10 years in the making, my book, "The Ultimate Guide To Great Reggae", is out! 
  Five chapters of all new content on mento, plus the best of every style of reggae! 
  600 pages of great artists and great songs, telling the complete story of reggae. 
  Click here for more information. You'll love it!  




 Welcome
  News
  Contact

 
Site search:
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 
More
scans:
More on
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 Resurgence CD and Record Scans

 

Page last revised: 6/15/13

 

   
 
"Me & Massa Joe" by Neville Willoughby on the Dynamic label 1978, produced by Byron Lee. Willoughby, who passed in 2006, was a well known and respected figure in Jamaica primarily for his work as a
radio announcer and interviewer on Radio Jamaica and the BBC. (In this capacity, he famously interviewed Bob Marley.) He also acted, wrote a novel and recorded a mento LP. It was released in 1978, a year after releases by The Jolly Boys signaled a resurgent interest in mento recordings. In spite of the rural duo pictured, the LP features a larger band playing in a rural style but also bringing mento-reggae, reggae and calypso rhythms.

In early 2008, saxophonist Cedric "Im" Brooks 1973 LP, "From Mento To Reggae To Third World Music" received it's overdue release on CD, on VP Records. In addition to reggae an African music, the following mento songs are included:

"Nobody's Business", "Sly Mongoose", "Salt Lane Girl" (a CD bonus track). There is also "Hop Merry Hop" and "Third World", both Pocomania tracks.

 


Humming Birds:
This eponymous Japanese-only CD release on the Respect Records label from 1997 appears to be out of print, though if you are interested in mento in the same vein as The Jolly Boys, it may be worth checking with importers that specialize in Japanese releases. A very vibrant and upbeat sound.

In 2004, Respect Records re-released the above Hummingbirds CD. It gains a new title ("Mento A Go-Go") new (inferior) cover art and, sadly, loses the band photos. Besides the music, what remains the same if the difficulty of finding this Japanese only release.

"Original Jamaican Music", by the Rod Dennis Mento Band, on the Penthouse label.
 
 
 

I've heard that this 2001 Jamaican CD can be found at retail shops in the UK. It may take a trip there or to JA to acquire this largely instrumental release. The major on-line retailers don't carry it, nor have I ever seen a copy in NYC.
 

Incidentally, Rod Dennis is not in this or other line up. The band was actually called "The Red Devils Mento Band". When this was garbled in an print article to "The Rod Dennis Mento Band", the name stuck. The band is lead by Carlton James.

In 2006, the band would record a Bob Marley cover with Jamaican jazz keyboardist Monty Alexander. Band member Carlton James performed live with Monty in a memorable 2006 show in NYC. See the Mento and Jazz page for details and pictures.

For much more on this act, visit the Carlton James and The Rod Dennis Mento Band page. described there are two other RDMB CDs that are very difficult to find.

These four scans below, courtesy of Jurjen Borregaard of Amsterdam confirm that mento vinyl continued in Jamaica well into the age of the CD. All also from 2001 and on the Penthouse label is the label from the LP version of the above Rod Dennis release. This is followed by a single drawn from this album: "Brown Skin Gal" backed with "No Body's Business".


 


 

Next is a single on the Germain imprint of the Penthouse label. Though its mislabeled, the voice and lyrics leave no doubt that the singer is Chaka Demus performing "Chatty Chatty Mouth". But this isn't a dancehall side, Chaka is belting out vocals over the Rod Dennis track "No Body's Business" (along with some additional drums). Yep, Chaka Demus is singing mento! The b-side is "No Body's Business" once again.


 
 
 

Harder to find than the Rod Dennis CD is "Authentic Mento" a 2001 CD by old-timers Blue Glaze Mento Band. Clarinet is featured on this CD, as played by band leader Vincent Pryce, who also wrote an original track, "The Farmer".

Blue Glaze (sometimes called the "Blue Glades Mento Band") were "discovered" after playing mento together for 40 years. Comparisons were drawn between Blue Glaze and The Buena Vista Social Club. Blue Glaze would next record with Stanley Beckford. Sad news was received in October of 2004. Vincent passed on the 4th of that month.

