.

This strange mix of live and studio tracks is rather unsettling (I would've preferred a separate disc of live and studio tracks or even a three-to-one side affair), but ultimately I find the studio tracks more interesting. Blessed with the exhilaratingly happy She's Not There, the luscious and fusional El Morrocco, the great Zulu/Bahia suite, the opening Dawn/Go Within, Had the group pulled of one or two more tracks of this calibre and released a single album, thismight've been one of their very best.

The live tracks are a good mix of newer albums (Amigos) and older stuff (the first three albums) getting a fair share of exposure (often in an extended version including solos and jams), but the best albums (Caravanserai, Borboletta and Illuminations) are not featured here. Still a bit dismaying are some of the tracks being notably faster than the studio originals.

While not really essential, it is rather hard to pass opver this album, especially when comparing it with the triple Lotus: I think the studio tracks guive this one an edge on the other.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Moonflower" was a big commercial success for SANTANA upon its release 1977, but it was also probably the last great "classic" SANTANA album that deserves attention. It is a mixed work, containing both live and studio recordings. Apart from several really unbearable sweet pop moments ("I'll Be Waiting", "Transcendance"), where Greg Walker sounds ridiculously like Billy Ocean, the rest is very good standard SANTANA delivery. Jazz rock moments are most present in "Zulu", "Bahia" and "El Morocco", while the live block of popular hits "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen/Dance Sister Dance/Europa" is the highlight of the album. New studio tracks "She's Not There" (an excellent cover of The Zombies) and "Flor D'Luna" became instant hits and remained standard in the band's repertoire. Cover image is beautiful and goes along with the music. Keyboardist Tom Coster provided several excellent compositions, including the title track. After this album SANTANA started sinking into the odious 1980s pop sound. Good and worthy double album deserving 3,5 stars.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Moonflower was a very overrated album release. It is more a compilation album as opposed to being a studio affair although some people may beg to differ due to the inclusion of some previously unreleased material in USA/Europe. The album sold very very well and is a bit of a turn around for CS in record sales, as whilst he dabbled in beauties like Caravanserai and Borboletta nothing else really matched those releases afterwards and a more commercial sound was evolving. They were still to find their best vocalist though! ' Black Magic Woman' was a timely reminder of their earlier commercial success from Abraxas. ' She's not there' and 'Flor D Luna' other great tracks. The material is all good and at times excellent but this mix match release was good at best.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars It is very strange than their record company decided to include some studio tracks in what was supposed to be a live album.

I do not really understand why they did so. At this moment of their career, Santana got plenty of material to be able to deliver a solid double live album. Anyway. What is also annoying is that studio and live tracks are mixed all together. I think is should have been wiser to separate the studio ones (like Yes did with "Keys To Ascension" for instance: three sides live and a studio one).

Most of the live tracks are played in the accelerated mode (specially "Black Magic Woman" and "Dance Sister Dance"). This gives of course lots of rythm but at times it is too much. Same applies to "Toussaint" and the trilogy "Carnaval-Let The Children Play-Jugando".

Some of the studio tracks are very good. The cover of "She's Not There" for instance. This track will be featured even in some compilation works. "I'll Be Waiting" has very poor vocals and is the weakest track. "Zulu" and "Bahía" are kind of too jazzy for me and are not my favorite either.

The best tracks are "Flor Di Luna" : even if it is cha-cha-cha oriented, it has some very nice guitar work (it's the sixth of this genre so far, you know the samba one...) and "Transcendance" (starts like a mellow soul tune but ends in a beautiful clone of "Samba Pa'Ti". The best trak and the most classical Santana song is definitely "El Morocco". Very melodious intro, great rythm and a fabulous and rageous guitar to follow. Santana as we all love. I will rate this album with three stars.

The sad side here is that both "Chepito" Areas and Dave Brown have left the band. Although they were not the most prolific in terms of input, they were members from the early days.

