It took a while, ten years in fact, before the music, mood and majesty of the mambo entered the mainstream. Cuban bandleader Perez Prado first introduced the dance at La Tropicana night-club in Havana, and through a natural and gradual process the message quickly spread. Taking its name from a variety of sources including a Haitian voodoo priestess, the mambo was a flamboyant form of self-expression that blended rhythmic swing with ethnic canción.
When the trend made its way north, largely through migrants working in the big cities, the hip and the glamorous in New York went crazy over what they heard. Record company scouts hit the ballrooms and saw first hand how dance-crazed enthusiasts, affectionately known as “mambonicks”, were clamouring to hear the authentic exponents like Tito Puente, Machito and Xavier Cugat. In 1954 the zeitgeist began to infiltrate the pop scene, and the nation’s best-sellers were suddenly blessed with a string of self-evident song titles – ‘Mambo Italiano’, ‘Papa Loves Mambo’ and ‘They Were Doin’ The Mambo’. Similar developments began to stir up the r&b field, not to mention the new rock & roll school. Stalwarts like Ruth Brown, Ivory Joe Hunter and the Robins brought their variations to bear, as did Bill Haley, the Platters and Otis Williams.
It didn’t stop there because the sensuousness started cropping up in other areas as well, particularly through proponents such as Louis Prima, Earl Bostic and Cal Tjader. The name of the dance might not have always been apparent in a title, but the mambo’s percussive groove was clearly apparent in the work of country talents such as Johnny Horton, Janis Martin and Johnny Burnette. Dance studios were quick to add the mambo to their list of styles and steps, and popular TV programmes on both sides of the Atlantic helped familiarize the general public with the necessary dress code. Now, for the first time ever, all of the elements of this fascinating music have been brought together by compiler Stuart Colman for the Fantastic Voyage Double LP “”Mambo in the Mainstream””. One listen and the feelgood factor will ascend to an all-time high.
TRACKLISTING: SIDE A 1 I Got To Learn To Do The Mambo – Ivory Joe Hunter 2 Mine All Mine – LaVern Baker 3 Mambostic – Earl Bostic 4 Out Of The Picture – The Robins 5 Mambo Italiano – Rosemary Clooney 6 Mambo Rock – Bill Haley 7 Honey Love – The Drifters featuring Clyde McPhatter SIDE B 1 Ay Si Si Mambo – The Dootones 2 Papa Loves Mambo – Perry Como 3 Do You Want To Dance – Bobby Freeman 4 Fever – Louis Prima 5 Mambo Baby – Ruth Brown 6 Se De Boom Run Dun – Mickey & Sylvia SIDE C 1 Mamblues – Cal Tjader 2 House Of Bamboo – Earl Grant 3 Mambo Boogie – Johnny Otis Orchestra 4 Mambo Sh-Mambo – Otis Williams & The Charms 5 They Were Doin’ The Mambo – Vaughn Monroe 6 Love Me, Love – Janis Martin SIDE D 1 Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – Johnny Burnette & The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio 2 Lover’s Rock – Johnny Horton 3 All She Wants To Do Is Mambo – Wynonie Harris 4 Shake It Up Mambo – The Platters 5 Loop De Loop Mambo – The Robins 6 Mambo Jambo [aka Que Rico El Mambo] – Perez Prado”