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Santana - 1978 Inner Secrets



ARTIST: Santana
ALBUM: Inner Secrets
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: FC 35600
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1985, CBS, CK 35600 * 2000, Sony, COL 498371 2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Devadip Carlos Santana - guitars * Greg Walker - vocals * Chris Solberg - guitars, organ * Chris Rhyne - keyboards, synthesizers * David Margen - bass * Graham Lear - drums * Armando Peraza - bongos, percussion * Raul Rekow - congas, percussion * Pete Escovedo - timbales, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dealer/Spanish Rose * 02 Well All Right * 03 One Chain (Don't Make No Prison) * 04 Stormy * 05 Open Invitation * 06 Wham! * 07 The Facts Of Love * 08 Life Is A Lady/Holiday * 09 Move On

WEBLINKS: www.santana.com/


Background
This is an album I have been a fan of since my youth. Up until 1978, I was not a fan of Santana at all. Their exotic brand of latin rock and rhythm did not switch my dial any which way. At the time, even jazz/fusion was not on my melodic radar, but when 'Inner Secrets' started getting radio play, suddenly my interest was tweaked. It's not entirely clear what prompted the change of direction by leader Carlos Santana. Either CBS Records pressure was to blame (survive or die), or perhaps Carlos was seeing what was going on in the Journey camp, whereby fellow Santana alumni Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie were changing tack with their band as well - heading down radio station alley with their 'Infinity' album. I can't recall who achieved lift-off first (that is .. released their album first), but the coincidence is uncanny. Whatever the case, 'Inner Secrets' enabled Santana to make a dent into commercial radio in a serious way, with some seriously commercial and radio-friendly tunes - the band embracing some funky overtones and gorgeous ballads without compromising their percussion heavy backline. It wasn't as if the band were bereft of chart action, 1977's live rendition of The Zombies hit 'She's Not There' assaulted the Top 40 charts. However by early 1978, long time keyboardist Tom Coster left the band, to be replaced by Chris Solberg and Chris Rhyne. Long time fans decried the shift to commercial territory, sensing a sellout, but really, by 1978, every major crossover rock act was including funk, disco and soul into their repertoire. Goodness, if Kiss, Roadmaster, Toto and The Doobie Brothers could do it, why not Santana?


The Songs
A cover of the Traffic drug dealing anthem 'Dealer' sets us on a voyage of discovery for the next 40 or so minutes. 'Move On' combines a funky backbeat, with a Doobie Brothers type vibe, circa 'Minute By Minute', even though that album came out later than this one. The disco overtone of 'One Chain (Don't Make No Prison)' isn't as bad as one would assume, the guitar motif played through the song gives it a 'rock' presence - only just mind you! 'Stormy' is a luscious ballad written by the Atlanta Rhythm Section affiliated pair of J.R Cobb and Buddy Buie. Without having heard the Buddy Holly original - 'Well All Right' sounds positively ok by me, though critics who have head the original have slammed this cover. Too bad! Carlos turns on the tube screamers and distortion pedals for the overtly heavy 'Open Invitation', a change-up moment on the album. My favourite tune here is the instrumental 'Life Is A Lady / Holiday', the soaring guitar tones and breezy arrangement so typical of 1978 AD! Similar to 'Move On' is the gorgeous smooth funk of 'Facts Of Life', and to ensure that past fans of their fusion style don't feel ripped off, the band let loose with a latin barrage entitled 'Wham!' - and so it proves.


In Summary
Not surprisingly the album was lambasted at the time of its release - many still finding it difficult to accept the change of direction from the latin fusion rock hybrid played over the previous decade. What would've been difficult was if the band had made no attempt to progress. Stuck playing the same sound from the last ten years - in an era of change (styles and genres of music, the advent of FM radio, and advanced recording techniques) would have been just as suicidal - so good on Carlos for sticking his neck out. The album went gold, but strangely enough, the album that would go platinum for the band was 1981's 'Zebop!' album! Strange but true.


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This article has been tagged
Tags: Santana 
 
Comments
#1 | Eric on February 06 2007 22:03:43
This was the first Santana album I purchased due to hearing 'Open Invitation' on FM radio. A great tune and very good album. Give me this, 'Marathon', 'Zebop' and 'Shango' anyday, although 'Caravanserai' is a terrific Prog/ Jazz rock album and his best from the early Santana days IMHO.
#2 | reyno-roxx on July 18 2008 11:40:38
'Open Invitation' was the track that also got me into Santana back in the day. I've never been a huge fan, but this album, 'Marathon' and the earlier 'Abraxas' are amongst the band's best.
I can't be doing with all the recent nonsense with loads of guest vocalists and a more commercial direction. That stuff just didn't do it for me. This album though..fantastic!
#3 | rkbluez on March 08 2012 00:30:53
Agreed Dave this album is smoking...one of my favorites from Carlos...although a lot of his long time fans don't like this heavy AOR period...me I love this one, Marathon, Shango and Zebop...all real classy rock music with a lot of AOR influences.

I also love the old stuff like Abraxas with Greg Rolie on vocals...Hope Your Feelin' Better is a favorite tune of mine.
#4 | swazi on March 08 2012 15:17:38
Ahh ..., another blast from the past! I always used to play this LP when some chick had broken my heart again. Yes, this did happen a few times! Smile 'One Chain', 'Open Invitation', 'The Facts of Love', all great songs!
 
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