FC 37158 Zebop!
Produced by Devadip Carlos Santana and Bill Graham
(tracks 3,4,6 by Keith Olsen)
Released on April 1981
US CHART POSITION #9 . . . GOLD RECORD
. . . UK CHART POSITION #33
Find it at GEMM
FC 37158 cover  

I f the old Santana reminded me of a Latin Cream, Zebop! suggests a Latin Clapton: well-chosen covers and some instrumentals that generate real heat. The band had undergone more lineup changes since Marathon, notably new keyboardist Richard Baker, though everyone seems to mesh well. Vocalist Alexander Ligertwood is a spot-on chameleon of a singer whose talents are put to good use, capturing Cat Stevens’ wise half-whisper on “Changes,” reaching deep for the passionate “Brightest Star,” breezing through Russ Ballard’s “Winning” with a bemused country twang, etc. And yet the idea of Santana being reduced to a remarkable cover band turned off some longtime listeners. Lest they feel abandoned, Santana spends half of Zebop! recapturing portions of the old magic, from the delightful “E Papa Re” (which would have been my choice for the single) to sweltering instrumentals like “Hannibal” and “American Gypsy.” And that’s where the Clapton analogy really holds, sweetening the offerings at the shrine of the ancient gods with popular music to placate commercial and creative interests. The band even slips into Clapton’s store of idols for an excellent cover of J.J. Cale’s “The Sensitive Kind” that became a modest hit. Few would suggest that Zebop! is an improvement over their earlier fusion masterworks, but there is something to be said for keeping the band on the radar screen. No doubt they were looking for an amalgam of popular music that played to their peculiar talents, which this record does ostensibly well. By matching the body of the original black beast with a friendlier face (i.e., Ligertwood’s vocals), Santana penetrated markets that would have otherwise remained closed. It was a smart way to keep the band afloat in the ‘80s, when artistic integrity translated into anonymity. Zebop! may not be a meaningful dialogue but it obviously spoke to a lot of people, and music is most of all about communication.

FC 37158 back cover FC 37158 lyric sleeve
FC 37158 back cover FC 37158 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. CHANGES    (Cat Stevens)    4:28
  2. E PAPA RE    (Devadip Santana/Richard Baker/David Margen/Orestes Vilato/Alexander J. Ligertwood)    4:33
  3. PRIMERA INVASION    (Devadip Santana/Graham Lear/David Margen/Alan Pasqua/Chris Solberg)    2:08
  4. SEARCHIN'    (Devadip Santana/Alexander J. Ligertwood/Chris Solberg)    3:55
  5. OVER AND OVER    (Rick Meyers)    4:49
  6. WINNING    (Russ Ballard)    4:11 (*correct track time is 3:29)
  7. TALES OF KILIMANJARO    (Devadip Santana/Armando Peraza/Raul Rekow/Alan Pasqua)    3:25
  8. THE SENSITIVE KIND    (J.J. Cale)    3:33
  9. AMERICAN GYPSY    (Devadip Santana/Richard Baker/Alexander J. Ligertwood/Armando Peraza/Graham Lear/Raul Rekow/David Margen/Orestes Vilato)    3:37
  10. I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH    (Chaim Towber/Don Raye/Alexander Olshanetsky)    4:43
  11. BRIGHTEST STAR    (Devadip Santana/Alexander J. Ligertwood)    4:50
  12. HANNIBAL    (Devadip Santana/Raul Rekow/Alexander J. Ligertwood/Alan Pasqua)    3:43

    Arranged by Santana

CREDITS

RICHARD BAKER -- piano, organ, synthesizers
GRAHAM LEAR -- drums
ALEXANDER J. LIGERTWOOD -- lead vocal, background vocals
DAVID MARGEN -- bass
ARMANDO PERAZA -- bongos, percussion
RAUL REKOW -- congas, percussion, background vocals
DEVADIP CARLOS SANTANA -- lead guitar, percussion, background vocal, associate producer
ORESTES VILATO -- timbales, percussion, background vocals
Alan Pasqua -- keyboards and background vocals
Chris Solberg -- rhythm and background vocals
Fred Catero -- engineer, mixing, associate producer
Keith Olsen -- engineer, mixing
The Santana Band -- associate producer
Mick Brigden -- art direction
Richard Stutting/Artbreakers -- album graphics
Becher Video Productions -- front cover photo
Guido Harari -- sleeve photo
J.P. Jones -- layout

return to SANTANA discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/CAN April 1981 Columbia LP/CS FC 37158 lyric sleeve
UK/NET April 1981 CBS LP/CS 84946/40-84946 lyric sleeve
US   Columbia CD 37158  

 

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