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  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!  




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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 
  
Can I Buy Mento Music?

 

Last revised: 8/23/15

 

Pleas note that I do not sell music. But I have provided this page to help you locate every mento release that is currently available.

Just a few short years ago, what little mento there was available on CD was difficult to find, as it was typically labeled as calypso, or, in one case, steel drum music. And although most mento records are out of print (some for longer than half a century) beginning in the 1990s, a fair sample of mento from all three eras began to appear on CD.

All of these, along with some of the relatively easier to find out of print records are described below. And although taste is subjective, there are several selections that I have recommended for each of the three eras of mento.

Also visit the For Collectors page, where rare mento records and the like are occasionally available for sale and trade from other mento fans.

Jump to:     Golden Age CDs and LPs    Middle Period CDs and LPs    Resurgence CD releases   Also see... 


Golden Age

Between "Mento Madness", "Boogu Yagga Gal", "Take Me Back To Jamaica", and the five Chin's CDs, anyone interested in mento's golden age can easily get a impressive collection of 1950s mento tracks by a variety of artists. This was absolutely impossible just a few years ago.

From July 2004 to August 2005, a series of 6 CDs collecting nearly 100 (!) tracks by Chin's Calypso Sextet was released. Such a collection is remarkable for several reasons...

Please visit the Chin's Calypso Sextet page for details on these exciting releases that can be purchased from CDBaby or iTunes. These CDs are recommended as an excellent way to hear golden age mento.


 

2001 saw the first legitimate and professional compilation of 1950s mento, "Boogu Yagga Gal" on the Heritage label out of the UK. It collects a good variety of styles and artists. The remastering of the old Jamaican 78 RPM records is fantastic, as are the liner notes, written by Richard Noblett, Daniel Neely, Herbie Miller, Ron Geesin, John Cowley and Tony Barker. The booklet constitutes the most extensive collection of information on mento ever published, as well as the lyrics to the songs. This is the best place to start for anyone interested in mento's golden age. The song listing is as follows:

1. Calabash - Count Lasher  For more on this song...
2. Miss Constance - Count Lasher 
For more on this song...
3. Dalvey Gal-Parson - Count Lasher's Calypso Quintet
4. Slide Mongoose - Count Lasher's Calypso Quintet
 For more on this song...
5. Talking Parrot -  Count Lasher and Charlie Binger And His Calypsonians
 For more on this song...
6. Cinemascope -  Count Lasher and Charlie Binger And His Calypsonians 
For more on this song...
7. Dr. Kinsey - Lord Lebby and the Jamaican Calypsonians 
For more on this song...
8. Etheopia - Lord Lebby and the Jamaican Calypsonians 
For more on this song...
9. No Money No Music - Local Calypso Sextet (Chin's)
10. Rough Rider - Local Calypso Sextet (Chin's) 
For more on this song...
11. Boogu Yagga Gal - Chin's Calypso Sextet
12. Depression - Chin's Calypso Sextet  
For more on this song...
13. Big Boy and Teacher - Chin's Calypso Sextet 
For more on this song...
14. Red Tomato - Chin's Calypso Sextet
15. Calypso Pepperpot - Chin's Calypso Sextet
16. Woman Tenderness - Chin's Calypso Sextet
17. Walk and Talk - Calypso Quintet
18. Night Food - Calypso Quintet
 For more on this song...
19. Look Out Fe You Tongue - Jamaican Calypsonians (Chin's)
20. Jamaica Gal - Jamaican Calypsonians (Chin's)
21. Mambo La-La - Lord Power & His Calypsonians 
For more on this song...
22. Special Amber Calypso - Lord Power & His Calypsonians

This CD is recommended as an excellent way to hear golden age mento. Big serving of Chin's rural sounds and Count Lasher's urban (primarily) and rural sounds, both sides of a classic Lord Lebby single and one by Lord Power. For some interesting background on this release, visit Ron Geesin's web site at http://www.rongeesin.com/news1201.htm. Ron conceived the CD and worked on its remastering. This CD is also recommended for including very informative liner notes and lyrics, making it unique amongst other mento collections on CD.

You can also visit Heritage's web site at http://www.interstate-music.co.uk/HTCD45.htm, though there isn't much in the way of additional information.

Anyone interested in Jamaican music should buy this CD. If it does well enough, there's a good chance that a second volume will be released. My hope is that the second volume has some examples of the amazing proto-reggae sound that some rural mento has. Some Lord Messam, Count Owen, Lord Tanamo and some more rural Count Lasher tracks certainly wouldn't hurt! Boogu Yagga Gal is widely available from on-line retailers.


 
Mento Madness: Motta's Jamaican Mento 1951-56 was released March 1, 2004 on V2 Records. This is a collection of tracks from LPs and 78 RPM singles on the MRS label. As such, a number of these tracks are mento classics, and can finally be heard on CD (where the remastered makes this collection a must have, even for collectors who have the original vinyl).  This collection was compiled by, and its liner notes written by Steve Barrow and Paul Coote.  Note that none of these tracks appear on the earlier "Boogu Yagga Gal" collection. Subsequent
collections could not make that claim.

