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About mento:  What Is Mento?   What Mento Isn't    Can I Buy Mento Recordings? 
 Non-mento Cover Versions of Mento Songs    Related Sites 
1950s
artists:
  Lord Fly   Count Lasher    Lord Tanamo    Count Sticky  Lord Messam 
 Count Owen    Lord Flea    Lord Lebby    Harold Richardson & The Ticklers  
  Arthur Knibbs    Chin's Calypso Sextet, A. Bedasse, E. F. Williams & Ivan Chin  
Later
artists:
 The Jolly Boys    Stanley Beckford    The Hiltonaires   Lord Antics 
 Sugar Belly    Mento Bands Performing At Jamaican Hotels and Elsewhere 
 Carlton James and The Rod Dennis Mento Band   Naaman Lee 
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mento:
 More Artists and Favorite Song Clips    Download Mento Screen Backgrounds   Mento Video 
  The Jamaican Music Roadmap   A cross-reference of all mento lyrics found on this site
Mento related:  Bob Marley & The Wailers & mento   Toots & The Maytals & mento   Mento & Jazz    Foreign Mento 
 Harry Belafonte and mento    Edric Connor, Louise Bennett and Jamaican folk music    Mento Souvenirs 
  
More Middle Period Single Scans

 

Page last revised: 10/4/16

 

?

Jump
to:
  Assorted    Mento-Reggae    King Barou     EPs, Picture Sleeves, etc.     Count Zebra's single 
  From the collection of Matt Dinsmore     From the collection of Jeremy Collingwood   Also see...  


Assorted Scans of Singles From Mento's Middle Period 

   On the Calypso Time label is a 45 RPM single by Cecil "Lord" Myrie:

"Don't Roll Those Bloodshot
   Eyes At Me"            b/w:
"Darling I'm Starving So"

They are taken from this LP.


Though this single appeared in the 160s, the album they are drawn from Also recorded in the 1950s by Lord Lebby. this recording further establishes how R&B singer Wynonie Harris' "Bloodshot Eyes" entered the mento repertoire.

    Here's a well sung and interesting record from 1961:

On the Peoples Records label, a single by The Planners:

"Vote Your Head"    b/w:
"Its In The Plan
  (With Spoken Statements)"


This is an overt election record, the likes of which can only have come from Jamaica. It was an advertisement for Prime Minister candidate Norman Manley in the 1962 election. His campaign slogan was "follow the man with the plan", giving the group and one side of the record their names.  

"Vote Your Head" has an R&B-mento sound. Its in ring-game, style as a child's song is made to give instruction on why one should vote Manley. It features a female lead vocalist backing a pair of male vocalists.

"Its In The Plan" is a spritely R&B song sung by two male singers singing Manley's campaign promises interspersed with recorded statements from Manley dropped in.

Cool record, but Manley lost this election. Whoever The Planners  were, they were never heard from under this name again.

I don't know if it was a hit as the label indicates, but here on the GG's label, produced by Alvin Ranglinis, is the mento instrumental "Cut Munoo" played in a suitable rural style by The Kiemanaires. The vocal flip side, "Standing By The Shoreline" also by by The Kiemanaires, is not a mento song.

On the Port-O-Jam label, produced by Coxsone Dodd, a mento single by Roy Richards and The Ramblers:
 
"Linstead Market" b/w:
Wheel O Matilda  / Hill and Gully Rider 
(Wheel O Matilda is actually "We Love Matilda)

There is harmonica, electric rhythm guitar and Latin influenced drums. 

 

On the WIRL label -- surprisingly pressed on red vinyl -- is the a 45 RPM single:

"John Tom" by Derrick Harriot with Audley Williams and Combo, backed with
"Solas Market" by Audley Williams and Combo.

"John Tom" was included in the 2006 collection "Dip And Fall Back" and is described on the "Can I Buy Mento?" page. "Solas Market" is an unreleased instrumental. On both sides, flute is the lead instrument over multiple percussion players, bass and guitar. The overall sound is similar to that heard on the 1968 LP "Jamaican Carnival at The Myrtle Bank", by Baba Motta.

On the obviously named but uncommon Mento Records label is "Mongoose In Mento" backed with "Out of Many, One People" by Baba Motta and His Orchestra featuring Ernest Ranglin.
 
 

A date of 12/5/63 is said to written in the run-off groove.

The writing on the label does not appear to be autographs.