Here is a photo of The Blue Glaze Mento Band, featuring the biggest rumba box I've ever seen.

 

Dan Neely identified this photo as coming from mid-2005 and taken at Devon House at the Rukumbine show.
 

 

Video of five songs from a live 2003 performance by The Blue Glaze Mento Band  backing
the late Stanley Beckford can be seen on the
Stanley Beckford page.

In June of 2009, Dan Neely shot this video of Blue Glaze. It's great to see how well the band bounced back from the death of its leader and clarinet player Vincent Pryce in 2004. As you will see in this rendition of Toots And The Maytals' "Sweet And Dandy", a fife player, Ferdie, has been added to the lineup.

 

Blue Glaze (sometimes called the "Blue Glades Mento Band") were "discovered" after playing mento together for 40 years. Comparisons were drawn between Blue Glaze and The Buena Vista Social Club. Blue Glaze would next record with Stanley Beckford. Sad news was received in October of 2004. Vincent passed on the 4th of that month.

In April of 2010 I heard from P. Béchard, of Gwened, Brittany who alerted me to the a French web page about Blue Glaze that includes video. It can be seen at http://www.chartres.tw/2010_04_08_BGMB.html

In November of 2010, I heard from  Bill Monsted with news exciting and sad:

I am sorry to report that banjoist and founding member of the Blue Glaze Mento Band Nelson Chambers, has passed on from complications due to stomach cancer on Nov. 14.

He had developed a unique blend of rhythm and solo playing that was unmatched in mento banjo playing, and his presence will be sorely missed as leader and founding member of the group, which began in the 60's.

His death comes shortly after finishing a yet to be released project, which features guest performances by Toots Hibbert, Stranger Cole, and Bunny Wailer.

In mid-2011, Blue Glaze released a new CD, called "We Will Wait". It features guest appearances from names familiar to ska & reggae fans, including Toots, Bunny Wailer, Stranger Cole, Sticky Thompson, Dean Fraser & Lee Jaffe.

Good performances by all are matched by good packing with informative notes and photos.

Courtesy of Bill are these two clips of the making of this album. First is Blue Glaze recording the basic tracks of "Sly Mongoose":

 

Second is Toots voicing his delightful gospel-mento track, "Great Jehovah":

   

Another group of rediscovered old-timers: "Dance Music and Working Songs From Jamaica" by The Lititz Mento Band. This CD was released in Germany in 1993 on GEMA. Their sound is interesting, as there is no percussion, banjo becomes strictly a rhythm instrument, and fiddle is a featured instrument. Two video clips featuring  Lititz fiddler Theodore Miller can be seen on the Mento Video page. 

Here is another photo of The Lititz Mento Band.  This shot is from the 1980s and was taken at the Upper Deck in Montego Bay.

Liner notes:  [Page 1]  [Page 2]  [Page 3]
 

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s 2000 release, "Mento Music In Jamaica, Volume 1", features four bands. These groups have been together as long as long as a quarter of a century!

Mt. Peace Mento Band
Kew Park Mento Band
Rod Dennis Mento Band
the Blue Glaze Mento Band.

The last two followed with CDs of their own. Three of the bands have regular hotel gigs, and this CD is a good indicator of the type of sound you may hear if you should travel to Jamaica and a mento band is playing at your hotel. (Although there are no ribald songs here. These are usually part of a mento band's live repertoire, but the groups may have felt inhibited recording under the aegis of the JCDC.) This CD can be purchased directly from the JCDC at http://www.jcdc.org.jm/, but be prepared to handle the currency conversion to Jamaican dollars.




 

About 40 years after the
The Goldenaires
 LP,
"Calypso Beach Party",

"Island In The Sun"
has been released by
The Golden Aires Mento Band
.
A comparison of the liner notes reveals a completely different line up between these releases.


