Spirits Dancing in the Flesh


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Spirits Dancing in the Flesh Review

by William Ruhlmann

Following a 1989 20th anniversary reunion tour to promote Viva Santana!, Carlos Santana reorganized the band as a sextet consisting of himself, singer/guitarist Alex Ligertwood, singer/keyboardist Chester Thompson, bass player Benny Rietveld, drummer Walfredo Reyes and percussionist Armando Peraza. This unit, with such guest stars as Vernon Reid (of Living Colour), Wayne Shorter, and Bobby Womack, recorded Spirits Dancing In The Flesh, Santana's 15th and final studio album for Columbia Records. It was an unusually eclectic collection, featuring songs by Curtis Mayfield ("Gypsy Woman"), The Isley Brothers ("Who's That Lady"), and Olatunji ("Jin-Go-Lo-Ba"), as well as interpolations of John Coltrane's "Peace On Earth" and Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From The Sun" into Santana's "Mother Earth." (The Olatunji song is the original version of the tune adapted as "Jingo" that became Santana's first hit in 1969.) For all those influences, it was more of a straightforward, guitar-heavy rock album than usual. Coming more than three years after Santana's last new album, Freedom, it sold to the band's core audience only, reaching #85.

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