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. Fortunately the Akarma record company has done us all a favor by releasing this on CD and an exact gatefold LP.
For Chango's second album, Honey is Sweeter Than Blood apparently lead singer Pepe Gomez got too big for his britches and tossed all the members except one, changed labels to Mercury and went soul-pop. The music isn't even recognizable for those who love the first album and is a huge disappointment. For Latin Soul music, it's not bad but not exactly what I'd hoped for. I seriously doubt anyone will reissue this and it doesn't need to be. Just go straight for the first album and never look back. " (From Gnosis - progarchives.com)
01 Fire Over Water 5:34
02 Walk on Hell 7:58
03 Bollo 3:24
04 Caminando 6:57
05 Mira Pa 'Ca 3:00
06 Bembe 0:50
07 Solid Karma 4:50
08 Sacapa 1:14
09 Chango 8:21
George Tacktikos (guitar, vocals)
Reinol Andino (timbales, congas, percussion, vocals)
Pepe Gomez (drums, lead vocals, percussion, piano)
Burlin Speakes (bass)
Thomas Alletto (organ, vocals, piano)
Michael Britton (congas, percussion)
Years ago my buddy Jeff played for me a track from the first Chango album which I really enjoyed and added these guys to my wish list. A few weeks back at a garage sale I found their second album for a buck !
....and what an excellent discovery this one is too !
I think their first is really the best of the two that I have heard but in no way is this an album that you should pass on either. I would say this one is more rock than latin and quite different than their debut album. Best way i can describe this album is try to imagine "Camel" meets "Santana" with a bit of perhaps a dash of "Malo".
Apparently the lead singer (Pepe Gomez) for this second album replaced all but one of the band members to record this album.....so no wonder the vibe and feel is so different from the first album. There are some outstanding latin groove rock moments on this album! (By James Unger)
01 Life Is a Rainbow
02 The Last Ride
03 Meeting The Gods
04 Lady, Lady
05 La Rumba
06 Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
07 Thumbing A Ride
08 Woman In Black
09 Evil Lady
Charles Rook (guitar)
Pepe Gomez "Peppy" (lead & backing vocals, drums, piano string ensemble, percussion)
Reinol Andino (congas, timbales, percussion, backing vocals)
Mike Cruz (timbales, percussion, backing vocals)
Ken Weissman (drums)
Burlin Speakes (bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals)