Pérez Prado

Don't blame the fiery Pérez Prado for that enervating Louie Vega remake of "Mambo #5," though you could possibly blame him for Ricky Ricardo, as well as America's continuing obsession with the sensual Latino experience. Even James Brown's infamous grunts and "hunh"s are echoed in the hollers of this diminutive Cuban band leader, and he has been covered by everyone from Louis Armstrong to Ry Cooder. Twenty-two dizzying percussion-heavy selections here serve as a perfect introduction to the Mambo King. The brazenly lazy trumpet fanfare of "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" was a hit-parade classic, while the brass explodes through the snaky rhythms of "Skokiaan." The zoot-suited Prado loves the ladies too, making gazonga-shaking mambos for Marilyn Monroe and naming slinky songs for chiquitas like "Anna" and "Patricia." Perhaps he wanted a little bit of Snow White in his life too, cutting a funky version of the Seven Dwarfs' chant "Heigh-Ho."


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