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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Gregg Rolie Band

Rain Dance Live

Review by Gary Hill

This live recording by the Gregg Rolie Band will certainly please fans of Santana. Rolie was the original keyboardist and vocalist in that band before moving onto Journey. As this disc shows, his real love is with Santana music. This thing really feels very much like some long lost live Santana recording. The band just plain rocks and this is one of the best live albums I’ve heard in a while. I’d heartily recommend it to anyone who likes classic rock and especially to Santana fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Jingo
They open with a Santana classic, the drums bringing it in with style. It works out to a smoking hot jam. The vocals come over the top, and it feels like the 1960s have come back. There is quite a percussion work out on this tune. It gets some scorching guitar soloing, too.
Going Home
Still feeling a lot like old school Santana, this has less of a tribal and more of a bluesy jazz air. It’s got such a great retro texture.
No One To Depend On
While the first two were strong, this one ups the ante. It’s catchy and quite tasty and really rocks out quite well.
As The Years Go Passing By
A ten-plus minute jam, this is a full on blues romp at the onset. This holds it, getting more intense as it carries on, up to about the middle of the track. Then we are taken out into a killer Beatles-like jam and from there they launch out into a rocker that combines a fired up version of this with same type of musical motifs found in the earlier cuts. This is a great piece of music and one of the more dynamic ones here. It gets quite proggy as they carry on and this might well be the true show-stopper here. The Beatles like jam returns to end it.
Evil Ways
A song that was definitely best known as performed by Santana, it wouldn’t take much to convince someone that this is a live recording of the early version of that band. It is fiery and powerful and just plain tasty. 
Across The Water
This is one of the highlights of the set. It’s a more modern sounding number and yet still has a lot of that old school Santana texture to it. This is meaty and inspiring and has some killer instrumental work. I like it a lot. 
Give It To Me
Featuring some great instrumental showmanship, this is a fiery hard edged retro rocker that works quite well. I can hear some Santana on this, but also some Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton. It’s catchy and very tasty. 
Soul Sacrifice
Another extended jam, this is also another that was definitely associated with Santana in the day. This extended instrumental is a heck of a strong jam and one that gives everyone plenty of chances to show off.
Black Magic Woman
Here’s another that’s definitely tied to Santana. Again, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch of the imagination to be lead to believe that this is some long lost live Santana recording. 
Gypsy Queen
This instrumental is essentially an extension of the previous piece and was another Santana standard. Again it’s not a stretch from that band’s version. 
Oye Como Va
Here we get another Santana trademark. Again it wouldn’t be hard to believe that this is actually that original band. This is a scorching version of this Latin rock classic.
Bailamos El Son
Another Latin rocker, this is more modern, but well rooted in that old school Santana sound.
 
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