Taken from the LP of the same name is "Rukumbine" by Carlos Malcolm and his Afro Jamaican Rhythms.  The b-side is "Jack The Ripper". The LP can be seen here.

 

Private label mento?

Courtesy of Mark Kukta of Jacksonville, Florida, here are some interesting artifacts. A 1966 single consisting by an unknown Jamaican band recorded at an Avis corporate meeting in Jamaica as a souvenir for the attendies:

"Linstead Market"   b/w
"Avis Calypso" (to the melody of "Jamaica Farewell")

    

From its location, date and sound, Daniel Neely was able to triangulate that the unnamed group is The Hiltonaires. He believes that the lineup is Carlton Lewis (singer/maracas?), Wilfred Stephenson on the Bamboo Sax, Lindel Hewie guitar, Cecil Largie on conga and Cecil Lawes on the rumba box.

Courtesy of Matthias Münchow of Hamburg, Germany is "Calypso Mama" by The Barons on Byron Smith's label, Baron's.  Many reggae fans have this mento side, as it the b-side of Nora Dean's classic reggae hit, "Barbwire". Matthias describes recording as being based on "Peanut Vendor", which though part of the mento repertoire, was originally a Cuban song. Explains Matthias:
 
The first version of the Peanut Vendor was done by Rita Montaner in 1927 but it lacked the typical bass line. This was introduced by Don Azpiazú and Havana Casino Orchestra in 1930 - and it became an international hit.

"Calypso Mama" an instrumental with occasional shouting ("Ayayay" and some other words, perhaps "Mama come and ... it up" and  "I hit them all"). Penny whistle is the lead instrument along with guitar and rumba box, played in a very hectic manner.

                  

Here is a single on Sue Records by Percy Dixon and His Merry Boys:

"Balimbo" backed with "Bloodshot Eyes"

More on this band and the LP this single is drawn from can be seen here.

Once again, courtesy of Dan Neely is this scan "Yellow Bird", by Lord Composer, on Coxsone Dodd's Port-O-Jam label. Composer recorded two classic 1950s sides (go More here Artists and Song Clips page for more on these, including clips). However, Dan describes this disc as being far more notable for the autograph than the music. It reads,

 "God bless you, From Lord Composer, Shaw Park Beach Hotel, Ocho Rios." This single was also released on the Composer and WIRL labels. To the right is the b-side, Jamaica Lulabye, also autographed (though more simply), but from a different record.

Perhaps the same single as seen immediately above is this release of "Yellow Bird" on the Kalypso label. The b-side is "Jamaica Lullaby". The tracks are credited to Lord Composer and His Happy Boys.

The sleeve is autographed. It reads:

"Keep Me Among Your Souvenirs
  From Lord Composer".

From the collection of Kenichiro Takeda of Japan, a two 1965 mento 45 RPM singles.
 

  First, on Port-O-Jam is "Cutting Wood", produced by Coxsone Dodd, by female mento singer Girl Wonder. This pseudonym is not nearly as well known as her real name. Also included is a photo of the b-side, "Mommy Out The Light", taken from another disc.

Second, on the Top Sound label, a rural mento version of
"Peanut Vendor" by The Diggers, produced by
Neville Foo-Loy
. Peanut Vendor is a popular
mento instrumental that is said to have migrated to
Jamaica from Cuba. The b-side is a ska song.
Here is the above single on green vinyl.

From the collection of Allen Kaatz of the US:, on the Wasp label, Euton Gale and The Seasiders:

The Landlord    b/w
Mash Potato

Euton (Lord) Gayle was Count Owen's banjo player.

   A single by Denzil Laing and The Wrigglers on the Kalypso label:

"The Little Fly"       b/w
"Welcome To The Arawak". 

The latter uses the melody of "Take Her To Jamaica"

 These tracks musically and thematically are a companion to their
"Sing Calypsos At The Arawak Hotel" LP.

Courtesy of Matthias Münchow of Germany, an Island Records release of the single "Rub Up" by Dennis Sindrey.

According to Roots Knotty Roots, this UK release was originally released in 1962 in Jamaica on the D Darling label, produced by CS Dodd, and was originally titled "Jamaican Song (Rub Up)". This release can be seen below.

  On the Black Swan label, a 1963 single by popular calypsonian Lord Kitchener,

"Jamaican Woman" backed with "Love In The Cemetery"


For more on "Jamaican Woman", including the CD compilation that makes it available today, visit the "Can I Buy Mento" page.

