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More great blues from Rhythm & Blues Records


Various Artists - Rumba Blues

History Of Rhythm And Blues 1925-1942

History Of Rhythm And Blues 1942-52

Beatles Beginnings Vol.1

Rolling Stones Beginnings Vol.1

Rumba Blues - The Mambo Years
Various Artists

©Rhythm And Blues Records 2010

Second CD in the How Latin Music Changed Rhythm And Blues series. An illustrated 32 page booklet includes detailed sleeve notes with track-by-track commentary on each song.

Latin rhythms have infiltrated every new branch of popular music. Jelly Roll Morton and W.C. Handy incorporated the Cuban habanera into early jazz and blues; the Argentinean tango found its way into twenties dance-band music; the Brazilian baion, samba and bossa nova styles wound their way throughout the century colouring the sixties beat boom and the drum’n’bass of the nineties. But none had such an all-pervasive influence as the rumba. Xavier Cugat’s percussion-led rumba orchestras helped to liberate dancers from stuffy foxtrots and waltzes in the 1930’s, opening up an altogether more sensual world of excitement and exoticism.

Machito brought the mambo from Havana to New York in 1941 but added a four-horn section to the traditional Cuban sextet. After the end of World War II, Perez Prado’s orchestra beefed up the sound with kit drums along with harmonic ideas and fiery brass riffs borrowed from swing. His sound had big commercial appeal and when it was accompanied by a specially designed dance, the mambo spread rapidly throughout South America. Prado toured the US for the first time in 1951 and within a couple of years, it was being danced throughout the nation. 1954 was the year of the mambo in America as crowds flocked to the ballrooms to see the exciting new Latin bands. To cash in on the craze, record companies encouraged their pop and R&B artists to write songs in a Latin vein with the word mambo in the title.

The samba was also making its presence felt during the mid-50’s. Its roots are linked to the rituals of the Candomblé religion from Bahia in north east Brazil. It is the spring in the beat and the almost imperceptible skip at the end of each measure that differentiate it from Cuban rhythms. The repetitive riff making over a groove so beloved of the 60’s and 70’s springs not from the blues but from Latin song-form and the vamps and montunos found in samba and mambo. Note the similarity between Machito’s Freezelandia and the Beatles’ Day Tripper and between Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water and Carmen Miranda’s’s Baia.

In post-war popular music, rumba is everywhere, from Elvis’ Hound Dog to the Clash’s Rock The Casbah. Thanks to Bo Diddley, its 3-2 clave rhythm became an integral part of American music and continues to cast its spell over current day sounds.



1. Baby Please Don't - Go Rose Mitchell
2. Thirteen Women - Dickie Thompson
3. Griff's Mambo - Griffin Brothers
4. I Cried - Jimmy McCracklin
5. I Feel So Bad - Chuck Willis
6. Dye-Ooh Mambo - Chuck Higgins
7. Salty Dog - Marvin Phillips
8. Lovey Dovey - The Clovers
9. Mambocito Mio - Illinois Jacquet
10. Mambo Baby ToNite - Candy Rivers & The Falcons
11. New Kind Of Mambo - Big Maybelle
12. Mambo Baby - Ruth Brown
13. Mambo Gunch - Chris Powell & The Blue Flames
14. Let's Babalu - The Platters & Linda Hayes
15. Mambo - Joe Houston
16. Here Comes The Train - Bob Roubain with Cliffie Stone
17. Mambo Blues - Duke Jenkins
18. One Night - Smiley Lewis
19. We Like Mambo - Huey "Piano" Smith
20. Hey, Bo - Eddie Bo
21. Blow Wind Blow - Junior Gordon
22. Slippin' And Slidin' - Little Richard
23. Thirty Days - Clyde McPhatter
24. Can't Stop Loving - Elmore James
25. Congo Mombo - Guitar Gable
26. Evil - Howlin' Wolf
27. Bo Diddley (take 2) - Bo Diddley
28. Mambo Chillun - John Lee Hooker
29. Drifting Heart - Chuck Berry
30. Harlem Nocturne - Neil Lewis and His Quintet

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