Classic Rock Review

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Carlos Santana Oneness: Silver Dreams Golden Reality (1979)


Two things are hard to believe. One, that I’ve been a Santana fan for over 4 years and I’m just now learning about a solo album he released in late 1979 called Oneness: Silver Dreams Golden Reality, and two, that such a fantastic album came at the point in Santana’s career where he was beginning to place more emphasis on generic soul/pop and less on innovation concerning his latin rhythms and distinctive guitar solos. The timing of this release is bizarre to say the least.

It’s good though! The title song is the longest track here. Over 6 minutes long, and it’s a guitar jam. Not only that, but it strongly resembles that of “Flame Sky” from his Welcome album where he teamed with John McLaughlin. Unfortunately it doesn’t contain *nearly* the same level of intensity as that one did, but it’s still a highly memorable guitar jam. Worth hearing? Absolutely. He does a really good guitar trick around the 4 1/2 minute mark worth noting. “Life Is Just a Passing Parade” resembles another Welcome track with the funky intro before quickly turning into a soulful vocal melody-driven track with a wonderful keyboard and guitar jam at the end. This is actually another highlight because the funky rhythm and the instrumental variety is quite refreshing.

I’m not sure if “Song for Devadip” is considered a guitar jam or a guitar melody. This is because it basically consists of a melodic guitar solo looping for a few minutes. You can almost dance to it! “Silver Dreams and Golden Smiles” is a little on the cheesy side thanks to the lush vocal melody, and I believe I even detect an orchestration in the background. Eh, it’s alright but it’s almost hilarious the way it’s sung! It sounds like one of those traditional Christmas songs you’d be exposed to on Christmas Eve when all the radio stations switch over to 24 straight hours of Christmas music. Obviously it’s not a Christmas song, but the vocal melody is so corny you have no choice but to let out a little laugh. Like I said though, I can’t quite hate it.

“Transformation Day/Victory” begins with a really cool intro that I believe is a synthesizer before immediately switching into a boogie jam focusing around piano and Santana’s guitar work. Not quite as breathtaking as the intro but hey, it’s pretty good nonetheless. Actually on repeated listens, I notice the guitar and piano are actually alternating back and forth. It’s pretty unique and puts a radically new spin on the boogie rock formula. This song is really awesome after all. “Light Versus Darkness” is an onimous intro before the explosive arrival of “Jim Jeannie”, which consists of sparse drum fills and then an explosive guitar and synth jam not really any different from something the Mahavishnu Orchestra would have done from their Birds of Fire album. It’s highly enjoyable.

“Free as the Morning Sun” is another soulful ballad with richly performed latin piano work and delicate synths appearing in the background. This song is like a fitting farewell to the Santana of the 70’s as he walks into the sunset… and enters the dreaded pop years of the 80’s, haha. Well I like *some* of his 80’s work. “Winning” is an incredible pop song. Anyway, to continue the review, “Cry of the Wilderness” is a melodic guitar instrumental similar to “Song for Devalip”. A really good one too. It reminds me of… something I can’t quite figure out. “Guru’s Song” is a quiet, harmless and melodic guitar/piano instrumental that is *incredibly* beautiful if you ask me.

Overall, fans of Welcome and Borboletta absolutely must own this album. Why it slipped under the radar and has remained that way even to this very day doesn’t make sense to me. Oh well. You can fix that problem by listening to it.

April 15, 2013 Posted by | Carlos Santana Oneness: Silver Dreams Golden Reality | | Leave a comment