The flip side is the hit "Love In The Cemetery", which has made it into the mento repertoire (covered, for example, by The Jolly Boys and King Barou) as well as being covered by the reggae DJ team of Clint Eastwood and General Saint, as "Talk About Run".  

On the SOMB label is a single by The Joy Makers.
The unseen flipside "Zombie Jamborie" is "Big Bamboo".

This single is taken from The Joy Makers LP, "Jamaica Calypso Souvenir", as seen here. A brief video clip of the Joy Makers performing can be seen on this site's "Mento Video" page.

On the Venus label is a Christmas single, credited to Studio 3.

The pictured side is "Jingle Bells (Mento)"

The unseen flip is "Little Drummer Boy (Reggae)"

I have not heard this single.


A single on the Melodisc label by the obscure George Brown, one of many who reacted to Harry Belafonte's massive  popularity.

Farewell Jamaica            b/w  
Day-O .

 

Melodisc was a UK label that re-released some mento recording for UK fans in the early 60s. The sound is dominated by electric guitar percussion, lead and backing vocals.

 

A single on the Kalypso label by the obscure Lord Rose and The Beachcombers.

Independent Jamaica        b/w  
Twistin' Uncle.

Authorship of both songs is  credited to "Abrahams, Rose".


Rose
is not known to me. Sir Horace's actual surname is Abrahams, though I do not know if this is the him. The sound is rural mento, though a professional saxophone rather than a bamboo instrument is heard.

If the song titles don't give it away, the advent of putting the publication date on the label shows that this "golden age" single is not a 1950s release, but from 1962.

 
   

Here's the same 45, this time on the Go Calypso Go label courtesy of Peter Roth from Germany, who runs the www.skaville.de website.

 

A single on the Jesuit Music label by Father Richard HoLung and Friends:  

Christmas Mento        b/w  
Christmas Mento [Instrumental]

No producer is named, but Calvin Thomas is credited as "instrumentalist".
 

It's a combination of folk vocals, gospel lyrics, and well played calypso-ish mento with prominent fife. And quite good.

 

A single by Chuck Girard on the High Note label (signifying production by Sonia Pottinger):

He Very Short        b/w  
Gwendolyn

 


"He Very Short" is a humorous flute lead calypso-y urban mento with some nice acoustic guitar. "Gwendolyn" is not mento, nor reggae, but a melodramatic pop potboiler. 



The first side of a single on the Humming Bird label, produced by either Webb Ralston or Arkland Parks:

Cornmeal Dumpling - Drumbago and His Band
     backed with
Jamaica Mento - Webb Ralston and The Drumbago Band

Sorry, a larger image of the a-side is not available. The image of the b-side comes courtesy of Allen Kaatz.

"Cornmeal Dumpling" is a horns led instrumental. It has the urban mento sound heard just before the ska beat changed everything. Drumbago's drums, along with a hand drum player, steal the show. They evoke Latin, mento, buru and jazz.

"Jamaica Mento" can be heard on the collection "Trojan Jamaica Box Set" and is described a bit here.

 

Here is the same single, this time on the Ray-Mar label. The band credit is chganged to R. Webb and The Rocks.

 

Courtesy of Jurjen Borregaard of Amsterdam from Riddim Shower, here is a quadrille single on the Joe Gibbs label from The McBeth Orchestra:

Golden Favourites
     b/w
Grandfathers Polka

   

Click here to see an album by by The McBeth Orchestra and for more on the role of
Quadrille for mento bands.

Clyde Hoyte began recording mento in the 1950s for Stanley Motta. (One of these tracks was compiled on the MRS/London LP.) He released recordings intermittently well into the 1970s.

On the Clyde label, courtesy of Jumbo from Riddim Shower, here is a single by The Harmony Heralds, with Clyde Hoyte's involvement, as he is the producer, owns the Clyde label and may be singing lead. 

Jamaica Calling        b/w
No More Strangers
 

  
   

"Jamaica Calling" is a ballad with acoustic guitar and spare harmonica. "No More Strangers" is a friendly spirited mento with lilting acoustic guitar and flute. Boris Gardiner's Happening is credited as the backing band for this side. 

