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Santana - Welcome CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.49 | 171 ratings

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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.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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