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Santana - Welcome CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.49 | 171 ratings

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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.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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