Here is a related Clyde single, this time pairing "Jamaica Calling" with the mento song "Cudelia Brown", an instrumental credited to Dennis Haynes, backed by Boris Gardiner's Happening,
 

With an unhelpfully enlarged hole, here is an odd Kalypso 45 from the start of the 1960s by Sonny Bradshaw & His Orchestra,

"Collie Smith's Calypso"  b/w:
"Sweet As A Dream

Though calling it a mento single would be a stretch, this 45 is of

   
 

interest to mento fans. Both sides were written by important Jamaican musical figure and sometimes mento singer Clyde Hoyte.

"Collie Smith's Calypso" is about a storied West Indian cricketer. His tragic death in 1959 also spurred Laurel Aitken's  "Tribute To Collie Smith". It is indeed a calypso-y affair. Hoyte handles vocals.

"Sweet As A Dream" is better described as period pop-vocals than as mento, calypso or jazz. Vocals are handled by Sheila Richard & The City Printery Goup.

Also, in 1970, reggae group Seven Letters (also know as Symarip) released several songs of interest. One was a harmonica driven instrumental mento version of "Hold Him Joe". Second a reggae cover of "Bam Bam Bargie". Finally was "La Bella Jig", a quadrille track. Thanks to Gibb Schreffler of Santa Barbara, California for pointing this out. Each of these tracks can all be heard on Symarip CDs.

Mento-Reggae

In the mid to late 1960s, a number of "mento-ska" LPs were released. ("Let's Dance The Ska" by Lord Gayle and "Ska-Motion In Ska-Lip-So" by The Hiltonaires  are just two examples.) Count Owen followed this with an LP of "mento-rock steady", at least in name, called "Rock Steady Calypso". So it comes as no surprise that in the 1970s, a sub-genre of "mento-reggae" records appeared. Mento-reggae is more than a reggae cover of a mento song, or a reggae song sung by a mento vocalist -- it is a fusion of instruments and /or stylistic elements from both genres.

Naaman Lee recorded in this style (though not always), likewise The Prince Brothers and Stanly Beckford.  Below are a few additional examples of mento-reggae. (With mento-ska and mento-reggae, it may come as no surprise that these sub-genres were followed by mento-dancehall, as described here.)

  On the Dr Komina label, from 1978, is a mento-reggae 45 by King Flowers called "In A Me Prime" backed with "Version", produced by Barrington Jeffrey, utilizing by The Revolutionaires as the backing band.

It features the classic mento-reggae sound, led by jaunty piano as a springy version of the reggae chop is heard. Flowers sings of the difficulties in attracting love once you get older.

"Mento Sweet", a single from 1976 on the Weed Beat label finds Denzil Laing moving from his 1960s hotel friendly mento releases to a mento-reggae style. This is a pleasing track with fine mento vocals, lyrics extolling mento, a  melody that recalls more than one old mento song, a pocomania influenced drum rhythm, and flute.

The b-side has an instrumental version called "A Sweet Version".

On the JA DISC label, from 1972, another single from Denzil Laing. It's  an electric guitar-based rural mento.

"Country Man" is back by the unseen
"Sweet Mento".

The latter is a different song from the above.

 

Mento-reggae from 1974 by The Viceroys on the Harry J Records label: "Wheel and Jig" backed with "Version".

A lovely song that is an original composition as far as I know. The sound is much more like a Stanley Beckford mento-reggae track than anything else I've heard by The Viceroys. Rural vocals with piano as the featured instrument.

Below are the only two records I've found by Sir Horace and His Merry Knights outside the classic 1950s single, "Morgan's Mento" backed with "Mambo Jamaica" and its follow up single, as seen here (along with sound clips). 

Both of these record appear to be entries in the 1971 and 1972 the Jamaican Annual Festival of the Arts, more commonly shortened to "Festival", which is best known for its song competition.

Horace's vocal delivery is far more relaxed than the frantic pace heard on his earlier single. But after all, he's has about 15 years to relax!


Above is a Daily Gleaner ad from February 26, 1963 for a pair of live performances by Sir Horace shows that he and his Knights were also active in the 1960s. Also, Dan Neely informs us that Horace Abrahams was the president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians for a time in the 1970s. 

 

  On the Merritone label, from 1971, is a mento-reggae 45 by the Sir Horace and the All Stars called "Good Time Festival" backed with "Version".

It features a melody that borrows from "Hol' 'Im Joe", with new Festival lyrics.


No producer is listed, though the A-side has the unusual legend, "Jamento". Musically, this track adds some calypso into the mento-reggae mix. A slick horn section and country fiddle are both prominent.

