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Santana - Welcome CD (album) cover

WELCOME

Santana

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.50 | 141 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Welcome" is the 5th full-length studio album by US Jazz rock/fusion act Santana. The album was released through Columbia Records in November 1973.

There have been a couple of major changes in the lineup since the last album "Caravanserai (1972)". Lead vocalist/organist Gregg Rolie had a fallout with guitarist Carlos Santana and left halfway through the sessions for "Caravanserai (1972) ". He would later team up with guitarist Neal Schon, who had also left Santana, to form the commercially successful Journey. The loss of especially the former is very evident on "Welcome". Instead of the very prominant organ which graced the first four albums by Santana there are now two new keyboard players in the band. Both have a very different sound compared to Gregg Rolie. The recording of the album was sandwiched in between two world tours and does suffer a bit as a result of this.

It´s of course almost impossible to top an album like the fantastic "Caravanserai (1972)" and "Welcome" doesn´t quite reich the heights of that album but fortunately it doesn´t try to sound like that album either. Personally I wouldn´t have minded if "Welcome" sounded closer to "Caravanserai (1972)" than it does, but on the other hand it´s admirable that the band weren´t content with releasing the same album twice. The tracks on "Welcome" are generally soft jazz rock/fusion tracks. A few have vocals but most are instrumental. The vocals are soul music type vocals. There´s also a funky touch to some tracks and of course the trademark ethnic latin elements (loads of percussion) are as present as ever on this album too. There are some high quality songs on the album like "Samba De Sausalito" and especially "Flame-Sky". The latter blows away all competition and is by far the best track on "Welcome". There are some intense guitar soloing on that track that are greatly enjoyable. There are some more average tracks on the album too though. Those include vocal tracks like "Love Devotion and Surrender" and "When I Look Into Your Eyes". Now I wouldn´t call those tracks bad but they are not exactly exciting either. My major issue wityh the album is that it´s overall not very consistent. Some might say varied instead of inconsistent but that´s my take on it.

The production is professional, warm and pleasant, which of course isn´t unusual for Santana albums from those days. Overall "Welcome" is an enjoyable release by Santana that might be slightly too diverse for it´s own good and therefore suffers a bit in the consistency and flow department, but ultimately still comes off as a quality product. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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