PS : I usually do not read other members review before writing mines (let's say 8 times out of 10). It was also the case with this one. I incidently read some before posting and I noticed some similarities with the one of my fellow countryman Hughes. Sorry, but this was not intentional and demonstrates that what we are telling must be the truth, right ?

Review by Chicapah
5 stars Say what you may about Carlos and his cronies. Like them or not, they're unquestionably one of the most unique bands in the world. No one combines Afro-Latin rhythms, Central/South American melodic sensitivities and top shelf jazz/rock fusion like they do and few try. They set the bar so high that even poor imitations are hard to find. But what attracts me to Santana more than anything else is their fire. Their unbridled passion. Their amazing energy. You know, the stuff that can't be faked. All of which is in full, glorious bloom on "Moonflower." I can't say those things about all their albums, but most of them. For example, how they could follow up their incredible, ground-breaking, earth- shaking "Caravanserai" with the flat, insipid waste-of-time that was "Welcome" is baffling and almost unforgivable. Yet that was just a glitch. All in all their impressive catalogue of work is fairly consistent and if all a progster knows about them is to be found on their greatest hits CD then that person is missing out on a lot of great, challenging music. In which case this collection of live and studio cuts will give the neophyte both an education and a new perspective on why Santana is so popular and revered well after over four decades have passed since their inception in 1967. On the other hand, if you're a fan and, like me, didn't bother to snap up a copy of this record for whatever cockeyed reason I urge you to put this one at the apex of your "to buy" list today. There's not a bad track on it and it'll remind you of why you were attracted to them in the first place.

I must admit that the intro for the first song, "Dawn," frightened the feces out of me because I thought for a moment that they were about to break into "I Will Survive," something that I wouldn't have. Thank God they didn't. It's just a fake-out. They mesh this odd little Tom Coster instrumental with Devadip Carlos Santana's "Go Within" to create a short piece of contemporary jazz that sounds suspiciously like a backing track that never got its vocal recorded. Tom's Ramsey Lewis-ish piano injections keep it from floundering but it's still the runt of the litter and they shouldn't have opened the album with it. It's misleading. All is forgiven in a heartbeat, however. What follows is a spirited three-song medley taped live and my initial reaction was "Oh, yeah, now you're talkin'!" as the broiling percussion of Jose "Chepito" Areas, Pablo Tellez and Raul Rekow sparks the group and the audience as if they ignited the fuse on a stick of dynamite. This leads to the speedy rock samba of "Carnaval" wherein Coster's synth ride slices like a scalpel, a showcase of Devadip's melodious guitar lines and an infectious group refrain on "Let the Children Play," and then a cool blending-in of the no habla englais chanting of "Jugando" with Tom's sizzling Hammond organ solo serving as the capper. A hard rock riff accompanied by some out-of- this-plane-of-existence percussion evolves into a furious jam featuring Coster as he slays all in attendance with his blistering ARP lead and Devadip chars a permanent spot on the stage floor. At one point either Tom or Carlos summons an awesome, screeching yelp out of their instrument akin to a bobcat-with-its-tail-clamped-in-a-bear-trap's wail that'll make your hair stiffen, salute and stand at attention. Yowza!

Next up is a bit of a breather by the name of "I'll Be Waiting," a smooth, AOR number with a fine vocal provided by Greg Walker, one of the better warblers this combo has led to the mike stand. The song won't change your life but it makes for pleasant listening and Carlos takes the opportunity to show that he has a lighter but no less talented touch on the fretboard toward the end. "Zulu" has a proggy, glistening intro provided by Tommy Coster Jr.'s enlightened piano but this instrumental soon escalates into a specimen of intense funk fusion wherein bassist David Margen impresses and Pete Escovedo takes out his frustrations on his hapless timbales. "Bahia" is a brief but grand instrumental filled with flashy Liberace-like piano flourishes and penetrating percussion staccatos. The in-concert version of "Black Magic Woman" comes next and let me say this about it. There are hordes of groups out there who trot out their hits with all the enthusiasm of kissing their wrinkled, moldy grandmother on the lips (you know who you are) but that doesn't apply here. Santana's faithfully-played-but-at-100-miles-per-hour rendition has astounding electricity and Devadip attacks his guitar as if he's playing to save his soul. And when they slip into Gabor Szabo's "Gypsy Queen" they set the arena ablaze. It's mighty mighty. "Dance Sister Dance," also live, is a joyous antidote for sour moods. Carlos' guitar work is ferocious (his deft use of feedback blinds like a laser beam) and Tom does a bang-up job of channeling Chick Corea on the synthesizer all the way up to the tight-as-pyramid-blocks ending.