On the Jamrec label, a glance at which leaves little doubt that the release was from 1972, is an interesting mento-reggae 45 by the Sir Horace and the All Stars called "Walk Good".
Roots Knotty Roots has this as a Coxsone Dodd production.

Although both sides of the label are identical, there is a different mix of the song on each side. The first has rustic sounding guitar and organ, playing the role earlier filled by banjo and guitar, along with horns, drums, bass and, of course, Sir Horace's vocals. The mix on the flip deletes the rustic

 instruments in favor of more horns.

On the Jerico label from 1974, a 45 by the obscure Danny D:

Country Girl        b/w      Instrumental Version

This is not to be confused with Harold Richardson's  "Country Gal". It's a very nice mento-reggae track in its own right, featuring piano and a bouncy pre-ska mento rhythm. This was released in 2010 on the Trojan Records collection, "The Heavy Monster Sound", where it's called "Lord A Massie Massie".

  On producer Sonia Pottinger's label, High Note, is a mento-reggae single by The Prince Brothers:

"Hold Him Joe"             b/w
"Fi Mi Something"

As with the single above, it features piano and a bouncy pre-ska mento rhythm.


On producer Sonia Pottinger's label, High Note, and others, is the obviously popular mento-reggae single by The Prince Brothers:

"Ram Jam"     b/w    "Jam Version"




This is a wonderful example of the genre, comparing well in quality and sound to Stanley Beckford's mento-reggae. Mid way, "Hog In Me Minty" is quoted.
It's a lovely track, and judging by the variety labels here, a popular one. Click here to see Prince Brothers' LP by the same name.

This self-produced single by The Prince Brothers , from 1974, is a few years earlier than their better known work:

"Pass The Pipe"  b/w
"Pass The Pipe Version".

A "pass the pipe on the left hand side" song. The backing has a light rural touch and the Prince's rural vocals are always a treat.

On producer Sonia Pottinger's label, High Note, from 1977, miscredited to The Prince Brother, is

"Jermiah"     b/w    "Jermiah Dub"

It sports an easy mento-reggae groove featuring flute. As on "Ram Jam", the Princes sing of a party and a girl. The chorus borrows the "Wheel and Turn Me" melody.

Courtesy of Jurjen Borregaard of Amsterdam is another Prince Brothers song along with a another mento reggae side. "Screw The Cock Tight" produced by Alvin Ranglin in 1978 for his G G label is by the oddly named Mix Flour And Water.
 

 

"Open The Door", produced by Sonia Pottinger for her on the High Note label, does not appear on The Prince Brothers' LP. It's a re-voiced version of the Ram Jam riddim with additional horns.



 

Below are other pressings of this popular single. Mix Flour And Sugar recorded a handful of sides in the 1970s and an album. Though the labels are mismatched, these images come from the same piece of vinyl. The lead singer sounds like a less refined Stanley Beckford.  The sensational title does not actually appear in the song, however, this is is a rather suggestive record.


 

Another Mix Flour And Water single is "World On A Wheel", from 1970. Though both were produced by Alvin Ranglin, this is mento-reggae that leans more towards calypso than the classic mento-reggae sound of "Screw The Cock Tight".

The unseen flip is the stylistically similar
"Woman A Love In A Hard Time".

On the Mart's label (a Treasure Isle NYC imprint and a Duke Reid production), also from 1974, a 45 by  The Black Brothers and Treasure Isle All Stars:

Donkey Bray        b/w      Version

This is slightly calypso sounding mento-reggae version of "The Jackass Song".

  A Lord Composer autographed 45, on the Mundle label: "Devaluation" b/w "Gimme Yah". The guitar, bass and drums backing is rather neutral, falling somewhere between mento, reggae and calypso. The autograph reads, "To Dorothy, With Love, Keep Me Among Your
[??] Souvenirs, Lord Composer".

On Sonia Pottinger's label, Gay Feet, an interesting mento-reggae single probably from the mid 1970s. One side has "Country Gal" as voiced by Jackie Brown. Of the two, this track has more of a recognizable reggae sound about it. The flip is "Country Man", a chugging flute led instrumental by the great Skatalites drummer Drumbago.
 
  The sound and rhythm do not exactly reflect the mento of the past nor the reggae of the time of its recording, yet its clearly mento-reggae. (The same can be said of some Naaman Lee singles.) The Drumbago track is not a version of the vocal side as the titles might lead you to expect.

