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  • Writer's pictureMike Conklin

Mini Gem Review!

Parez Prado - "Patricia"

RCA 1958

Perez Prado was a Cuban musician born Damaso Perez Prado in Cuba in 1916. He lived until 1989 where he passed in Mexico. He was an extremely popular bandleader as well as a proficient instrumentalist, composer and all-around swell guy.

Prado was nearly solely responsible for the popularization of the "Mambo" in the mid to late 1950's and into the 1960's.

I must admit, I don't know much about the "mambo" but, apparently, it was quite the (US and abroad) dance and Prado's music underscored the entire thing. I looked it up on youtube and discovered that this is the exact dance I do in my shop when a catchy tune comes on. I'm a NATURAL!

You may have heard of "Mambo No. 5". Most likely if you have heard and enjoyed the Lou Bega "remake" of the song in 1999. I put "remake" in quotes because Bega did a lot of sampling and kind of made it his own thing. And it wasn't bad. ...."a little bit of Monica in my life...". Or, if you are a fan of the Mike Judge film "Office Space", the opening scene where Peter Gibbons is inching his way through excruciating traffic, Perez's "Mambo No. 8" is offering stark, cheerful counterpoint to his pain.

Since this is just a little review to urge you to go listen to something new, I almost bet, without exception, when you stream "Patricia", well, you may not know the exact song, but it is going to make you happier that you were before you listened to it.

The song topped or was in the top 5 of nearly every national and international charts at the time of it's release.

Again, no history lesson here. It's just an instrumental that is a proud representation of what music is and how it can make you feel.

Do yourself a favor and stream this little bit of history. Back when Cuba and the US were pals.

How much great artistry has been lost to old, fat white men telling us who we should and shouldn't like. If you want to explore something that (was, it's getting old itself) shows a bit of what we've been missing from our neighboring island nation, I highly recommend you check out the documentary "Buena Vista Social Club". A film spearheaded by blues/folk great Ry Cooder. You won't regret.

You will learn one thing from that film. People are people. Politicians f*** it up. You will fall in love with some of the characters and see how these fine people manage to get by in a world full of minimum.

I digress...

"Patricia" has been featured in countless films, shows, podcasts, etc. I'll be surprised if it doesn't ring some bells with you. Speaking of film, Frederico Fellini featured the tune prominently in his 1960 masterpiece "La Dolce Vita". I'm a film buff but no snob. I don't think I've seen this film but the name "Fellini" is a keystone in cinema. I don't know Fellini other than by his massive reputation.

I imagine he was the Kubrick of his time. Also, it says his tastes were likely impeccable.

Nevermind all that stuff. The reason I felt compelled to note this piece is because of its exquisite charm. It always puts me in a better mood whenever I hear it. It reminds me of the ball parks, Lucy and Ricky, ice skating rinks, swinging-hips-chips-and-dips, (along with a few martinis) culture my parents were down with in my infant days.

Listen to "Patricia". It will make you smile.

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