Les Baxter

Que Mango!

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Les Baxter's Que Mango! is considered one of the hallmark albums of the exotica genre, and also his last great release. The album's liner notes claim it to be the last of the first generation exotica albums -- and that it was originally sold in grocery stores for $1.99! Baxter's popularity waned in the late '60s and an offer to record with the world's largest orchestra, the 101 Strings resulted in Que Mango!. The album is an attempt to capture a South American vibe on what is often described as his "virtual tourist" albums. Baxter's Best may have a higher percentage of his better (and more accessible) songs, but it is the thematically unified albums that exotica fans will get more use out of. Recorded in January of 1970, Que Mango! is a fun, lush, orchestral album for creating a go-go, jet-set party atmosphere. This functional use side-steps the reality of the album and the exotica genre itself, which is that lounge instrumentals are not the easiest music to listen to without a cocktail in your hand or a barbecue going on. Standout tracks include "Tropicando," "Flight in the Andes," and "Jungle Montuno." Les Baxter's last non-soundtrack album is a pleasant, but hardly essential, purchase.

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