1. Hill & Gully Ride/Mandeville Road - Lord Composer & the Silver Seas Orchestra  For more on this song...
2. Dry Weather House - Hubert Porter with George Moxey & his Calypso Quintet  For more on this song...
3. Healin' in the Balmyard - Harold Richardson & the Ticklers  For more on this song...
4. Manassa with the Tight Foot Pants - Lord Fly with Dan Williams Orchestra  For more on this song...
5. Me Dog Can't Bark - Monty Reynolds & the Shaw Park Calypsonian Band  For more on this song...
6. Monkey Talk - Hubert Porter with George Moxey & his Calypso Quintet For more on this song...
7. Linstead Market - Lord Messan & His Calypsonians  For more on this song...
8. Country Gal - Harold Richardson with Charlie Binger & His Quintet
9. She Pon Top - Baba Motta & his Jamaicans  For more on this song...
10. Blu Lu Lup - Lord Fly with Dan Williams Orchestra  For more on this song...
11. Glamour Gal - Harold Richardson & the Ticklers  For more on this song...
12. Solas Market - Boysie Grant with Eddie Brown and Calypso clippers
13. Long Time Gal A Never See You - Monty Reynolds & the Silver Seas Orchestra  For more on this song...
14. Medley of Jamaican Mento (Fan Me Solja Man, Fan Me / One Solja Man / Yah No Hear Weh De Old Man Seh /
      Slide Mongoose) - Lord Fly with Dan Williams Orchestra  For more on this song...
15. Come We Go Down A Unity/Old Lady O/Linstead Market - Boysie Grant with Reynolds' Calypso Clippers
16. Swine Lane Gal/Iron Bar - Lord Fly with Dan Williams Orchestra  For more on this song...
17. Sweet Charlie/Mattie Rag/Nobodys Business - Boysie Grant with Reynolds' Calypso Clippers  
     For more on this song...

18. Big Big Sambo Gal/Mattie Rag - Lord Fly with Dan Williams Orchestra
  For more on this song...

This CD is recommended as an excellent way to hear golden age mento. Anyone interested in mento should immediately grab this release. It has only been out for a few weeks and I'm already hoping for a second (and a third) volume.

On 4/19/04, National Public Radio reviewed this CD. The 4:24 Real Audio clip can be found on the following page: http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=1842828.

In June of 2006, the Pressure Sounds label released "Take Me To Jamaica (The Story of Jamaican Mento 1951 to 1958)".

If you already have "Boogu Yagga Gal" and "Mento Madness", this CD is recommended for more golden-age mento. Unlike some other CDs, "Take Me To Jamaica" has taken care to minimize replication of already available tracks and is all mento, not calypso. Additionally, the booklet has a surprising amount of interesting information. With permission I've posted two

excerpts here and here. It also contains a nice collection of label scans and other photos. Thoughtfully compiled by Paul Coote, this collection features mento tracks recorded by three producers: Stanley Motta, Ivan Chin and Ken Khouri.

1. Hubert Porter - Ten Penny Nail  For more on this song...
2. Count Lasher & His Quintet - Samfi Man
  For more on this song...
3. Lord Messam & His Calypsonians - Monkey 
For more on this song...
4. Alerth Bedasse & Chin’s Calypso Sextet - Mussa and John Tom 
For more on this song...
5. Lord Tickler - Medley: Mango Walk/Give Me Back Me Shilling/Sweetie Charlie 
For more on this song...
6. Lord Composer & The Silver Seas Hotel Orchestra - Gal A Gully/Matilda 
For more on this song...
7. Everard Williams & Chin’s Calypso Sextet - Reap What You Sew 
For more on this song...
8. Hubert Porter - Mas Charley Bell (Medley: Iron Bar/Mas Charley Bell) 
For more on this song...
9. Lord Tickler - Jamaican Medley # Five (Jackass/Ya Ma Mama Ma Ma)
10. Alerth Bedasse & Chin’s Calypso Sextet - Guzoo Doctor
  For more on this song...
11. Lord Fly with Dan Williams and His Orchestra - I Don't Know 
For more on this song...
12. Lord Tickler - Green Guava
13. Alerth Bedasse & Chin’s Calypso Sextet - Monkey’s Opinion 
For more on this song...
14. Boysie Grant & Reynold’s Calypso Clippers - The Naughty Little Flea 
For more on this song...
15. Hubert Porter - Names Of Funny Places 
For more on this song...
16. Alerth Bedasse & Chin’s Calypso Sextet - Industrial Fair 
For more on this song...
17. Harold Richardson & The Ticklers - Parish Gal 
For more on this song...
18. Lord Tickler - Limbo 
For more on this song...
19. Lord Flea - Wheel And Turn Me 
For more on this song...
20. Chin’s Calypso Sextet - Big Boy Instrumental
 For more on this song...
21. Hubert Porter with George Moxey & His Quintet - Tracer Gal
22. Alliandro Clarke & Chin’s Calypso Sextet - Come To Jamaica 
For more on this song...
23. Lord Fly with Dan Williams and His Orchestra -
       Medley: Linstead Market/Hold ‘Im Joe/Dog War A Matches Lane/Emanuel Road 

