AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Speakers Corner / Columbia - PC 32445 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
AAA 100% Analogue - Limited Edition
Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
Speakers Corner 25 Years Pure Analogue This LP is an Entirely Analogue Production
Many of Santana’s rock-addict fans could well have understood the inviting word "Welcome" on the white LP cover as an attempt to break away from the spiritual aura of his previous album "Love Devotion Surrender". And the musicians certainly managed to produce a rich Latin feeling, with such titles as "Samba De Sausalito" and "Yours Is The Light". But luckily their concessions did not alienate them from their die-hard fans in that they came up with a sort of copy of the rhythmical "Caravanserai" .
They truly attempted something new. Encouraged by the success of the jazz-fusion formula created by Miles Davis and his disciples, Santana combined his virtuoso guitar playing with specially chosen electronic features.
The amazingly acrobatic jazz vocalists Leon Thomas and Wendy Haas contributed complicated, quirky parts and the maestro himself vies with John McLaughlin in a dense conflict carried out on their instruments in "Flame Sky".
This is an album with a strong intellectual drive and offers the discerning listener a dazzling blend of Latin, jazz and fusion.
"The mark that the recording of Caravanserai and Love Devotion Surrender had left on Carlos Santana was monumental. The issue of Welcome, the band's fifth album and its first with the new lineup, was a very ambitious affair and was regarded by traditional fans of Santana with even more strangeness than its two predecessors. However, issued as it was at the end of 1973, after Miles had won a Grammy for Bitches Brew and after Weather Report, Return to Forever, and Seventh House had begun to win audiences from the restless pool of rock fans, Santana began to attract the attention of critics as well as jazz fans seeking something outside of the soul-jazz and free jazz realms for sustenance. The vibe that carried over from the previously mentioned two albums plus the addition of vocalist Leon Thomas to the fold added a bluesy, tougher edge to the sound showcased on Caravanserai.
The band's hard root was comprised of Carlos, drummer Michael Shrieve, bassist Doug Rauch, and keyboard king Tom Coster. Add to this the percussion section of Armando Peraza and Chepito Areas as well as a second keyboard by Richard Kermode, and space was the place. The John Coltrane influence that inspired the Santana/John McLaughlin pairing on Love Devotion Surrender echoes here on "Going Home," the album's opening track, arranged by Coltrane's widow, pianist and harpist Alice. The deeper jazz fusion/Latin funk edge is articulated on the track "Samba de Sausalito," and to a much more accessible degree on "Love, Devotion & Surrender," which features Thomas growling through the choruses and also features Wendy Haas, a keyboardist on Love Devotion Surrender who is enlisted here as a second vocalist. In fact, her pairing with Thomas on Shrieve's "When I Look Into Your Eyes" is nothing less than beatific. McLaughlin makes a return appearance here on the stunningly beautiful guitar spiritual "Flame Sky." Brazilian song diva Flora Purim is featured on "Yours Is the Light," a gorgeous Afro-Brazilian workout that embraces Cuba son, samba, and soul-jazz. Welcome also marked the first appearance of French soprano saxophonist Jules Broussard on a Santana date.
He would later collaborate with Carlos and Alice Coltrane on Illuminations. Ultimately, Welcome is a jazz record with rock elements, not a rock record that flirted with jazz and Latin musical forms. It is understandable why Santana punters would continue to be disenchanted, however. Welcome was merely ahead of its time as a musical journey and is one of the more enduring recordings the band ever made. This is a record that pushes the envelope even today and is one of the most inspired recordings in the voluminous Santana oeuvre." - Thom Jurek, allmusic.com
Recording: April - June 1973 by Glen Kolotkin Production: Carlos Santana, Maitreya Michael Shrieve and Tom Coster Format:
Carlos Santana, guitar, vocals
John McLaughlin, guitar
Tom Coster, keyboard, vocals
Jules Broussard, saxophone
David Brown, bass
Armando Peraza, percussion, vocals
José Chepitó Areas, percussion
Michael Shrieve, drums
1. Going Home
2. Love, Devotion, and Surrender
3. Samba de Sausalito
4. When I Look Into Your Eyes
5. Yours Is the Light
6. Mother Africa
7. Light of Life
8. Flame Sky
25 Years pure Analogue
Are your records completely analogue?
Yes! This we guarantee!
As a matter of principle, only analogue masters are used, and the necessary cutting delay is also analogue. All our cutting engineers use only Neumann cutting consoles, and these too are analogue. The only exception is where a recording has been made – either partly or entirely – using digital technology, but we do not have such items in our catalogue at the present time
Are your records cut from the original masters?
In our re-releases it is our aim to faithfully reproduce the original intentions of the musicians and recording engineers which, however, could not be realised at the time due to technical limitations. Faithfulness to the original is our top priority, not the interpretation of the original: there is no such thing as a “Speakers Corner Sound”. Naturally, the best results are obtained when the original master is used. Therefore we always try to locate these and use them for cutting. Should this not be possible, – because the original tape is defective or has disappeared, for example – we do accept a first-generation copy. But this remains an absolute exception for us.
Who cuts the records?
In order to obtain the most faithful reproduction of the original, we have the lacquers cut on the spot, by engineers who, on the whole, have been dealing with such tapes for many years. Some are even cut by the very same engineer who cut the original lacquers of the first release. Over the years the following engineers have been and still are working for us: Tony Hawkins, Willem Makkee, Kevin Gray, Maarten de Boer, Scott Hull, and Ray Staff, to name but a few.
At the beginning of the ‘90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the reissue policy was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC Compact Classics, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and others, including of course Speakers Corner, all maintained a mutual, unwritten code of ethics: we would manufacture records sourced only from analogue tapes.
Vinyl’s newfound popularity has led many other companies to jump on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source from which to master: CDs, LPs, digital files and even MP3s.
Even some who do use an analogue tape source employ a digital delay line, a misguided ’80s and ‘90s digital technology that replaces the analogue preview head originally used to “tell” the cutter head in advance what was about to happen musically, so it could adjust the groove “pitch” (the distance between the grooves) to make room for wide dynamic swings and large low frequency excursions. Over time analogue preview heads became more rare and thus expensive.
So while the low bit rate (less resolution than a 16 bit CD) digital delay line is less expensive and easier to use than an analogue “preview head”, its use, ironically, results in lacquers cut from the low bit rate digital signal instead of from the analogue source!
Speakers Corner wishes to make clear that it produces lacquers using only original master tapes and an entirely analogue cutting system. New metal stampers used to press records are produced from that lacquer. The only exceptions are when existing metal parts are superior to new ones that might be cut, which includes our release of “Elvis is Back”, which was cut by Stan Ricker or several titles from our Philips Classics series, where were cut in the 1990s using original master tapes by Willem Makkee at the Emil Berliner Studios. In those cases we used only the original “mother” to produce new stampers.
In addition, we admit to having one digital recording in our catalogue: Alan Parsons’ “Eye in the Sky”, which was recorded digitally but mixed to analogue tape that we used to cut lacquers.
In closing, we want to insure our loyal customers that, with but a few exceptions as noted, our releases are “AAA”— analogue tape, an all analogue cutting system, and newly cut lacquers.
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