The King of the Mambo Universe: Perez Prado. This: his finest album. Voodoo Suite's first half is the title track, a side-long suite of epic proportions. Hard hard swinging brass, Afro-Cuban ferocity, wild chanting, and voodoo drums with a pummeling sensuality. I heard a story that Perez actually staged a fight in the studio to attain "authentic" or visceral sounds of some kind. This suite is a masterpiece, a terrifying and gratifying journey into that popular fiction of jungle darkness and taboo ritual, full of danger, pleasure, violence, and lust. This is one of my favorite Exotica selections ever, hands-down.
Side two opens on a furious rendition of "St. James Infirmary Blues," which is really just one of the Great Songs of the World, and the band slays it. It's awesome, in the way the Bible uses the word Awesome.
The rest of the album is good in the way Prado is always good. Hard-swinging mambos with a goofy pop touch, lush sensuality, superb production, and a surprisingly hard edge. Great, great record.
VOODOO SUITE (192)
Made many years later, Exotic Suite has a similar format, and is sort of a companion piece to Voodoo Suite. It's not quite as electrifying, but it's still pretty incredible, resembling much more a traditional Exotica record, with its liberal and deft use of lush string arrangements-- and less frantic voodoo-mambo breakouts, for better or worse.
Side two, again, is comprised of more standard pop/mambo instrumentals, but they're all really good. They will make you yearn to dance on an outdoor patio on a cool summer night.
Perez Prado is one of the greats, oh my friends, and these are two of his greatest works. Avail yourselves of his mastery, and revel in his art.
EXOTIC SUITE (192)