Pérez Prado

Kuba Mambo 1947-1949

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Featuring sides recorded in Cuba during the late '40s, Kuba Mambo contains early tracks by Perez Prado and his orchestra. Whether due to a low-fi studio or an under-rehearsed band, many of the tracks unfortunately sound rough, at times having the edge of an obscure live recording. And even though Prado did make some quality recordings around this time (namely with singer Benny More), most of the cuts here sound amateurish; instead of the seamless and fleet blend of brass, percussion, and vocals heard on later classics like "Que Rico El Mambo," the playing on Kuba Mambo sounds limp and out of sync. On the plus side, there's plenty of raw, percussion-heavy tunes like the piano and conga feature "Mi Cazuelita," as well as a few standout vocal numbers such as "No Me Quieras Tanto." For the most part, though, Kuba Mambo sounds ill-formed and certainly pales in comparison to later Prado compilations on Tumbao, like Al Compas del Mambo. In spite of more than a few intriguing moments, this album is best suited to Prado enthusiasts, not newcomers.

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