Pérez Prado

Cocktail Hour

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Weary denizens of the 21st century in search of a tonic to combat the effects of sleep deprivation and ennui may wish to resort to Columbia River's double-dip Cocktail Hour sampler of hits by Cuban bandleader Pérez Prado (1916-1989). This little eye-opener was released in 1999 just as the Energy Drink industry was increasing it efforts to revolutionize human behavior in the United States of America. It is well stocked with punchy performances by Prado's piquant Latin American big band, including obligatory favorites like the sassy "Cerezo Rosa" and "Mambos" 8 and 5. Many of the titles also appear on Prado's RCA, Orfeon, and Proper collections. The Cocktail Hour series is designed for casual listening, as are virtually all of Prado's albums, for unlike Cugat, Arnaz, Machito, Puente, and Rós, it is next to impossible to locate a comprehensive chronological overview of Prado's recorded output. Suffice to say that his records were immensely popular and spawned numerous mambo-inspired imitations, the weirdest perhaps being "Aruba Liberace" from the soundtrack of the 1965 MGM motion picture When the Boys Meet the Girls, which starred Connie Francis, Harve Presnell, Louis Armstrong, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, Herman's Hermits, and glitzy piano virtuoso Liberace. But that's another story altogether.

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