This CD by was released in 2002 on INKLIGNed Records and can be readily purchased at www.cdbaby.com.Though somewhat amateurishly constructed, in addition to 8 longish tracks, this CD also contains video content: a full song, a shorter jam, and the band giving a brief definition of mento. The music is upbeat, in the style of today's Hotel Bands and features playful banjo. Most of the songs are predictable selections from the mento repertoire, with less unfamiliar songs: "Two Banjan" and "Miss Sweety Mae Lulu".

  The same Golden Aires line up recorded a follow up in 2003 called "Invitation Jamaica", once again released on INKLIGNed Records and available from www.cdbaby.com. The repertoire is similar to "Island In The Sun", and once again, supplementing the 8 tracks is bonus video of the band performing two tracks. (The "Jumbie Jamboree" is quite nice.) The Golden Aires are:

Alexander Amos - Banjo
Titus Campbell - Rumba box and maracas
Noel Kerr - Guitar

with all three sharing vocals.


 

This 1995 CD contains 7 mento tracks by Chris Welch and his group.


This is rough instrumental mento that is only recommended for completists.


  In 2009, "Sweet Sweet Jamaica" by Gilzene and The Blue Light Mento Band on the World Village label. It can be purchased here.

A a mix of originals and  mento & folk standards are featured.

Toots Hibbert adds raucous mento harmonica (and some backing vocals) to a cover of Sweet And Dandy.

Notable band members include lead singer Lanford Gilzene, who had a short lived career recording rasta reggae in the mid-1970s, banjo player Wesley Balds, who, at 80 years of age is old even for a mento musician, and backing and sometime lead vocalist and shaker player Donnett Clarke, who has the distinction of being the rare woman in a rural mento band. Balds previously played with the Sunshine Mento Band, as did rumba box player Courtney Clarke.

Two YouTube videos of Gilzene and The Blue Light Mento Band can be seen on Mento Videos page here.

   


At the end of 2010,
the South Florida-based
Tallawah Mento Band

released "Ribba To De Bank".

I bought my copy at www.vpreggae.com/.

This is a good CD!

The band is led by banjo player Colin Smith, formerly the band director of The Jamaica Folk Singers.  In addition to the hoped for mento instruments, banjo, acoustic guitar, flute, rumba box, shakers, hand drum and harmonica (all well played), so is one that is less expected, accordion, not to mention a guest trombone, both blending in fine This makes for a big sound ("tallawah" meaning substantial) compared to most others, some songs nicely jamming out nicely. It also includes male choral singing reminiscent of The Frats Quintet. The result is something of a nicely old-fashioned sound.

Songs are mostly familiar from mento, ska, rock steady and reggae. There's a few instrumentals mixed in. "Stylish Girls" ("Salt Lane Gal"), "Iron Bar", "Rebecca" (sort of Chin's Calypso Sextets' "Uniform Madness"), "Kysilo" (a cover of a Stanley Beckford song that was a cover of a Count Lasher song) are especially good. And besting the previously described CD, Tallawah boasts two female band members!

1. Ribba To De Bank
2. Iron Bar
3. Lick Samba
4. Come Back Liza
5. Calypso Island
6. Yellow Bird
7. The Tide Is High
8. Stylish Girls


 
9. Peanut Venda
10. Rebecca
11. Under De Coconut Tree
12. Jane And Louisa
13. Weed Song
14. Kysilo
15. Ska Medley

In 2013 Larry And The Mento Boys released an 18 song CD entitled "Jamaica Farewell".

 
1. Invitation to Jamaica

2. Zumbie Jamboree

3. Take Her to Jamaica

4. Ma & Pa

5. Island in the Sun

6. No Woman No Cry

7. One Drop

8. 3 Little Birds

9. Talking Parrot


10. Shame & Scandal

11. Big Bamboo

12. Love in the Cemetery

13. Stop Sparrow Stop

14. John B

15. Sandra

16. Moon a Shine a Natta Bay Road

17. Man Smarter

18. Jamaica Farewell 

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

 

email me at:
mike@mentomusic.com

© 1999-2017 MentoMusic.com
All rights reserved.