24. Alerth Bedasse & Chin’s Calypso Sextet - Let’s Make Ring Play (#1 Sally Water)
For more on this song...

First and most excitingly, Count Lasher's great "Samfi Man" finally gets a re-release some 50 years after it appeared on a 78 RPM single. Also welcome is "Monkey", the second ever Lord Messam  track to reach CD. Perceptively, "Gal A Gully/Matilda" by Lord Composer is included, rather than its already compiled, equally great flip side, "Hill & Gully Ride/Mandeville Road". Similarly, the two Lord Fly tracks ("I Don't Know" and "Medley: Linstead Market/Hold ‘Im Joe/Dog War A Matches Lane/Emanuel Road") had not been previously compiled and are fine additions. The same is true of the Boysie Grant track, "The Naughty Little Flea". And speaking of fleas, Lord Flea's "Wheel And Turn Me" is the first CD track to allow us to hear Flea's earlier dance band mento before he switched to rural mento and went on to his major label career. Harold Richardson and The Ticklers fine "Parish Gal" has also never been released

Lord Tickler was a pseudonym for Harold Richardson and The Ticklers. "Limbo" has been compiled so many times, that, at first, it seem out of place on this carefully compiled CD. But upon closer inspection, this appears to be a similar but different take from those available elsewhere. "Green Guava" can also be found on the CD "Authentic Mento", but "Jamaican Medley # Five (Jackass/Ya Ma Mama Ma Ma)" has not previously been compiled on CD. (All four of these Lord Tickler tracks were previously compiled on "Meet Me In Jamaica", an LP on the Monogram label, probably released in the late 1950 or 1960s.)

Hubert Porter's  Ten Penny Nail has appeared on several previous CDs, but "Names Of Funny Places", "Tracer Gal" and "Mas Charley Bell (Medley: Iron Bar/Mas Charley Bell)" have not.

The eight Chin's tracks are all available on the five Chin's CDs that were released in 2004 and 2005. Having said that, these are well chosen tracks that do not appear on any of the other multi-artist compilations.


[Click above for large image]
[Click here for back cover]
[Click here for liner notes]
1. Slide Mongoose - Count Lasher  For more on this song...
2. My Brother Your Sister - Dennis Syndre
3. Amelia - Count Premier
4. Jamaica Farewell - Slim Henry
5. Coconut Woman - Lord Lebby
6. Bed Bug - Count Premier
7. Talking Parrot - Count Lasher
 For more on this song...
8. Big Boy and Teacher - Chin's
 For more on this song...
9. Naughty Little Flea - Lord Flea 
For more on this song...
10. Mama Look A Boo Boo - Slim Henry
11. The Village Ram - Count Premier
12. Take You Meat Out of My Rice - Dennis Syndre
13. Night Food - Chin's
 For more on this song...
14. Watermelon Man - Count Premier
15. Green Guava Dumpling - Lord Lebby
16. My Pussin - Count Premier
17. Rookumbine - Count Premier

Ken Khouri's son (and producer in his own right) Paul Khouri released "Rookumbine: Authentic Calypsos and Mentos" on R&R Records. Paul is making this hard to find CD available to readers of this site at a special price of $10, shipping included. Outside of the US, shipping may be higher. Paul / R&R records can be contacted at the address and phone number as seen on Rookumbine's back cover.

"Slide Mongoose" and "Talking Parrot" by Count Lasher have already been released on "Boogu Yagga Gal". The two Chin's tracks, also appear on Boogu Yagga Gal, the Chin's CDs, and elsewhere.

Two previously unheard rural mento racks by Slim Henry are heard. Both are Harry Belafonte covers. "Jamaica Farewell" plays it a bit too safe, though the addition of mandolin adds to the overall effect. "Mama Look A Boo Boo" pulses with personality and, for me, redeems a song I never previously cared for. It's the stand out track of the CD. Slim Henry, also recorded at least one middle period album, that reveals the surprising identify of his mandolin player .

The Count Premier and Lord Libby [Lebby] tracks are mento songs performed with strong calypso leanings. I don't know if Lord Libby is the same artist as Lord Lebby, who recorded several classic singles for Ken Khouri'. It is possible, but the calypso style here is different from the classic rural mento heard on the Lebby singles. But the Lord Flea track suggests that Khouri sometimes had mento artists record a mento track in a calypso style. This earlier recording of "Naughty Little Flea" is very calypso influenced compared to the later mento version released on LP. It may in fact be from Ken Khouri's first recording session, as this it is remembered that Flea recorded a version of this song. The Dennis Syndre songs are calypso. The strong calypso leanings of this CD are not indicative of the more Jamaican sounds of Khouri's 1950s productions for the Times Store's Times Records label, or the many extraordinary rural mento sides he recorded on his own Kalypso label.

Thanks to Filthy Rich for alerting me to this release.



