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Santana - Santana CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.13 | 409 ratings

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4 stars "Santana" is the debut full-length studio album by US, San Francisco based fusion/latin rock act Santana. The lineup on the album features, in addition to band leader Carlos Santana (guitar, vocals), Gregg Rolie (organ, piano, vocals), David Brown (bass guitar), Michael Shrieve (drums), Michael Carabello (timbales, congas, percussion) and Jose 'Chepito' Areas (timbales, congas, percussion). The original album, which was released through Columbia Records in August 1969, featured 9 tracks, while the 1999 re-issue features three bonus tracks from Santana's performance at the Woodstock festival in 1969. In 2004 a new double CD version called the "Legacy Edition" was released. It features the original album, some alternate takes and studio jams on Disc 1, and the original unreleased sessions from the album in addition to the full Woodstock festival performance by Santana on Disc 2. itīs the "Legacy Edition" Iīm reviewing.

Santana started out strictly being a jam act, but their manager Bill Graham suggested that they should begin writing more structured songs, to give them more commercial appeal. The 9 tracks on the original album reflects both their jam past and the more structured songwriting approach suggested by the manager. The music is a kind of psychadelic rock/fusion with a strong latin influence. With a drummer and two percussionists there is a strong emphasis on rythmic playing on the album. Itīs mostly the organ playing by Gregg Rolie that reeks of psychadelic San Francisco based rock. Itīs probably wrong to call it psychadelic rock but there are some elements in the music that points in that direction. Carlos Santanaīs guitar style is unique and gives the music a great energetic touch. While the tracks are predominantly instrumental there are some tracks on the album which feature vocals. "Evil Ways", which is one of the tracks featuring vocals, became quite a hit and itīs understandable as itīs an accessible and commercially strong composition. All tracks on the album are of high quality though and this is the kind of album that always bring a special mood to my house. Itīs simply impossible for me to sit still while listening to "Santana". I have to move around my home beating on lambs and chairs to get some of the restless energy out of my body that this album creates. What a great feeling. The alternate takes and studio jams on Disc 1 are probably the least exciting thing on the album, but they are still greatly enjoyable and a nice bonus.

Disc 2 contains the original unreleased sessions from the album in addition to the full Woodstock festival performance by Santana. This should be seen as bonus material, but this is more than worth the inclusion on the album. The first 6 tracks on Disc 2 come from the unreleased original sessions for the album and itīs great to hear some of the tracks that made it unto the album in different versions but there are also a couple of tracks that didnīt make it unto the original album. The last 7 tracks on Disc 2 are the full 1969 Woodstock festival performance by Santana. The reissue from 1999 only featured three tracks from that performance as bonus tracks but on the "Legacy Edition" weīre treated to the full performance. A great energetic performance by the band that certainly deserves a release.

The sound production on the original album and the production for the unreleased sessions for the album are excellent, warm and powerful. The live tracks also feature a good sound quality. There might be other albums in Santanaīs discography that are more frequently highly praised than this debut album but every time I listen to this album Iīm blown away by the wild and enthusiastic energy. Those rythms are so captivating, the organ playing is excellent, the vocals are strong and Carlos Santanaīs guitar playing is unique and innovative. This album is in other words nothing short of fantastic and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is well deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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