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Santana - 1977 Festival



ARTIST: Santana
ALBUM: Festival
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: PC 34423
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1990, Columbia, CK 34423

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Carlos Santana - lead & background vocals, guitar, bass, percussion * Leon Patillo - lead & background vocals, percussion, piano * Tom Coster - percussion, keyboards, synthesizer, background vocals * Pablo Tellez - bass, percussion, lead & background vocals * Paul Jackson - bass * Gaylord Birch - drums, tympani, percussion * Jose Areas - conga, timbales, percussion * Raul Rekow - conga, percussion, background vocals * Joel Badie - percussion, background vocals * Oren Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Julia Waters - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Carnival * 02 Let The Children Play * 03 Jugando * 04 Give Me Love * 05 Verao Vermelho * 06 Let The Music Set You Free * 07 Revelations * 08 Reach Up * 09 The River * 10 Try A Little Harder * 11 Maria Caracoles

WEBLINKS: www.santana.com


Background
Here's a record that seems to split Santana fans with one half feeling 'Festival' along with the previous album 'Amigos' was the beginning of the band's downward slide into commercial pop while others, myself included think it's one of their better releases.


The Songs
By this time, Santana were fluid personnel wise and Carlos was calling most of the shots, unlike the golden Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, and Mark Shrieve era but there are plenty of good tunes here and Latin spiced opener 'Carnival' sets the tone, while the smooth 'Let The Children Play' is classic Santana and the first single pulled from the album. The only low point comes early on 'Give Me Love' which sounds a little too much like Earth Wind & Fire's smash 'That's The Way Of The World' almost to the point of plagiarism with future CCM star Leon Patillo doing his best Maurice White impression. Shameful really, but Carlos redeems himself on the top notch flamenco instrumental 'Verao Vermelho' ('Summer Red') and the funky Let The Music Set You Free' is passable Latino Funk although the stunning instrumental 'Revelations' is my favourite cut with Carlos smoking guitar tearing it up on the tail end. Patillo's back at it with the bluesy balladry of 'The River' although here and on the poppy 'Try A little Harder' he thankfully sounds like more like himself. I had a chance to see him in concert in the early 80's and the man had serious pipes.


In Summary
Columbia Records were pushing Carlos to give them hits and while 'Festival' sold relatively well, neither single including the great 'Revelations' charted although their cover of The Zombies classic 'She's Not There' from their next album 'Moonflower' would push Santana back on the hit making trail by the end of 1977. [word count 296]


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