“Mambo Nos.1-4”

Marking the embryonic first steps of Bega’s oeuvre, these largely unheard mambos are shrouded in myth, much like Dylan’s Basement Tapes or The Beach Boys’ SMiLE. A Scandinavian music blogger recently discovered a bootleg purported to contain several attempts at “Mambo #3.” A young, hungry Bega can be heard grappling with the opening line until settling upon “One, two, three, take a mambo with me.” One salivates at the thought of a 20th-Anniversary boxed set containing the rest of these seminal demos.

“Mambo No. 6”

Even die-hard mambo-heads must admit the ramshackle nature of this obvious cash-in attempt, nipping at the heels of the more respected Fifth Mambo. Producers Goar B and Donald Fact eschewed their usual light touch, deciding instead to double-down on the record scratches and adding frenzied announcements of “This is Mambo Number Six, motherfuckers!” awash in digital reverb. Cocaine proved itself, once again, to be both the benefactor and the destroyer of mambo, its muse and its tacky, overwrought downfall.

“Mambo No. 12”

Conceived as a prequel, this little-heard mambo focuses on the liquor store around the corner, and details Bega’s encounters with Angela and Rita. In an attempt at cross-marketing, the lyrics make numerous references to Red Dog Beer, and even coin the phrase “Doggin’ it like a mambo king.” It is Bega’s “Put ‘Em On the Glass.”

Mambo No. 16

Bega is clearly treading water here; inspiration waned as mambo was seen as increasingly irrelevant after Bush was reelected. It’s a shame, as contemporary evidence shows that Bega had been working on a scathing mambo-cycle concerning paranoia and the patriot act. What we got instead were lyrical duds like “Four, eight, twelve, sixteen, here’s a new mambo like you’ve never seen.” More attentive mambonatics were glad to see the return of Mary and Jessica, however.

“Mambo XX
(Mambo Through Time Pt. I)”

Pamela and Sandra appear at the liquor store around the corner. They are revealed to be sex-bots from the future, intent on bringing Bega forward to repopulate the earth. Though friends and family pleaded with Bega to return to his more grounded lyrical territory of objectifying present-day women, the Mambo Through Time concept was well under way. Modern-day critics of this daring sci-fi approach are missing the point (and let’s face it, most critics are hardly true mambros). Sure, production standards slipped as the money ran out and horn samples were replaced by a Roland JX-8P synthesizer once owned by Scorpions producer Deiter Dirks, but Bega’s renaissance as a writer was just beginning to flourish.

“Mambo XXIX
(Mambo Through Time, Pt. IX)”

The liquor store around the corner has crumbled to dust. Monica and Erika have long since given their lives for the resistance. The evil Regulator has outlawed mambo. The world is awash in tones of gray as conformity and fear rule the land. But wait, off in the distance, a man in a white fedora stands tall…

“Mambo 69”

The culmination of Bega’s disappointing and frankly icky Mambo After Dark series, this isn’t even numerically Bega’s 69th mambo. The less said, the better. A disappointing way to cap off a mambo-tastic career of highs and lows, unless reports of a Bega comeback prove true.

Mambo 2015

Mamboholics rejoice! Currently in the works, this mambo was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Health, the Bundesministerium für Gesundheit. Previews of the lyrics suggest that Bega must individually contact Angela, Pamela, Sandra, Rita, Monica, Erika, Tina, Mary, and Jessica to inform them that he has contracted a little bit of herpes.