[Click here for back cover]
In September of 2009, the Complete Roots label released "Sound Man Shots: The Caribou & Downbeat 78's Story" This double disc set (complete with good notes from the set's compiler, Jeremy Collingwood). The first disc  compiles 19 golden age mento sides released by the Caribou  label's producer, Dada Tuari in the 1950s. The second disc collects R&B sides that Tuari licensed for released in Jamaica on his Downbeat label that same decade. In spite of some repetition with other compilations, there's enough new-to-CD mento here to recommend this set.
 


Count Lasher tracks:

1. Calypso Cha Cha
2. Perseverance
3. Miss Constance
4. Slide Mongoose
5. Calabash
6. Dalvey Gal
 


"Boogu Yagga Gal" already dipped heavily into Count Lasher's Caribou material, as did other CDs collections, but Perseverance is not available on Boogu or elsewhere.


Lord Tanamo tracks
:
7. Animal Instinct
8. Little Fist
9. Invitation To Jamaica
10. Pradieal Tief
11. Calypso Meringue
12. Wicked Woman
 


None of these six Lord Tanamo rural mento songs have ever been collected on CD making this collection important for mento fans and Lord Tanamo fans. Happily, "Little Fist" finally gets a CD airing.


Count Sticky tracks:
13. Chico Chico
14. Bam Celiena 
 

Count Sticky makes his belated CD début here, with his atypical but fun "Chico Chico".


Laurel Aitken tracks:
15. Calypso Rock ‘N’ Roll
16. Nightfall In Zion, aka
     Roll River Jordan
17. The Walls Of Jericho
18. Rege Dege Ding
19. Aitken’s Boogie  


Five Laurel Aitken tracks (more R&B than mento) round out the set, with a bit of duplication from "Laurel Aitken... The Pioneer of Jamaican Music".

In April of 2006, the Trojan  label's massive reissue campaign that began some years earlier finally turns its attention to mento. The result is a 2 CD collection called "Dip and Fall Back!: Dr. Kinsey To Haile Selassie - Classic Jamaican Mento".

The first disc covers mento's golden age, while the second covers the middle period. Liner notes with label and jacket scans are included.


Disc 1:
 1. Dr Kinsey Report - Lord Lebby
For more on this song...
 2. Ethiopia - Lord Lebby
For more on this song...
 3. Sweet Jamaica - Lord Lebby
For more on this song...
 4. Mama No Want No Rice & Peas - Lord Lebby
For more on this song...
 5. Penny Reel - Lord Power
For more on this song...
 6. Chambolia - Lord Power
 7. Strip Tease - Lord Power with Trenton Spence 
For more on this song...
 8. Let’s Do It - Lord Power with Trenton Spence 
For more on this song...
 9. Charlie’s Song - Clyde Hoyte Manor House Mentones
10. Old Firestick - Clyde Hoyte Manor House Mentones
11. Tomato - Marie Bryant
For more on this song...
12. Little Boy - Marie Bryant
For more on this song...
13. Talking Parrot - Count Lasher with Charlie Binger & His Calyposians
For more on this song...
14. Cinemascope - Count Lasher with Charlie Binger & His Calyposians 
For more on this song...
15. Limbo - Lord Tickler with the Jamaican Calyposians
For more on this song...
16. Medley - Lord Tickler with the Jamaican Calyposians
For more on this song...
17. Night Food - [Chin's] Calypso Quintet
For more on this song...
18. Walk & Talk - [Chin's] Calypso Quintet  
For more on this song...

Disc 1 features a number of golden age sides making their CD debut. Unfortunately, it also includes a number of tracks that have been compiled on other CDs. All future CD compilers are advised to stay away from tracks on "Boogu Yagga Gal". Boogu's inclusion of lyrics and excellent liner notes make this CD a cornerstone in any mento fan's collection. There are still a great many sides still awaiting release on CD!

Starting with the four Lord Lebby tracks, "Dr Kinsey Report" and "Ethiopia" are already available on "Boogu Yagga Gal" and elsewhere, but "Sweet Jamaica" (especially) and  "Mama No Want No Rice" are very welcome additions to any golden age mento fan's CD collection.

A similar situation for the four Lord Power songs, "Penny Reel" and "Chambolia" are available on the "Jamaica Mento - Authentic Recording" CD collection, but "Strip Tease" and "Let’s Do It" have never been compiled on CD.

The two Clyde Hoyte songs "Old Firestick" and "Charlie’s Song" (a.k.a. "Sweetie Charlie") are to be applauded, as no songs from this fine mento artist have previously surfaced on CD, or anywhere else other than 1950s 78 RPM singles. Likewise Marie Bryant makes an overdue CD debut with "Tomato" and "Little Boy".

It's hard to imagine a mento compilation without Count Lasher, but easy to imagine better choices than "Talking Parrot" and "Cinemascope". Both appeared on "Boogu Yagga Gal" and the former appears on two other CDs described on this page. Meanwhile, more than a few superior Lasher songs remain unreleased on CD. The same can be said about the first of two Lord Tickler tracks. "Limbo" is available on both cheapie Valmark CDs. "Medley" (consisting of "Sweetie Charlie, Mango Walk, Mr. Parney") makes its CD debut. But again, still unreleased are much better recordings by this important artist, who is more commonly known as Harold Richardson.

