Various Artists

The Best of the Mambo, Vol. 1 [BMG International]

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It's a tough task to live up to the title, but this RCA collection spans the handful of artists who meant most to the mambo during the '50s: Pérez Prado, Beny Moré, Tito Puente, Machito, Tito Rodriguez, and Noro Morales. The track listing is stellar as well, gathering Prado's "Mambo No. 5" and "The Peanut Vendor," Moré's "Babarabatiri" and "Que Bueno Baila Usted," Morales' "Maracaibo," Machito's "Zambia," and Puente's "Hong Kong Mambo." Collecting 14 tracks is a greater accomplishment than most other Latin compilations, and The Best of the Mambo, Vol. 1 is quite a cheap purchase as well. If you're looking for a short, sharp collection of high-energy mambo, this is it, bar none.

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