KC 32034 Love Devotion Surrender
Produced by Carlos Santana & Mahavishnu John McLaughlin
Released on July 1973
US CHART POSITION #14 . . . UK CHART POSITION #7
Find it at GEMM
KC 32034 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I t begins with an appetizing burst of guitar, ends with a cleansing of the palette, and in between serves up a bucket ‘o noodling that would make the folks at Raman blush. I expected this to be a guitar showcase (which it is), but Love Devotion Surrender left me nonplussed. The songs are little more than spacey jams, interesting and technically impressive at times, but you could find the same fireworks and meditative moods in the work of Santana and Mahavishnu Orchestra with meat on it. Love Devotion Surrender is more like sauce, consistent and flavorful at first, a king of condiments but not the sort of thing you can make a meal out of. (I probably shouldn’t write these things when I’m hungry.) The common ground between both guitarists is the Sri Chinmoy Lighthouse, the religious movement both guitarists belonged to at the time. Fusing members from Santana and Mahavishnu Orchestra into a blended family, Love Devotion Surrender has many mouths to feed, notably organist Larry Young and a rhythm section most would drool over: Billy Cobham, Michael Shrieve, Armando Peraza, Jan Hammer and Don Alias. These musicians balance the contributions from John and Carlos, with bassist Doug Rauch providing an understated anchor. The pairing of heavy percussion and electric guitar recalls the music of Santana, the overt jazz influences lean toward the Mahavishnu side of the family. Much of the album draws its inspiration from the music of John Coltrane; his “Naima” and “A Love Supreme” are featured here as well as “Let Us Go Into The House of The Lord,” a traditional song that Coltrane had put his indelible stamp on earlier. Jazz aficionados might have the patience for a fifteen-minute version of “Let Us Go Into The House of The Lord” consumed mostly with guitar soloing, but somehow following John Coltrane into the musical wilderness was a less risky proposition; Coltrane took you places, McLaughlin and Santana seem to simply kick up a lot of dust while walking around in circles. I don’t want to deter curious minds from seeking this out, since any destination off the beaten path is a walk worth taking, but I have yet to arrive at a satisfactory appreciation for this album.

KC 32034 inner gatefold KC 32034 back cover
KC 32034 inner gatefold KC 32034 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. A LOVE SUPREME    (John Coltrane)    7:48
  2. NAIMA    (John Coltrane)    3:09
  3. THE LIFE DIVINE    (John McLaughlin)    9:30
  4. LET US GO INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD    (Traditional arr. by Carlos Santana/John McLaughlin)    15:45
  5. MEDITATION    (John McLaughlin)    2:45

CREDITS

MAHAVISHNU JOHN McLAUGHLIN -- guitar, piano
CARLOS SANTANA -- guitar
DON ALIAS -- drums
BILLY COBHAM -- drums
JAN HAMMER -- drums
ARMANDO PERAZA -- congas
DOUG RAUCH -- bass
MIKE SHRIEVE -- drums
KHALID YASIN (LARRY YOUNG) -- organ
Glen Kolotkin -- engineer
Ashok -- album design & cover photo
Pranavananda -- other photography
Sri Chinmoy -- essay

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/CAN July 1973 Columbia LP KC 32034 gatefold cover
UK/NET July 1973 CBS LP S69037 gatefold cover
US 1980s Columbia LP/CD PC/CK 32034  
US September 30, 2003 Columbia/Legacy CD 63593 digital remaster

 

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