With the recent reissue campaign by Ivan Chin, there is very little yet to be released by Chin's Calypso Sextet. But a more illuminating Chin's recording could have been chosen than "Night Food" (available on Boogu Yagga Gal and three other CDs) and "Walk and Talk" (available on "Boogu Yagga Gal").

Disc 2:
 1. John Tom - Derrick Harriot with the Audley Williams Combo 
For more on this song...
 2. Referendum Calypso - Lord Laro
 3. Wrong Impressions Of A Soldier - Lord Laro
 4. Haile Selassie - King Bravo
 5. Shame & Scandal King Bravo with - Baba Brooks & his Orchestra
 6. Fire Fire - Lord Bryner
 7. Island In The Sun - The Hiltonaires
 8. Limbo - Lord Creator & Audley Williams Quintet
 9 Hard Times - Derrick Harriot with Audley Williams
10. Big Bamboo - Lord Jellicoe
11. Zombie Jamboree (aka Back To Back) - Lord Jellicoe
12. Hooliganism - Count Owen
13. Under the Mango Tree - Count Owen
14. Englishman - Lord Christo
15. Obeah Man - Lord Christo
16 Scandal - Louise Bennett
17. Chinese Baby - Hiltonaires
18. Dip & Fall Back - Mapletoft Poulle Orchestra
19. Jamaica Farewell - Jamaican Duke and the Mento Swingers

Disc 2 features mento singles and LP tracks from about the time of the 1960s. The scope is broad, and not every track is actually mento. The opening track, a fine performance of the Jamaican folk song "John Tom" is sung by a name more associated with rock steady than mento -- Derrick Harriot. As backed by The Audley Williams Combo, it's performed in the percussion and flute heavy style. This collection has a second track by this act, "Hard Times" (a.k.a. "What A Hard Time") performed in a similar style with a dash of cha cha.

Next is both sides of a popular single originally released on the Kalypso label featuring two originals by Lord Laro. The sound feature percussion, electric guitar and bass. These tracks, like some from this era, seem to stray from urban mento to something less distinct, but undoubtedly Caribbean. The same can be said of the two tracks by Lord Christo. In this same style, "Haile Selassie" by King Bravo, may be the first Rastafarian song that is arguably mento. "Shame and Scandal" by the same artist is ska rather than mento. The Lord Bryner track is clearly calypso rather than mento. The same is true of the Lord Creator's "Limbo". "Scandal" by Louise Bennett's (mistakenly listed as Lord Bennett) is not mento, but a spoken piece from the "Miss Lou's Views" LP.

"Big Bamboo" and "Zombie Jamboree" by Lord Jellicoe are urban style versions of these often recorded songs, both of which were first recorded in Trinidad, but became part of the mento repertoire nonetheless. The arrangement features prominent and well played electric guitar. The same is true of the Count Owen tracks, "Hooliganism" from his "Count Down" LP and "Under the Mango Tree" from his "Rock Steady" LP. Another urban track is Mapletoft Poulle's "Dip and Fall Back" from his LP, "Mento".

The classic rural sound make its disc 2 début with The Hiltonaires "Island In The Sun". Their "Chinese Baby" also appears on this disc. "Jamaica Farewell" by Jamaican Duke and the Mento Swingers is also in the rural style, though with electric guitar. It comes from his LP, "Yellow Bird".

In early 2010, the French label Fremeaux  released "Jamaica-Mento 1951-1958". This double CD is a mix of already available tracks and some that can only be found here, including three important ones as indicated below. The CD has more urban sounds than most collections. It includes shabby liner notes in French and a reduced version in English that takes information and pictures taken from this site even though I expressly declined to be involved with this project.

1.  Louise Bennett - Day Dah Light
2.  Hubert Porter - Not Me
3.  Ben Bowers - Brown Skin Girl
4.  Louise Bennett - Hosanna
5.  Hubert Porter - Iron Bar/Mas Charley Bell
6.  Lord Flea - Solas Market/Water Come A Mi Eye
7.  Lord Flea - Donkey Bray
8.  Lord Flea - Donkey City
9.  Laurel Aitken - Nebuchadnezzar
10.  Count Lasher - Mango Time  
For more on this song...
11.  Harold Richardson - Don't Fence Her In  
For more on this song...
12.  Lord Messam - Take Her To Jamaica
13.  Boysie Grant - Noisy Spring
14.  Count Lasher - Island Gal Sally
15.  The Wigglers - Linstead Market And Day O
16.  [Arthur Knibbs with] Cecil Knott And His Joybell Orchestra - Banana
For more on this song...
17.  Chin's Calypso Sextet - Woman Style
18.  Flea Lord - Irene and Yo'fr'en
1.  The Wigglers - Don't Touch Me Tomato
2.  The Wigglers - Calypso Medley
3.  Lord Flea - Magic Composer
4.  Lord Fly - Donkey City
5.  Baba Motta - Jamaica Talk
6.  Hubert Porter - Old Lady You Mash Me Toe
7.  Count Lasher - The Ole Man's Drive
8.  Count Lasher - Breadfruit Season
9.  Lord Flea - It All Began With Adam And Eve
10.  The Wrigglers - Limbo
11.  The Wrigglers - Mary Ann
12.  Hubert Porter - Bargie
13.  Count Lasher - Doctor
14.  The Wrigglers - Biggest Maracas
15.  Count Lasher - Perseverance
16.  Chin's Calypso Sextet - Night Food Recipe
17.  Count Lasher - Calypso Cha Cha
18.  Laurel Aitken - Sweet Chariot