From 1975, a 45 RPM single on the Harry J label by George Fullwood:

"Rukumbine" b/w "Rukumbine Dub"

Rural vocals & electric instruments combine nicely in a track that falls to the reggae side of mento-reggae. The dub version is very nice.

  Also From 1975, a 45 RPM reggae single with a definite mento-reggae bend on the Black World label, performed and produced by (obviously another) James Brown:  

"Sherifa"               backed with
"Sherifa In Dub"

From some time in the 1970s, a mento-reggae 45 RPM single on the Mighty Disc label by Flowers, written by M. Flowers, produced by Leon Hyatt.

"Send Her Home"   backed with "Version"

The songs owes to Lord Fly's "Big Big Sambo Gal".

(Sorry a larger version of this image is not available.)

From 1975, a fine mento-reggae 45 RPM single on the Wild Flower label by E. Green and The Prophets , written by E. Green, produced by A. DeLisser is:

"Cookie Wants Wood" 
backed with "Version".

This double-entendre song
maps out a place between
roots reggae and
mento-reggae,
especially its
dub version.

From the first part of the 1970s comes the latest obscurity to be unearthed by Jeremy Collingsworth for this site: "The National Dish" on the Budding Soloist label performed and produced by Charles A. Adams.

A bouncing mento-reggae riddim backs Adam's country-soft voice as he sings about Ackee.

The b-side is "Version".

King Barou

King Barou recorded all of 4 rural mento sides on two singles during mento's middle period. These are spirited affairs with excellent playing. The first track discussed below ("Calypso Cha Cha") is a real standout. Though I've been able to learn little about the the artist or these recordings, I did find a mention in The Daily Gleaner of King Barou performing at a party in December of 1959. One of the autographed labels below establishes that Barou performed at least into 1976.
 
  On Coxsone Dodd's Port-O-Jam label King Barou's great 1972 track, "Calypso Cha Cha Cha". This track is discussed, along with a clip, on the Other Artists & Favorite Song Clips page. This is Barou's only original composition. The b-side is "Shame and Scandal".


 
  Here is the same record reissued is on the obscure Calypso Judge label The song is mis-titled as "Calypso Go Cha Cha" and Barou's band is given a name, The Mighty Swingers. The label is autographed.


 
     

Here is the same record, but this time the label is misspelled as Colypso Judge .



 
  With the same naming conventions as seen on the Calypso Judge pressing, here's the same single from a different run, this time on a nameless label.

 

Courtesy of Roger Yax of Austin, Texas, another autographed King Barou side "Love In The Cemetery" on the Port-O-Jam label. To the right is the b-side (from a different copy), "Bloodshot Eyes", an R&B song that Lord Lebby made part of the mento repertoire.

Here is the same King Barou single, "Blood Shot Eyes", again on the Calypso Judge. To the right . Once again, an autograph is present from the apparently very approachable and accessible (is that his address?) Barou. From these autographs, we can assume that Barou performed for tourists in Ocho Rios.

And here is a sleeve that not only has Barou's autograph, but also that of Count Sticky and one O. Henry.

EPs and Picture Sleeves, etc.

An oddity: A souvenir "Reco-Card" post card with built-in record. It's Cecil Lloyd and Orchestra with Roy Shurland on vocals, performing "Banana".

Another souvenir EP, this time on the WIRL label by Lord Creator backed by The Audley Williams Quintet. Not to be confused with Lord Composer, Creator was a popular Trinidad-born calypso (and later, ska) singer that recorded in Jamaica. He never recorded mento. But all four tracks on this EP are shared between the calypso ands mento worlds, and, hey, I like the sleeve.
 
  1. Shame and Scandal
2. Big Bamboo
3. Limbo
4. Wings of A Dove

Again courtesy Jeremy Collingwood (www.Traxonwax.net) is this Lord Jellicoe souvenir picture sleeve with rural and urban mento both represented.

The single contains:

1. Take Her To Jamaica
2. Island In The Sun

   
On the RCA Camden label is a 4 song 7" EP by Peter Ricardo and His Calypso. The songs include "Take Her To Jamaica", "Liza Open the Door" (not the Harry Belafonte "Liza"), "Run Run Run" and "La Solas Market". The label indicates that the music was recorded in Europe. Though, as you may have guessed, this is in an international pop style, the instrumentation is a bit more jazzy than Belafonte, with flute, muted trumpet and electric guitar solos. The slightly mistitled rendition of "Solas Market" is not bad at all.

