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Santana Freedom album cover
1.99 | 52 ratings | 5 reviews | 2% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Vera Cruz (4:23)
2. She Can't Let Go (4:45)
3. Once It's Gotcha (5:42)
4. Love Is You (3:54)
5. Songs of Freedom (4:28)
6. Deeper, Dig Deeper (4:18)
7. Praise (4:36)
8. Mandela (5:31)
9. Before We Go (3:54)
10. Victim of Circumstance (5:21)

Total Time 46:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Buddy Miles / lead vocals
- Carlos Santana / guitar, synth guitar, vocals, co-producer
- Chester D. Thompson / keyboards, vocals, co-producer
- Tom Coster / keyboards
- Alphonso Johnson / bass
- Graham Lear / drums
- Armando Peraza / bongos, congas, percussion
- Orestes Vilatˇ / timbales, percussion
- Raul Rekow / congas, percussion, vocals

- Buddy Guy / vocals
- Annie Stocking / backing vocals
- Jeanie Tracy / backing vocals
- Kitty Beethoven / backing vocals
- Mark Keller / backing vocals
- Pamela Rose / backing vocals
- Sterling Crew / synth, drum programming, co-producer
- Gregg Rolie / synth
- Cory Lerios / synth
- Junior Wells / harmonica, vocals
- Bryan Bell / synth, programming

Releases information

Artwork: Marty Gessler

LP Columbia ‎- FC 40272 (1987, US)

CD Columbia ‎- CK 40272 (1987, US)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SANTANA Freedom ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(2%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(6%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (31%)

SANTANA Freedom reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars After the tremendously un-aptly titled Beyond Appearances, could Santana repeat its blunders? A wisearse might just actually say that they really tried hard but ultimately failed. And if it was not for three tracks, you could almost say that they came close to matching the poor predecessor.

Musically, most of the album sounds a lot like BA and its Jackson or Hall & Oates's funk with those awful drum samplings, [&*!#]ty KB, and semi-danceable almost disco-aimed tracks. The major difference with Santana and the other groups (similar to those I mentioned above) is that Santana's ethics made him and the boys still create a lot of place for great instrumental breaks (but nothing outside the usual completely worn-out path they got us so used to). Yes Santana was definitely aiming for radio airplay and dishing out a rather non-convincing cross of AOER and 80's Motown funk. Not much positive can be said for the first side of the vinyl

And the second side is only saved by the delightful Mandela (reminiscent of Johnny Clegg) and the good closer Victim Of Circumstances, taking you (almost) back to the good days of mid- 70's. I can draw a parallel with the 80's Genesis saying that BA would be Invisible Touch and this one (Freedom) would be the "Shapes" album where you can still see periods of greatness. But certainly nothing warranting a spin or the acquisition.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars I'm afraid that I can use carbon paper to write my Santana reviews for this part of their catalogue. Since "Inner Secrets" in 1978, the work produced has been very, very weak. I only could find some good work with "Zebop" but the remaining part of their work of that era didn't really bring me to the heights of delectation.

It is such a pity to hear one of my beloved band producing so many poor albums that I can only have a sad feeling about them. But, at the end of the day, I just want to give my opinion (as objective as I can be).

There has been change of styles of course during such a long time : from the most frenetic latin-rock of the early days to a more latin-jazz-oriented music we have ended ... nowhere.

A part of the answer resides in the fact that some important members have left the band throughout the Santana life. I mentioned in my "Welcome" review that Rollie's departure would have a major impact on Santana's future. Not the near future since the band has released several good to very good albums (including "Welcome") but rather the long run.

On the first four albums, Carlos did co-sign eighteen numbers out of thirty-seven, while Gregg was good for sixteen collaborations, Mike for nine and "Chepito for eleven (most of the songs were co-written). So, even if Carlos was the mainstream, it was pretty much a combined band effort which leaded to those fantastic albums. Then little by little the inspiration will be weaker and will lead to another poor album.

The only good track (but do not expect a "chef- d'oeuvre") is "Love Is You" so my rating for this album is unfortunately one star, again (disculpa Carlos, sorry Carlos).

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In terms of the band's entire music career, this is not the album which received appreciation from the fans as well as music industry. But still, you can find excellent guitar melody unique to Santana which creates Latin rock nuance. Looking at the opening track "Veracruz" you might not expect that this song is played by Santana; because the music is very close to standard R&B music. The next track "She Can't Let Go" is also another pop venture which, unfortunately, does not attract me to digest at all. But you might find the third track "Once It's Gotcha'" which has better soul and composition. It sounds like normal R&B music but as the song moves along, there are textures that make this song beautiful especially through the insertion of guitar melody. "Songs of Freedom" is another exploration of Santana into jazz-rock fusion kind of music especially this is characterized by the way bass guitar is played (similar to those of Stanley Clarke's). "Deeper, Dig Deeper" tries to dig out what Santana's sound like in the past through long guitar solo unique to Santana. "Victim of Circumstance" concludes the track with a music that combines old Santana sound (through guitar work) and disco music. The guitar solo is still nice to capture, but the music is not quite interesting to enjoy.

Overall, It's really difficult to maintain band's performance over time. This "Freedom" album tells us that the music of Santana is no longer like what it was great during late 60s or early seventies. I leave it up to you whether or not to buy this album, especially if you are die-hard fan of Santana. If you love the way Santana plays his guitar, some tracks featured here would satisfy you. But most of the songs featured here do not represent what Santana has done

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars According to some reviews I got from the internet, Santana┬┤s 1987 Freedom would be a "return to their earlier original sound". Maybe they were influenced by the fac that the famous drummer and singer Buddy Miles is back on the fold, and bluesman Junior Wells plays harmonica on a couple of tracks, plus the fact that old chum Gregg Rolie appears somewhere too. The cover of the album and its title also lead to that feeling. But upon listening to this record I get the same impression I got from the previous fiasco that was Beyond Appearances (1985): a producer┤s take on trying to "modernize" the Santana music. So then again there they are: the same synthesizers and sequencers that were so ubiquitous at the time. For the second time it seems that Carlos Santana gave the "hip" producer the control of what would be recorded and how, at least most of it. The results are not as bad as the previous record, thanks to a better repertoire and the fact that there is only one singer this time. And yet, this is hardly the Santana sound we expect to hear.

Yes, you┬┤ll find excellent trademark guitar lines and lots of latin percussion, but several songs are way too commercial, sanitized and bland to make this a really worthy effort. Love Is You for example shows the unmistakable style of a Carlos Santana solo, a real joy to hear, although the song itself is nothing special. The situation gets better on the second half of the CD, with Mandela and Deeper, Dig Deeper being the best tracks. But then we also have Before We Go, a tracks that is a pastiche of a ballad from Eric Clapton┬┤s album August. If you know Clapton┬┤s ballads of the period you get it.

So in the end I found Freedom not a bad album, it has its moments (if you don┬┤t mind those typical synth sounds of the time), but far from anything he has done in the 70┬┤s or even at the beginning of the 80┬┤s. It would be a long way back to the top. Two stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This reunion of Carlos Santana and crew with Buddy Miles is a very enjoyable treat. They obviously enjoy working together, having done so, so many times. This is the same band configuration that jammed on stage in Tokyo with Jeff Beck and toured behind the "Iron Curtain". That was at a time ... (read more)

Report this review (#95653) | Posted by vingaton | Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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