The Bottom Line
- Originals versions of songs that made the world crazy for mambo
- Prado's heavy brass, grunting and other sound effects not for everyone
- 22 tracks covering Prado's most famous numbers from 1949-1959
- Contains original Mambo #5 (made famous more recently by Lou Bega)
- Big hits: Cherry Pink, Apple Blossom White, Patricia, Quien Sera (Sway), Frenesi
- Released by RCA Records
- Distributed by Sony BMG Legacy Recordings
Guide Review - CD Review: The Best of Perez Prado: The Original Mambo No. 5
To early baby boomers, this music is nostalgic and bound to bring back memories of growing up in what today seems like the kinder, gentler, Eisenhower era (OK, let’s not think about the ‘cold war’ scares). But X & Y-geners won’t feel left out. “Mambo #5” was revived by Lou Vega in 1999; “Quien Sera” (“Sway”, made famous by Dean Martin) is omnipresent in any film featuring Latin dancing, as is “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas” (“Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps”) although the version sung by Doris Day is far more familiar.
Prado’s brand of mambo is less complex than the music of some of his contemporaries, but that might well be the reason it was so attractive to mainstream America. His use of blazing brass to punctuate and startle are unique, although they sometimes serve to overshadow rather than to highlight the melody.
However you might feel about Prado’s stylistic inventions, there is no doubt that his music is seminal and classic to an era. I like this album because it contains just about all of Prado’s classic hits in the version that was the standard on the airwaves of the day. By that standard, this album is exceptional.