Devadip's performance of his signature instrumental "Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile)" contains more passion than an afternoon of soap operas and his utilization of multiple guitar tones shows that this boy's not just some one-trick pony. Santana scored yet another Top 40 single with their inventive re-arranging of the classic "She's Not There," due in no small part to the strong dynamics they adorned it with, not to mention Carlos' scorching guitar effect and Escovedo's hot timbale spasms. This is how to do a cover right! "Flor D'Luna" is a romantic instrumental with a dreamy groove and depth of field that doesn't abandon their South American roots. One thing to keep in mind with the live tracks is that they were all recorded in front of throngs of palefaces in Germany, France and England so it's not like they were partying with their Chicano homies in the Barrio. They weren't earning free brownie points through shared ethnicity, if you catch my drift, thus they had to work hard for their harvest. And work they did. The vigorous, aggressive attitude they bring to "Soul Sacrifice" from their debut LP is mind-blowing. First they rev up the tempo and then the percussion section manned by Areas, Tellez and Rekow literally rattles terra firma below. Graham Lear's drum solo is so extraordinary that they gave it the title of "Head, Hands & Feet" (What else could he use? His WHAT? Ooo. That'd leave a mark.) so he could collect royalties from it. Devadip's ride is as wild as a free-range filly and Tom tears into his Hammond organ with a vengeance before they enter a serene "bring it down" section that is transcendent via some calming, airy synth strings. They then proceed to build it back up and toss in a few more tortured bobcat screams on their way to the impossible-to-be-improved-upon climactic ending that brought the Woodstock nation to its feet on Max Yasgur's farm where their legend began.

"El Morocco" has a dramatic, one note opening that leads to a spirited fusion romp pitting Coster and Carlos in a "top this lick" contest that gets pretty frenzied. It morphs into a Jeff Beckian rocker in the second half and exits in a jazzy flair. Nice going, amigos. "Transcendance" (Not a misspelling. It's a trick.) sports a mysterious onset and then slides into an R&B backdrop for Walker's silky vocals. Tom emits an expressive ARP ride and then they jump into double-time for Devadip's shredding extravaganza before the whole shebang collapses for some soulful riffs from Greg's tonsil cavern. They end with the group on stage again for a performance of "Savor" that storms out of the gate at full gallop with frenetic drums, timbales, and congas in the dust-raising forefront. I've always been a fan of the Hammond organ and Coster gives my hero Brian Augur a run for his money here. A spectacular percussion break follows and all I can say is Holy Maracas, Batman! I LOVE this stuff! They transition seamlessly into "Toussaint L'Overture" for the finale and, while Carlos' doesn't exactly take a nap stage left, Tom once again cranks up his Hemi-powered Hammond and drives it hard, generating the unstoppable inertia of a 40- ton locomotive in the process. Devadip closes the deal with guitar death screams that leave the audience flabbergasted and begging for more.

