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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Rolie, Gregg (Band) - 2009 Rain Dance
Rolie, Gregg (Band) - 2009 Rain Dance

ARTIST: Rolie, Gregg (Band)
ALBUM: Rain Dance
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 2009
SPONSOR: Glass Onyon PR


LINEUP: Gregg Rolie - vocals, keyboards * Wally Minko - keyboards * Ron Wikso - drums * Alphonso Johnson - bass * Kurt Griffey - guitars * Michael Carabello - congas * Adrian Areas - timbales

TRACK LISTING: 01 Jingo * 02 Going Home * 03 No One To Depend On * 04 As The Years Go Passing By * 05 Evil Ways * 06 Across The Water * 07 Give It To Me * 08 Soul Sacrifice * 09 Black Magic Woman * 10 Gypsy Queen * 11 Oye Como Va * 12 Bailamos El Son



Gregg Rolie is a name well founded in melodic rock circles. Journey, The Storm, plus a couple of CBS released solo albums all feature the talented singer and keyboardist. Of course, Rolie helped form latin rock legends Santana, and was their voice and keyboardist right up until the 'Caravansarai' album. In recent years though, Gregg has returned to his musical origins, releasing a couple of latin rock albums with the allstar Abraxas Pool, plus a couple under his own name. Included under his solo banner is this 2007 live release 'Rain Dance', featuring former Santana and Abraxas Pool players. While Carlos Santana goes musical walkabout with his various side projects, Gregg injects some much needed adrenalin, and reinvents the original Santana sound, albeit in 2007, come 2009.

The Songs
The songs featured here are a mixture of Santana songs, a handful from his 2001 'Roots' solo album, plus a couple of new songs. Listening to this, you'd swear this was Santana circa the early 70's, so convincing is the sound. The energy on display here would dispel any thoughts that this is a current day recording. There is a load of hammond organ on offer, while for me, the standout is guitarist Kurt Griffey, who really is one shred-head, and keeps the electricity sizzling throughout this performance. Three songs are sourced from the debut 1969 Santana album: 'Jingo', 'Evil Ways' and 'Soul Sacrifice'. These have all appeared as part of Rolie's setlist over the years. 'Black Magic Woman', 'Gypsy Queen' and 'Oye Como Va' are taken from 1970's 'Abraxas' album, while 'No One To Depend On' is the only track lifted from 'Santana III'. 'Going Home' and 'Give It To Me' are also older Santana songs which have been featured on the Abraxas Pool album as well. 'As The Years Go Passing By' is an Albert King tune, that is given a severe makeover by the GRB. It's blues, jazz and latin fused together in a fiery bout of playing. Griffey's solo work is particularly noticeable. Two newer songs are featured here: 'Across The Water' and 'Bailamos El Son'. The former is a deep (excuse the pun) sounding track, which crosses the latin theme with something mainstream. The latter is a happy-go-lucky affair, not too far removed from that Miami/Cuban sound.

In Summary
This is a pretty powerful set of songs from a musical combination that is as good live as their reputations on paper. If they are this good live, one wonders how good this lot would fare in the studio - that would be something to look forward to. Hopefully this combination is not a one-off performance, as a studio album full of new tracks would be quite appealing. 'Rain Dance' though full of older and familiar material is given such a breath of fresh air, that it truly does justice to the original Santana material. Grab it and give it a listen.

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#1 | Eric on October 05 2009 21:38:08
One of the few musicians I really want to meet and chat with. Man, I can't imagine the stories he has tucked away.... Rolie never fails to impress and I just added this to my 'To Buy' list.Thumbs Up
#2 | ronwikso on October 10 2009 19:29:32
Thanks for the great review!

Just to clarify though, 'Going Home' and 'Give It To Me' are not older Santana songs. 'Going Home' was originally recorded on the Abraxas Pool CD and we re-recorded it on the Gregg Rolie 'Roots' CD. 'Give It To Me' was originally recorded on the 'Roots' CD.

'Across The Water' and 'Bailamos El Son' are brand new songs and have never appeared on a studio recording.


Ron Wikso
#3 | swazi on January 09 2010 14:45:05
His earlier releases "s/t", "Gringo" and "Rough Tracks" should definitely be up on GD as well. Amazing AOR!
#4 | gdazegod on January 09 2010 22:12:55
They are. With the exception of 'Rough Tracks'.
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