Subtitle: 25 outrageous classics from the golden age of Cuba's big bands.
‘…In the late Forties it was the mambo - uptempo, horns-blazing, full of delicious hooklines, but slightly sleazy -that left people panting. What a sound: rumba meets jazz, and uses tongues on the first date!
More (a roustabout who died of cirrhosis of the liver at 44), Celeste Mendoza (his female counterpoint, though less of a raver), Aragon, Orquesta Riverside (named after the fabled jazz label), Arturo 'Chico' O'Farrill (who later played with Charlie Parker, arranged for Basie and was a staffer at CBS), Bebo Valdes (an influential pianist who recently returned to the studio for the Messidor label), Conjunto Casino and others on this compilation all recorded these scintillating sides for the Cuban state label EGREM in the Fifties, on wonderfully warm valve equipment and in the time-honoured live fashion.
Backroom boys like Israel 'Cachao' Lopez, inventor of the mambo (of which
there are seemingly more than alleged Kennedy conspirators) hit the spot every time: gargantuan tunes, brilliant musicianship. Age has not withered them nor custom staled their infinite variety.
Amusingly, none of this stuff has been officially available in the big country to the north: America exerted a petulant total boycott on anything Cuban once the snoops, the gamblers, the Mafiosi and freeloaders were thrown out in 1959 (something to do with a revolution and a bay of pigs). By then mister mambo was merely a memory, madam. It remains one of the most instantly recognisable sounds , today, however, and the chart success of Perez Prado's 'Guaglione' in the UK shows how comfortable present-day audiences are with kitsch Latin music.
Tarnished, perhaps, by the cheap representations in sad ballroom dancing in tourist hotels the world over, but warmly recalled for its unashamed Latino bravado, joie de vivre and faint whiff of Antonio Banderas, or Jim Carrey transformed into a bolero boy, this mambo-and-beyond music is a must for serious (or just plain camp), swinging music lovers….’
(from liner notes)
01. Orquesta Riverside – Mambo
02. Conjunto Roberto Faz - Oriente, Cuna Florida
03. Chico O'Farrill Y Su Orquesta - El Manicero
04. Orquesta Aragon - El Bodeguero
05. Orquesta Hermanos Castro - La Prieta Linda
06. Beny More Y Su Orquesta - Locas Por El Mambo
07. Orquesta Almendra – Almendra
08. Bebo Valdes - Cactus Mambo
09. Los Zafiros - Hermosa Habana
10. Orquesta Hermanos Castro - Fiesta En Sax
11. Tito Gomez & Orquesta Riverside - Yo Me Voy A Pinar Del Rio
12. Beny More Y Su Orquesta - Francisco Guayabal
13. Orquesta Gilberto Valdes - Mambo Rumbon
14. Orquesta Riverside - Mambo Mambi
15. Tito Gomez & Orquesta Riverside - Ahora Seremos Fleices
16. Orquesta America - La Basura
17. Rita Montaner - !Ay! Que Sosphecha
18. Orquesta Riverside - Mocambo
19. Conjunto Casino – Guemba
20. Orquesta Riverside - Ritmando El Cha Cha Cha
21. Beny More Y Su Orquesta - Encantando De La Vida
22. Chico O'Farrill Y Su Orquesta - La Malanguena
23. Orquesta Arcano - Rico Melao
24. Orquesta Riverside - Penthouse Mambo
25. Beny More - Oh, Vida
Issued under licence from EGREM (Cuba)