Still not convinced that Santana's one of the best in all of progdom? Consider this. They're one of the purest groups ever in that they've never once relied on anything but their music. Yes and Pink Floyd had their dazzling stage shows. Genesis and ELP had their eye- boggling lighting effects. Others had charismatic front men or a to-die-for roster of untouchable virtuosos. But Santana was just a band of dedicated musicians giving their all every time the microphones were turned on whether in the isolation of the studio or in the presence of tens of thousands. No gimmicks, just undiluted enthusiasm and raw power sprinkled with an occasional touch of grace. "Moonflower" isn't their best ("Caravanserai" holds that trophy) but it contains everything I adore about these guys and the respected institution they built with their own hands and hearts over long years of commitment to just making good music together. 4.5 stars.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Santana is one of those artists that I've known for years, but never gave the effort to get better acquainted with. Moonflower was the first Santana album I picked up 20 years ago and even though I generally enjoy it a lot, I still haven't gotten much further into his discography. Suggestions are welcome!

Moonflower is a strange hybrid of new studio tracks mixed with live performances. The musical terrain covered over the course of its 90 minute length is huge, going from jazz-fusion, soul, blues, Latin percussion and heavy rock to smooth pop. The eclectic nature of it is guaranteed to challenge anyone's taste. For me, the pop of I'll Be Waiting and the velvety muzak of Transcendance is quite tedious, not to say annoying. It's sure competent in its own right but it makes me cringe, can't help it. By contrast, other hits such as Black Magic Woman, Europe and She's Not There work a lot better. The highlights for me are the more vivacious tracks such as Let The Children Play/Jugando, Soul Sacrifice and Savor.

If I ever get around to listening to earlier Sanatana work, this album might need to take a step down to 3 stars, but for now, the invigorating musicianship and Carlos Santana's emotive guitar playing sure warrant 4 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Many feel this was the last great SANTANA release and it's hard not to agree with that. Part live and part studio album, this is a weird beast in that respect. I'm not sure why they decided to do it this way but it does work. The studio tracks are exceptional for the most part. Keyboardist Tom Costerhad a hand in arranging or composing almost every studio track and obviously the man is extremely talented and gifted.The record label had been after SANTANA for years to make music like they did in the early on and to get off the Jazz / Fusion kick that started with "Caravanserai" in 1972. Well they did that with this album (1977) and it was a success, then throw in these live classics and people bought this double album at will. More than ten million copies world wide in fact. It didn't hurt that their cover of the ZOMBIES "She's Not There" was a hit.

"Dawn / Go Within" has this orchestral-like intro then some vocal melodies before it kicks in with bass and drums standing out. "Caraval" and the next two tracks are live.This one is catchy and uptempo with vocals. It blends into "Let The Children Play" where the guitar leads the way to start. I like the organ 2 minutes in. It blends into "Jugando" where we get some amazing percussion.That was fantastic ! Back to the studio tracks with three in a row starting with "I'll Be Waiting" which sounds like a seventies AM hit but it is well done. Some laid back but intricate guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. "Zulu" picks up before a minute and the bass is very chunky.The guitar and keyboards shine here. "Bahia" has so much to like on it like the piano, bass, percussion and guitar. "Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen" is live of course along with the next two tracks to end the first disc. This first one has a little faster tempo than the studio version.The guitar is by far the highlight of this one. "Dance Sister Dance" is catchy with percussion, guitar and vocals leading the way. I like when it settles some before 4 minutes with synths. "Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile)" is great as the guitar soars and the organ floats. Carlos is lighting it up 4 minutes in.

Disc two begins with "She's Not There". I do prefer the ZOMBIES version except of course for Carlos' guitar work. "Flor D'Luna (Moonflower)" has a relaxed beat and guitar with the organ floating in the background. Back to a live tune with "Soul Sacrifice / Head Hands And Feet". This is 14 minutes of bliss. Just fantastic ! "El Morocco" features some pretty good shredding from Carlos and the keyboards are incredible as well. "Transcendance" has a beat with piano then synths. Vocals before a minute. It picks up before 3 minutes with guitar. Back to more live music with the final track "Savor / Toussaint L'Overture". Amazing percussion in this one and we get vocals after 8 minutes. A great way to end this album.

