Watch Your Step!
Delta Groove Music
Though he’s only recorded a few albums of his own,
Andy Santana has been performing since the
’70s. The native Californian is highly regarded as a
triple threat --- singer, guitarist, harmonica
player --- and has fronted the West Coast Playboys
and the Soul Drivers for a number of years while
releasing the occasional album along the way. With
Watch Your Step!, his debut for Delta Groove
Music, Santana is hoping to reach a wider audience
and if there’s any justice in the world, he will.
Santana’s sound has always been an amalgam typical
of West Coast blues, which mixes Chicago and Texas
blues, along with a healthy dose of New
Orleans-styled R&B. The Crescent City connection is
pretty obvious from the opening tune, a dandy cover
of Carol Fran’s “Knock Knock,” which opens with a
hilarious voice-over intro from Santana and Kid
Andersen. The other New Orleans R&B nuggets include
a pair of tunes associated with Smiley Lewis
(“Playgirl” and “Go On Fool”).
Santana also dives off into Southern soul/blues with
Z.Z. Hill’s “One Way Love Affair” and Sir Mack
Rice’s “Love Sickness.” For rocking R&B, check out
his entertaining takes on the Bobby Parker-penned
title track, The Hurricane’s “You May Not Know” and
Al Brown’s “Take Me Back.” The cover of Chuck
Willis’ slow burner “Can’t You See” is also
Santana’s originals include a funky collaboration
with Rick Estrin (“No Double Talk”), the spicy Windy
City-flavored shuffle “You Smell Like Cookies,” and
“What’s Wrong,” which has a 60’s surf guitar vibe.
He also composed “Greaseland,” a cool instrumental
that you wish would go on forever, featuring five
guitarists (in order, Bob Welsh, Santana, Anthony
Paule, Andersen, and Mighty Mike Schermer).
Watch Your Step! is a fantastic, well-rounded
album that will set toes to tapping and heads to
bobbing. Fans of old school blues, rock, and R&B
need this disc in their collection and will be
wanting to hear more from Andy Santana.
--- Graham Clarke