Next comes two budget CDs, Souvenir Of Jamaica and Calypsos from Jamaica, released simultaneously on Valmark in 1998. If you saw these in a budget bin, you could have easily passed them by, with their cheap packaging that lacks any information other than the song titles. But they collect a variety of genuine 1950s mento with good sound quality, are carried by on-line retailers such as Amazon -- and are dirt cheap, to boot!

Thanks to Paul Coote, Daniel Neely and others who provided the artists for some of the songs.

Calypsos from Jamaica:


 

1. Linstead Market/Day-O - The Wigglers  For more on this song...
2. Old Lady, You Mash Me Toe - Hubert Porter
3. Jamaica Mermaid - The Wigglers
For more on this song...
4. Mama Don't Want No Peas - Lord Lebby
5. Ten Penny Nail - Hubert Porter
6. Miss Goosie - Hubert Porter
7. Rum and Coconut Water - Hubert Porter
8. Limbo - Harold Richardson 
For more on this song...
9. Not Me - Denzil Lanig Trio 
 For more on this song...
10. Solas Market/Water Come from Me Eye - ?
11. Dr. Kinsey Report - Lord Lebby 
For more on this song...
12. Mary's Lamb - Hubert Porter
 
This collection is weighted to the dance-band style, as you would expect from all the Hubert Porter tracks. At least some of these are good remakes of the originals. It does include the classic rural Lord Lebby track, "Dr. Kinsey", but the version of his "Mama Don't Want No Peas" is an OK remake of his superior original version.


 

Souvenir Of Jamaica:


 

1. Not Me - Denzil Laing Trio  For more on this song...
2. Mary Ann; Papa's Going Away - Denzil Laing Trio
For more on this song...
3. Island in the Sun - Count Owen
 For more on this song...
4. Hula-Hula-Calypso - Count Owen 
For more on this song...
5. Love (And Love Alone) -
 ?? For more on this song...
6. Jamaican Mambo - ?
7. Mambo from the W. I. - ?
8. You're a Real Operator -
Chin's Calypso Sextet
    
(actually, this track is called "Rough Rider") 
For more on this song...
9. Money Is King -
Chin's Calypso Sextet
10. Rufus Said (Honey Moon) -
Chin's Calypso Sextet
For more on this song...
11. Limbo - Harold Richardson 
For more on this song...
12. Ding Dang Walla - ?
 
Perhaps the more balanced of the two Valmark releases. Two good Count Owen tracks and some classics by Chin's. Jamaican Mambo is not mento (neither is "Mambo from the W.I. "), but the lyrics do mention mento. Love (And Love Alone) is a great rural track, worth the price of admission, though no one seems to know who the performer is!

The songs on the two Valmark CDs are collected on a budget two CD package, called "Caribbean Holiday", (on the Allegro label, 1999, left, and on the Columbia River Entertainment label, 2000, right). Actually, all the tracks could have fit on one CD. It can be harder to find, and offers nothing that the individual Valmark CDs do not have.

 



"Voyager Calypso Passion", a 2001 release on the Columbia River Entertainment label has the same tracks as the Valmark release, "Calypsos From Jamaica". Not surprisingly, this budget release does not provide the artists' names either.

See also the More Middle Period Album Scans page to see the LPs that collected this material before it was released on CD.
 


In August of 2003 a CD called "Jamaica Mento - Authentic Recording" appeared on the Traditional label out of France. It includes 18 golden age tracks in good sound quality (that's good), but many have been collected on other CDs (that could be better). The back cover liner notes are minimal and the song listing have errors and does not include artists' names. (That's a shame, but the song titles are corrected below and most of the artists are provided .)
 

This CD (as well as others on the page) can be purchased at www.reggaeCD.com

1. Healing In The Barn [Balm] Yard - Harold Richardson
     For more on this song...
2. Talking Parrot - Count Lasher For more on this song...
3. Hill and Gully Rider[/Mandeville Road] - Lord Composer
     For more on this song...
4. Ethiopa - Lord Lebby  For more on this song...
5. Old Lady - Hubert Porter
6. Blu La Lup - Lord Fly  For more on this song...
7. Penny Wheel [Penny Reel] - Lord Power For more on this song...
8. Long Time Gal - Monty Reynolds  For more on this song...
9. Linstead Market - Lord Messam  For more on this song...
10. Ten Penny Nail - Hubert Porter
11. Dry Weather [House] - George Moxey  For more on this song...
12. Country Gal - Harold Richardson
13. Night Food - Chin's  For more on this song...
14. Green Guava - Harold Richardson
15. Big Boy - Chin's  For more on this song...
16. Miss Goosie - Hubert Porter
17. Manasa - Lord Fly
18. Chambolona - Lord Power
 

 
Trojan Record's simply titled "Mento & R&B" is a 2011 double CD that may be of more interest to fans of the latter than the former. Most of is R&B, and most of its better mento tracks are available elsewhere.