I must admit I was surprised at how good the studio tracks are on this double album. In hindsight it would have been cool if they had just released a studio album, but hey as I said earlier this all works out very well.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was my first Santana acquisition (my brother owned their debut and Abraxas). I remember playing Disc 2 to death for months after I purchased it. Who knew that songs that I loved so much being performed in these live concert recordings were so similar to those from the album that I would come to know and love some 40 years later via ProgArchives: Caravanserai. I think of all the live performances I've ever heard put to tape, the energy and sound of Santana's are the ones that would make me want to see him in concert. Like a Pat Metheny Group concert, the percussion "wars" alone would make it, for me, worthwhile, not to mention the attraction of the stellar play of the leader's melodious guitar.

At this stage of my life I was already beginning to discriminate against songs that gained radio popularity despite the fact that some songs that I deemed "great" did happen to achieve fame and fortune, but Santana's "hits" actually turned me away from seeking his albums out for a long time. It was Moonflower that helped me understand that sometimes an album's "best" songs (i.e. the ones I liked most) were not always the ones chosen for radio play as "hits." Also, disco was in full swing, as can be told through some of these rhythm styles. Thus songs like "I'll Be Waiting" and "She's Not There" were not my favorites. The playful ones, like "Jugando", and "Zulu", "Bahia", "Dance Sister Dance", and "Soul Sacrifice/Head, Hands & Feet" attracted my admiration, but it was really the seductive melodies of "Europa" and "Flor d'luna" and "Transcendance" that made me want to sit up and take notice. Then there is the finale, the great, great jam of "Savor/Toussaint l'overture"--one cookin', happy-to-be-alive song that I always loved to blast on my stereo.

Disc 1 always had a bit of a "Smooth jazz or Adult Contemporary feel to me--especially the choral-style vocals (though, now, in retrospect, I can see how they tied into the influence of my childhood love for my parents musics of Herb Alpert, Brazil '66, Burt Bacharach, and The Fifth Dimension. Tom Coster's work (and sound) is wonderful. Carlos' guitar sound is recorded a little oddly--almost muted--and mixed further back than I would have liked. Anyway, a rare live album that I actually enjoyed and that has remained in my high esteem ever since it came out.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars This is quite bizarre, really. A part live, part studio album double album: it should be one studio and one live album, shouldn´t it? Well, someone had the "great" idea of putting those tracks side by side and the results are annoying. The live songs are ok, I suppose, but at a different pace, they are much faster than the studio counterparts, which make the flow so uneven. And I can´t understand why, since Santana puts a great live show since the early days and still does so many years after they were formed. They deserved a "proper" live album by that time (Lotus did not count, since it was not available outside Japan until the early 90´s).

The studio tracks are good, and point a transitional period. They dropped much of the soul and funky influences of Amigos and Festival and clearly they were aiming for the Album Oriented Rock format that they would pursue during the late 70´s and early 80´s. The success of the cover song of the Zombies She´s Not There showed the way, and certainly helped to make this album a big hit (it went platinum, the first one to do so since Caravanserai in 1972). Even some of the new songs were written in that style (I`ll be Waiting), while others still maintain the earlier Santana sound (the instrumental Zulu). Even the brazilian connection was maintained through the obvious Bahia. The best track however, is another instrumental, Flor de Luna (Moonflower in spanish): this rumba-like tune is typical Santana guitar piece since Samba Pa Ti, where Carlos shows off his unique melodic style in great form. So simple, nothing new, and still so magical! El Morocco is another powerful number while the soul ballad Transcendance sounds like a leftover from Festival.

In all, Moonflower could have been a fine studio and a reasonable live album if the live and studio tracks were not interspersed one with another. As it is the CD is too uenven and does not make me fell like listening to it as a whole. A real shame. However, it does have some real good stuff here, so a 3 star rating is a fair one.

Latest members reviews

3 stars As long as the singer is not singing, this album has some good stuff. But the studio stuff tends towards muzak and horrid 70's soul music, thanks to the horrific singer. He has a very lounge singer style that I just find unbearable. The live material is considerably better, being mostly instru ... (read more)

Report this review (#95749) | Posted by | Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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