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December 2015

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Andy Santana
Watch Your Step!
Delta Groove Music

Andy Santana

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 first-rate.

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
Read Graham's blog


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