Here is a multi-artist EP on the VOX label that includes Cecil Lloyd's cover popish of the Count Lasher song, "Calypso Cha Cha Cha" called "Cha-Cha-Cha" that probably dates from 1958.

   
 
On the Sonnet label is a 4 song 7" EP by George Browne. The song selections, style and arrangement owe a great deal to Harry Belafonte.

Richard Noblett of the UK was kind enough to supply the following information on George Browne:

George Browne was from Trinidad, May 4 1920. I met him in his later years and this is part of an obit I wrote for Mojo magazine . "Young Tiger (George Browne) was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1921 and as he grew up he became immersed in the cultural life absorbing many of the elements which made up his repertoire. Not a true calypsonian George was a singer who could perform successfully in a variety of styles. He came to the UK in 1941, during the War, and settled in London. He was soon performing in Shows, including “Show Boat”, as well as in vocal groups. After the War he appeared in London clubs before becoming part of the vocal group the Three Just Men, which he co-founded. The trio toured Europe and North Africa during the course of which he met many of the US jazz musicians who were touring although not in Britain, at the time. Returning to Britain in the early 1950s, he started his extensive recording career for Melodisc and EMI, as George Browne for his more conventional vocals and as Young Tiger for the calypsos. He also joined Humphrey Lyttelton/Freddie Grant's crossover band mixing Caribbean rhythms and Jazz. Browne was a an extremely versatile artist performing in a variety of contexts as a vocalist, guitarist and drummer. As well as music in the 1960s he worked as an actor and did not stop performing until 1970. He then started a new career as a restaurateur both in the UK and the US. In retirement he lived in Croydon, Surrey, vaguely surprised and gratified by the interest generated by the reissue of some of his early recordings on Honest Jon's “London Is The Place For Me” series. He died in Croydon March 23 2007.

   

An EP ("Calypso") and a single ("Amstel Beer Calypso") with picture sleeves by Jamaica Johnny and His Mialrgo Boys. These were  release on the Philips label, out of Holland.

Johnny may be Jamaican, but these recordings are definitely calypso rather than mento.

    "Calypso":

Last Train to St. Fernando
Mother and Wife
Love Love Love, Donkey City

"Amstel Beer Calyspo":

More Beer
Beeeeeeer! Amstel Beer

Richard Noblett of the UK was kind enough to supply a little information on "Jamaica" Johnny:

Jamaica Johnny was from Surinam I think his real name was Nelis Liefeld.

Here's another EP by [Not Really of] Jamaica Johnny:
"Calypso Crazy", on the Philips label.

It features a not really Jamaican song selection:

1. Beautiful Para Kitch
2. Divorce By Television
3. Take Me To Locero
4. Let Me Call You Mathilda

Count Zebra's Single

As seen below, Count Zebra's single "Bed Bug" backed with "Cat-O Nine" was released on a collection of labels as a 45 RPM single. Yet, for all the apparent popularity of this single, it does not appear that Count Zebra recorded anything other than these two sides. Nor have these rough and ready rural mento recordings ever been compiled on an album.

Count Zebra is not to be confused with calypsonian Mighty Zebra of the Virgin Islands.

 

  First, here the single on the Go Calypso Go label. Another version of this label can been seen elsewhere on this page.

Here is the Count Zebra 45, this time on the Love label.

 

another re-release of the Count Zebra 45.

The scan left, complete with the original Randy's  sleeve, comes Courtesy of Matt Dinsmore of San Francisco.

  The same single yet again, this time on the Kalypso label.

Some times, as on this single, as well as on the Go Calypso Go release, Zebra's band, The Seasiders re also credited.

In 2014, Cat-O-Nine was released on the collection called "Calypso: Musical Poetry In The Caribbean 1955-69", on the Soul Jazz label.  In 2015, both sides were included on the collection called "Jamaica Is The Place To Go".

From Matt Dinsmore's Collection 

At the end of 2004, Matt Dinsmore of San Francisco was kind enough to send me a collection of scans. The majority of them are below. Additional scans from Matt of these appear on other pages, and one appears elsewhere on this page.


 

First from Matt is the original Darling release of the single "Jamaican Song" by D. Sindry and The City Slickers.

By all means, click the small version to the left to enjoy the original vintage sleeve that Matt still has. Incidentally, the hit flip side is "Tango Lips" by Yvonne & Lascelles (Perkins).

