. issue X : i .

by barathron

. artist : various artists .
. album : jukebox mambo: rumba and afro-latin accented rhythm & blues 1949-1960 .
. year : 2012 .
. label : jazzman .
. grade : a .


The world music boom that started in Europe and the USA in the 1980’s really isn’t anything new; here’s a collection that reminds us a similar phenomenon happened after World War II. Back then, Cuban rhythms were extremely popular and musicians of all kinds figured out ways to incorporate them into their own styles. Rhythm & blues artists led the way in bringing “the Spanish tinge” (as Jelly Roll Morton had called it in an earlier era) to America’s ballrooms, jukeboxes and charts. This collection digs deep to find 22 relatively obscure sides; among my favorites are tracks that sounds like a Ray Charles mambo (Danny Cobb’s “My Isabella”) and a doo-wop mambo (The Sultans’ “Boppin’ With The Mambo”), a Latinized cover of “The Honeydripper,” maybe the biggest hit produced by Los Angeles’ Pachuco movement (Lalo Guererro’s “Los Chucos Suaves”), and a couple of novelty numbers (“Snake Charmer” and “Pu-Chun-Ga (Sweet One)”) that must be heard to be believed. If you’re a fan of Latin music, post-war R&B or the “Blues Before Sunrise” radio program, this collection is for you. Jukebox Mambo is a great concept, very well executed.

by Bill Lupoletti