Disc 1
01. Night Food - Bedasse, Chin's Calypso Quintet
02. Talking Parrot - Calypsonians, Charlie Binger, Count Lasher
03. Strip Tease - Trenton Spence, Lord Power
04. Ethiopia - Lord Lebby & the Jamaican Calypsonians
05. Limbo - Lord Tickler
06. Little Sheila - Laurel Aitken
07. Hoola Hoop Calypso - Count Owen
08. We’re Gonna Love - Wilfred‘ Jackie’ Edwards
09. Jamaica Is The Place To Go - Charlie Binger & His Quartet
10. One Kiss For My Baby - Lord Lebby, The Caribs
11. Boogie In My Bones - Laurel Aitken
12. Please Let Me Go - Owen Gray
13. Dumplings - Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
14. Tell Me Darling - Jackie Edwards
15. Far Love - Owen Gray
16. Little Vilma The - Blues Busters, Luther "Wee Willie" Williams & His Orchestra
17. Too-Woo-Up-To-Woo - The Jiving Juniors, The Caribs
18. Jenny Lee - Owen Gray
19. Worried Over You - Keith And Enid
20. The Wasp - Bubbles

Disc 2
01. Fat Man - Derrick Morgan
02. Jenny V - Teddy Brown
03. Album Of Memory - The Mellowlarks, Kenneth Richards & His Band
04. S-U-K-I-N - Kes Chin
05. Whenever There's Moonlight - Jackie Edwards
06. Now We Know - Derrick Morgan, Eric Morris, The Trenton Spence Orchestra
07. Verona - Jimmy Sinclair
08. Times Are A-Going - Martin & Derrick
09. Baa Baa Black Sheep - Cecil Byrd, Sir Dee's Group
10. A Thousand Teardrops - The Rhythm Aces
11. Girls Rush - Lloyd Clarke
12. Last Night - The Dragonaires, Byron Lee
13. Referendum Calypso - Lord Laro
14. You Said You Loved Me - Lloyd Robinson
15. I'm Sorry (Album Version) - Jimmy Cliff
16. My One Desire - The Sonny Bradshaw Quartet, Owen Gray
17. Independent Jamaica - Lord Creator
18. Sugar Dandy - The Jiving Juniors
19. Behold - The Blues Busters
20. Come Back My Love (aka I Need Your Love) - Basil & Yvonne, Sir Dee's Group




In the middle of 2013, a double CD collection of golden age tracks called "Mento, Not Calypso" was released on the Fantastic Voyage label. In addition to some oft collected songs, it has a good portion of tracks making their CD début including some significant tracks (highlighted in green below), making this collection quite necessary to own.

Disc 1
01. Mambo Jamaica - Sir Horace and His Merry Knights <link>
02. Brown Skin Gal - Tower Islanders
03. Red Head - Lord Lebby
04. Montego Calypso - Clyde Hoyte and The George Moxey Quartet
05. Medley: Sweetie Charley; Mr. Parney; Mango Walk - Lord Tickler
06. Mary’s Lamb; The More We Are Together - Hubert Porter
07. Calabash - Count Lasher
08. Wheel And Turn Me - Lord Flea
09. Give Her Love Aka Woman’s Tenderness - Chin’s Calypso Sextet
10. Limbo - Denzil Laing and The Wigglers
11. Man Is Smart, Woman’S Smarter - Jamaica Boy (Denzil Laing)
12. The Talking Parrot - The Mighty Panther and The Jamaican Calypsonians
13. Kitch - Ben Bower and Baba Motta and his Orchestra
14. Penny Reel - Lord Power
15. Whai Whai Whai - Lord Fly and Dan Williams and his Orchestra <link>
16. Green Guava - Harold Richardson
17. Hard Hearted Lover (Man Could A Smart) - Harold Richardson and The Ticklers  <link>
18. The Ole Man’S Drive - Count Lasher & George Moxey & his Calypso Quintet
19. Honeymoon - Chin’s Calypso Sextet
20. Hold ‘Im Joe - Lord Lebby
21. Advice To Men - Tower Islanders
22. Transportation Kingston Style - Lord Fly and Dan Williams and his Orchestra <link>
23. Donkey City - Lord Flea
24. Take Her To Jamaica - Count Owen <link>
25. Calypso Cha Cha Cha - Count Lasher <link>
26. Mambo La La - Lord Power

