Chango

Chango

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Of course, Chango's first LP is a rip-off of Santana's 1970s sound, and if you want to dismiss it on the count of lack of originality, go ahead. What should not be overlooked though is the fact that the group played some very hot salsa jazz-rock. They did not do it better, but they sure did it well. Although not Carlos Santana, George Tacktikos studied the guitarist's playing closely and performs a few strong solos, especially on "Caminando" and "Chango." Thomas Alletto plays a mean organ, and singer Pepe Gomez matches any Santana singer. This first LP blends the raw energy of Abraxas and the subtleties of Caravanserail (maybe with something of Chicago's early pop sensibilities too), while delivering a more poppy and energy-driven charge than what Santana used to do. Side one contains the fiery "Walk on Hell" and "Caminando," truly the group's finest moment. The five songs on side two segue, alternating fast-paced numbers and slow instrumentals in true Santana fashion. "Solid Karma" stands out. This album was clearly well-produced and thought over, the song order being just right. One could do without the love-making sighs at the end of the last track. The god Chango, explain the liner notes, is "the representative of unbridled sexuality" -- the relentless rhythms of the previous 40 minutes were proof enough. Recommended to fans of early Santana who don't mind plagiarism.

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