Note: This is the 1998 remastered version I'm reviewing, the one that comes with three live bonus tracks.
By 1971, Santana had already garnered a lot of success and popularity, much thanks to their performance at the legendary music festival Woodstock. With each album, the band only increased the creativity and quality of their songs. And Santana 3
was no exception. Strengthened by the addition of percussionist Coke Escuvedo (sp?) and Neal Schon, the original Santana line-up made their best and last album at the ultimate height of their fame.
The album comes to a start with some nice percussion and then a great, great bassline comes thundering in. Then the magical dueling guitars of Santana and Schon take you for a ride. This is a great instrumental opener, full of sweet licks dripping in wah-wah and an amazing rhythm section. 5/5
2. No One to Depend On
Just like on Abraxas, the first track bleeds into the second. In this case, the two work very well together. They are a little similar except this one has vocals. Now, the lyrics or vocals aren't anything amazing, but this band's main feature isn't lyrics, so I don't care. The bass is great on this track, and the guitar is, well, astonishing. Neal and Carlos duel it out on the guitar solo, which isn't far from the best ever, in my opinion. Not only can they play great by themselves, but they work together great as a team. They also work great with the percussionists. 5/5
The mostly happy, upbeat feel of the first two tracks comes to a halt here. This song is very nicely done, because it has a great mood, like a dark swamp at midnight. Kind of difficult to put in words, but this one always gets me. It features some decent lyrics, though, by Gregg Rollie, who does the lead vocals very nicely. The song keeps it's slow-paced, moody feel until the outro guitar solo, which is beyond earthshattering. It is like a hand grabbing onto your skull saying, hey, wake up, listen to me! Not that the rest of the song is boring or anything, but, man, these solos really wake you up. Overall, a great emotional song. You just can't beat that. 5/5
4. Toussaint l' Overture
This is a big fan favorite. Personally I think it's a good song but sometimes it bores me a little. The big guitar solo at the end usually catches my attention, though. Also has a cool breakdown with some chanting in Spanish. Since the music is top-notch, I can't give this a bad grade. 4.5/5
5. Everybody's Everything
Well, this one is sure to change your mind if you think Santana is boring and one-dimensional. Talk about variety! When I first heard this song I thought the radio turned on somehow or the stereo switched CD's. This song is upbeat, but feels very nice and refreshing after the more melancholy feel of the last two tracks. I'm not a huge fan of horns but there is some excellent horn work on this song, which I think is done by the Tower of Power. You'll want to get up and dance when you hear this infectious tune. 5/5
The CD goes back to a deeper melancholy mode when this song starts. Has a very Latin feel to it. Not my favorite on the CD but still manages to stay in my head. Santana and Schon deliver some great solos, so this is a pretty worthwhile cut. 3.5/5
7. Jungle Strut
Starts with a spacey intro. Then a great guitar riff comes in, and the whole band does their thing. Mainly just a "jam" song, but it's not just "noodling" for over 5 minutes, it contains some very memorable moments and isn't something you'll just forget very quickly. One of my favorites on the album. 5/5
8. Everything's Coming Our Way
Sounds kind of like "Everybody's Everything", but with minor chords. I'm not sure who's doing lead vocals, I think it's either Carlos or Gregg Rollie with a falsetto. But whoever it is, the vocals are absolutely great. Very emotional. The song also has an organ solo that is really nice. Not that I don't like the other organ solos, this one just really fits. 5/5
9. Para Los Rumberos
Horn-driven closer that really ends the album perfectly. No organ or guitar solos, just great work as a whole band. A memorable closer to a memorable album. 5/5
: The three live bonus tracks are all equally amazing. They are: "Batuka", "Jungle Strut", and "Gumbo". They all get 5/5 because they capture the live energy of the band and don't drag the album down at all.
This is one of my favorite albums. I fell in love with it soon after I bought it a little over a month ago. It's a good album to listen to at night, too. I don't think I'll ever stop listening to it.
Overall Rating: 5/5