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Chango - Chango (CD)




Original Music Records





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Original released 1975
CD reissue 2012 O-Music
sealed !

01 - Fire Over Water 5:35
02 - Walk On Hell 8:05
03 - Bollo 3:15
04 - Caminando 5:51
05 - Mira Pa 'Ca 3:10
06 - Bembe 0:50
07 - Solid Karma 4:48
08 - Sacapa 1:17
09 - Chango 9:09


Thomas Alletto (Keyboards, Vocals)

Reinol Andino (Percussion, Vocals, Producer)

Michael Britton (Percussion)

Pepe Gomez (Drums, Vocals, Producer)

Burlin Speakes (Bass, Guitar, Vocals)

George Tacktikes (Guitar, Vocals)

Jamming. This is Santana IV, the culmination of heavy Latin groove rock. This album has it all, the screaming Carlos guitar licks (and what chops!), the swirling organ (do you like Hammond? Oh boy, get a doctor, you'll need it), the speed freak machismo lead singer (messed up chicks swoon for this) and of course those danceable and tranced-out rhythms (even this stiff white guy noticed). The lyrics are just what you want from this kind of album: Sex, life-in-the-ghetto, grade-school mysticism and well, sex.

Right off the bat, you're pulverized with Fire Over Water followed by the eight minute Walk on Hell. Do I really need to describe these tracks? Put the environment, instrumentation, song titles and influences together and you've got an aural vision. Many of the songs are catchy too - you'll be humming them for days. Caminando, Solid Karma and especially Mira Pa 'Ca just have KILLER melodies. But where Chango excels is in the instrumentals like the pounding Bollo and Bembe plus the beautiful Sacapa. But the best is saved for last. The nine minute title track combines relentless energy, tuneful melodies and fiery instrumental playing. It's awe-inspiring. Careful though, as you may find yourself in a big heap afterwards. Of course the closing moments have a 15 year old's imagination-girl-moaning-in-ecstasy bit. It's stupid but somehow fits.

How this album missed the big time is a mystery to me. Being 1975 perhaps it was too late for the early Santana sound, but not too many groups went down this road. I'm guessing that ABC records, not known for their marketing muscle, had no idea how to promote it. There are few albums ever that contains this kind of energy and instrumental virtuosity and combines that with a strong melodic sense. A true masterpiece and a really undiscovered gem.