From the Festival album are “Carnaval,” “Let the Children Play,” and “Jugando,” all of which are kicked into overdrive for the performance. It’s no wonder these versions are better known than their tamer, studio-recorded predecessors. The same goes for “Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile),” which sounds far better than the studio version released on Amigos. Also from Amigos, “Dance Sister Dance (Baila Mi Hermana)” plays far better live, as well.
While the most influential member of the band (as Carlos Santana’s enduring musical partner) is keyboardist Tom Coster, the other members are certainly no slouches. On drums, Graham Lear is tight and controlled, and meshes well with the percussion section (he ended up playing with the band for several albums).
David Margen and Pablo Telez split the bass duties, the former on the studio tracks, the latter for the live recordings. Conguero Raul Rekow, another long-time Santana band member, also contributes strong backup vocals. The inimitable Jose Chepito Areas plays the bulk of the timbales, but on four tracks, Pete Escovedo (father of Latin-pop diva, Sheila E.) steps in.
Finally, Greg Walker handles all the lead vocals. Walker joined the band for 1976’s Amigos, and his renditions of past hits — as well as the smokin’ “She’s Not There” remake — are one of the high points of this album. He was only with the band for one more record, 1978’s Inner Secrets, but he made his mark with songs like “Open Invitation” and “Well All Right.”
As the band’s first well-known live album (due to record company objection, Lotus was not widely released until 13 years later), Moonflower presents to the world a band whose energy cannot be effectively captured in the studio. From the incredible drive of the percussion intro to “Carnaval,” the first live track on the album, it’s obvious that Santana must be experienced to be truly appreciated.
Although Moonflower is somewhat uneven, both in pacing and song style/quality, overall it is one of Santana’s better albums — a worthwhile addition to any Santana fan’s collection, and a perfect example of how a band with no radio hits for 20 years nevertheless remained a staple of the touring circuit.
Moonflower Song Info
|Dawn / Go Within||Moonflower||Santana, Coster||Santana, Coster|
|Carnaval||Festival||Santana, Coster||Tom Coster|
|Let the Children Play||Festival||Santana, Coster||Carlos Santana|
|Jugando||Festival||Santana, Coster||Carlos Santana|
|I’ll Be Waiting||Moonflower||Santana, Coster||Carlos Santana|
|Zulu||Moonflower||Santana, Coster||Santana, Coster|
|Bahia||Moonflower||Santana, Coster||Santana, Coster|
|Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen||Abraxas||Santana, Coster||Peter Green, Gabor Szabo|
|Dance Sister Dance (Baila Mi Hermana)||Amigos||Santana, Coster||Chancler, Tom Coster, Rubinson|
|Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile)||Amigos||Santana, Coster||Santana, Coster|
|She’s Not There||Moonflower||Santana, Coster||Rod Argent|
|Flor d’Luna (Moonflower)||Moonflower||Santana, Coster||Tom Coster|
|Soul Sacrifice / Head, Hands & Feet||Santana by Santana||Santana, Coster||Santana Band, Graham Lear|
|El Morocco||Moonflower||Santana, Coster||Santana, Coster|
|Transcendance||Moonflower||Santana, Coster||Carlos Santana|
|Savor / Toussaint L’Overture||Santana by Santana / Santana III||Santana, Coster||Santana Band, Carlos Santana|