Andy Santana (and The West Coast Playboys)
Watch Your Step!
Delta Groove Music
Andy Santana is a triple threat. He is a vocalist, guitarist and harmonica player. His bands have played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, The Bay Area Music Awards, The Hollywood Hall of Fame Festival, The Santa Cruz Blues Festivals and The San Francisco Blues Festivals. Santana’s bands have backed Willie Dixon, Jimmy Rogers, Billy Boy Arnold, Carey Bell, William Clarke, Lou Ann Barton, Tommy Castro, Chris Cain, Nappy Brown and others. He has toured with Junior Watson and Angela Strehli.
Santana’s first album “Tight White Dress” was released in 1991. His follow up recording was 1998’s “Swingin’ Rockin’ Jumpin’ & Jivin’” on the Hepcat Records label. It featured him with The West Coast Playboys which at the time included Junior Watson and guest guitarists Coco Montoya and Rusty Zinn. In 2007 he released his third recording “Take Me With You”.
Although not as prolific as some Santana proves his metal on this new album due to be released on Oct 16th. Santana’s grasp of old school R n B’ and more specifically that music coming out of Louisiana in the 1950’s and 60’s makes this album great listening.
The album was produced by Santana and Kid Anderson at Anderson’s Greaseland Studios in Campbell, Ca. Except for three tracks that were produced by Zinn.
The album opens with “Knock, Knock” credited to J. West and Carol Fran. The song was originally sung by Fran and released as a single on Excello Records in 1959. Bob Welsh is on piano; Anthony Paule on rhythm guitar, and Frankie Ramos on tenor sax.
The title track “Watch Your Step” was written and released as a single by Bobby Parker in 1961. Parker is best known for this song. Highly recommended is Parker’s 1995 album “Shine Me Up” on the Bullseye Record label. Unfortunately Parker passed in November 2013. On the new version Santana sings and plays both guitar and harmonica; Nate Ginsberg plays piano while Mike Phillips plays bass.
“Play Girl” was written by Dave Bartholomew and originally recorded by Smiley Lewis in the early 1950’s. Santana plays lead guitar; Welsh, piano; the rhythm section is Mike McCurdy, bass; and Robi Bean, drums. This and the next track were produced by Zinn.
“One Way Love Affair” was written and released as a single by ZZ Hill in 1964. Zinn plays rhythm guitar while Nate Ginsberg is on the Hammond B-3.
“Love Sickness” was written and recorded for Stax Records by Sir Mack Rice who also authored “Mustang Sally”. Bob Welsh plays lead guitar while June Core is on drums.
“You May Not Know” was a 1956 single by the little known harmony group The Hurricanes. Paule plays lead guitar.
“No Double Talk” was written by Rick Estrin and Santana. Anderson plays lead guitar. This is the songs debut.
Paule plays lead guitar on “Can’t You See” written by Chuck Willis. Welsh is on piano; and Lorenzo Farrell on the B-3.
“Take Me Back” was a 1960 single for Al Brown and His Tunetoppers on Amy Records. This is the third song produced by Zinn who plays rhythm guitar.
Santana contributes three originals. The first is a seven minute instrumental he calls “Greaseland”. Welsh plays lead guitar on the intro and first break; Santana plays lead on the second break; on the third break the lead is by Paule; Anderson picks up the lead on the 4th break and Mighty Mike Schermer plays lead on the 5th.
“You Smell Like Cookies” is just a whole lotta fun. Paule is on lead, Anderson, rhythm; Welsh, piano, McCurdy, bass; and Bean, drums. “What’s Wrong” features Paule, rhythm; Anderson, baritone guitar; Farrell, B-3; Phillips, bass; and Core, drums.
This R n B’ revivalist closes with “Go On Fool” written by Bartholomew and first recorded by Smiley Lewis in 1957. It was later recorded by Ruth Brown. Anderson is featured on the baritone guitar; Welsh, piano and Core on drums.
These songs are infectiously performed by Santana whose knowledge and grasp of this genre make for a terrific recording. This is highly recommended.