The re-release of this single on the UK Island label can be seen above.

Next from Matt, on the Head of Gold label is "Take It Easy" by Oscar King, Music by Charlie Binger. I am not familiar with the vocalist, but band leader Charlie Binger backed some Harold Richardson recordings in the 1950s.

The b-side is "I Love You So".

Matt again includes the original sleeve for this release
on the K. I. W. label: Clyde Hoyte's "Dream Cha Cha".

The b-side is  "I Heard Your Heart" written by Clyde Hoyte and performed by Julian Iffla.

With vocals by Wilfred 'Jackie' Edwards is a song written and produced by song writer and sometimes mento singer Clyde Hoyte: "Bright Christmas". Matt describes the track (and its b-side, "Jamaica Calling") as ballads. So this may not be, in fact, a mento tracks. But how often do you have the opportunity to see a scan of the Liquid Foods label?!

Here is another Clyde Hoyte production:

By Dennis Haynes with Boris Gardiner Happening is

"Ooh Cudelia Brown"   backed with
"Show Your Soul" 

I have not heard this single..

More from Jeremy Collingwood's Collection

In December 2003, Jeremy Collingwood (www.Traxonwax.net) generously send me a collection of scans. Though some are found on other pages, several can be seen below.

First are two examples of the rare Coxsone Dodd imprint, National Calypso. These tracks are really more calypso than mento.
 

 The first, "Carnival Jamaica", by Lord Rigby. The song is credited to both Rigby and Dodd. This single is from 1964, and the flip side would be "Music Teacher". The second, on red vinyl (!) is "Jamaica", by King Fighter, from 1963. The flip would be "Bicycle Tyre".


Next from Jeremy is
"Calypso Mama" by The Barons, released on the Barons Label. Jeremy describes this recording as "flute Mento that uses 'Peanut Vendor' on the chorus". Some reggae collectors may already have this disc in their collection, as its the b-side of Nora Dean's classic 1969 track, "Barbwire".

 

  Another scan from Jeremy is the Lord Jellicoe side, "Zombie Jamboree". Its on the BRA label, which is parented by WHIRL.

The b-side is a fast-paced take "Take Her To Jamaica (Where The Rum Comes From)". On both tracks, electric guitar, hand drum and a backing vocalist are prominent. On the A-Side, Jellicoe name-checks band member Pee Wee.

Another rarity from Jeremy, though its not quite mento. Sponsored by the Machado Tobacco Company (ironically, complete with cigarette burns) is a 45 with "The Albany Calypso" b/w "Max Mambo" by The Caribs. Says Jeremy,  the a-side "is straight JA calypso", and the b-side is "calypso jazz".
 
  Also on display on this web site is another Machado Tobacco promotion 45, which featured two rural golden age mento performances by Count Owen and Lord Tanamo.

Here is "Jamaican Girls", from 1974 by Big Souls on the label of the same name. The group is a pseudonym for Albert Moonah, a singer better know for reggae than mento.

In spite of utilizing a drum kit, this is pure rural mento with a pleasingly soft sound. The song is partially based on the old American song, "Buffalo Gals". The b-side is a modest mento dub. Sorry, a bigger scan is not available.

From the early 1970s, here is an obscure mento 45. "Love Is The Key To Success", is sung by reggae group The Splendors . The label is the otherwise unknown Sam-T and the producer is the otherwise unheard of S. E. Toyloy.

Its an unusually rural mento track with fiddle joining banjo, acoustic guitar, open harmonies, etc.

The b-side, "Version", is an instrumental.



 

Another scan from Jeremy is Count Zebra's "Bed-Bug", on the rare UK Go Calypso Go label, from 1962.

A variant of this single on Go Calypso Go and a collection of other labels can be seen elsewhere on this page.

The final scan from Jeremy on this page is an interesting one. It's a single on the Runaway Bay Hotel label, probably dating from the early 1960s.
 

 

It sounds like a live hotel recording, complete with intros and audience noise. But the crowd sounds stadium sized, and it may be artifice from producer Robert Babcock. Both sides are well played, banjo-led rural mento.

"Down By The Riverside" by Roy Fuller  is gospel-mento.

The unseen flipside, "Manana" by The Runaways  is an original tourist song.

Also see:

For more more label and jacket scans and song clips, also see this site's:

 

email me at:
mike@mentomusic.com

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