Disc 2
01. Morgan’s Mento - Sir Horace and His Merry Knights <link>
02. Special Amber Calypso - Lord Power
03. Limbo - Lord Tickler
04. Brown Skin Gal - Count Owen <link>
05. Solus Market - Boysie Grant and Reynolds Calypso Clippers
06. Ethiopia - Lord Lebby
07. Industrial Fair - Chin’s Calypso Sextet
08. Dalvey Gir; Parson - Count Lasher
09. Miss Goosie - Hubert Porter
10. Mattie Rag; Brown Skin Gal - Lord Flea
11. Parish Gal - Harold Richardson and The Ticklers  <link>
12. Cinemascope - The Mighty Panther
13. Back To Back, Belly To Belly - Lord Lebby
14. Miss Daisy; Brown Skin Girl - Hubert Porter
15. Trek To England - Count Lasher <link>
16. My Brother Calamity - Joseph Clemendore
17. Adam And Eve - Chin’s Calypso Sextet
18. Mary Ann; Brown Skin Gal - Jamaica Boy (Denzil Laing)
19. Perseverence - Count Lasher
20. Ugly Woman - Hubert Porter
21. Run Mongoose; Linstead Market - Lord Flea
22. Water The Garden - Count Lasher <link>
23. Bloodshot Eyes - Lord Lebby
24. Money Is King - Chin’s Calypso Sextet
25. Hold ‘Im Joe - Tower Islanders



Released in 2015 on the Fantastic Voyage label is double CD collection called "Jamaica Is The Place To Go"
, There's a few tracks that have never been on LP or CD (perhaps must significantly  "Bed Bug" by Count Zebra), but most of the key tracks are already available on the CDs above.

CD 1

  1. Invitation To Jamaica (Lord Tanamo and Charlie Binger’s Six)
  2. Island In The Sun (Count Owen and His Calypsonians)
  3. Mama No Want No Rice, No Peas (Lord Lebby with The Jamaican Calypsonians)
  4. Hold ’Em Joe (Lord Foodoos and His Calypso Band)
  5. Baba Kill Me Goat (Laurel Aitken and The Boogie Cats)
  6. Referendum Calypso (Lord Laro)
  7. Chico Chico (Count Sticky and His Calypsonians)
  8. Rough Rider (Alerth Bedasse with Local Calypso Quintet)
  9. Naughty Little Flea (Lord Flea and His Calypsonians)
  10. Rum And Coconut Water (Hubert Porter with The Jamaican Calypsonians)
  11. Charlie’s Song (Clyde Hoyte’s Manor House Mentones)
  12. Hool-A-Hoop Calypso (Count Owen and His Calypsonians)
  13. Maintenance (Cobra Man with Ganny Gabbison and His Calypso Band)
  14. Back To Back, Belly To Belly (Lord Foodoos and His Calypso Band)
  15. Strip Tease (Lord Power with Trenton Spence Quartet)
  16. Banana (Arthur Knibbs with Cecil Knott and His Joybell Orchestra)
  17. Wicked Woman (Lord Tanamo)
  18. Calypso Rock N Roll (Laurel Aitken)
  19. Bed-Bug (Count Zebra and The Seasiders)
  20. Love, Love Alone (Unidentified)
  21. Aye, Aye, Aye (Count Owen and His Calypsonians)
  22. Wheel And Tun Me (Bertie King)
  23. Lousy Mother In Law (Lord Foodoos and His Calypso Band)
  24. Little Boy (Marie Bryant and Mike McKenzie Quintet)

CD2

  1. Sweet Jamaica (Lord Lebby with The Jamaican Calypsonians)
  2. Chambolina (Lord Power with Calypso Quintet)
  3. Lawd Some Man Could A Smart (Count Owen and His Calypsonians)
  4. Nebuchnezer (Laurel Aitken)
  5. Drive Her Home (Lord Foodoos and His Calypso Band)
  6. Cat-O-Nine (Count Zebra and The Seasiders)
  7. Animal Instinct (Lord Tanamo and His Calypsonians)
  8. Old Firesticks (Clyde Hoyte’s Manor House Mentones)
  9. Bam Celiena (Count Sticky and His Calypsonians)
  10. Mama Look Tea (Lord Tickler and The Jamaican Calypsonians)
  11. The Weed (Count Owen and His Calypsonians)
  12. Let’s Do It (Lord Power with Trenton Spence Quartet)
  13. Stone Cold Dead In The Market (Lord Foodoos and His Calypso Band)
  14. Rege Dege Ding (Laurel Aitken and His Calypso Band)
  15. Wrong Impressions Of A Solder (Lord Laro)
  16. Little Fist (Lord Tanamo and His Calypsonians)
  17. Honey Bee (Alerth Bedasse with Chin’s Sextet)
  18. Not Me (Hubert Porter with The Jamaican Calypsonians)
  19. The Lost Watch (Count Owen and His Calypsonians)
  20. Miss Constance (Count Lasher and Charlie Binger's Six)
  21. Jamaica Is The Place To Go (Harold Richardson with Charlie Binger and His Quintet)
  22. Jamaica Farewell (Lord Foodoos and His Calypso Band)
  23. The Mermaid (The Wigglers)
  24. Tomato (Marie Bryant and Mike McKenzie Quintet)



Released in 2015 is the 4-CD box set, "Simply Calypso" on the Union Square Music label.
Mento is represented by 6 already available on CD tracks:

Calypso Cha Cha - Count Lasher
Miss Constance - Count Lasher
Monkey Talk - George Moxley
Guzoo Doctor – Chin’s
Jamaica Gal - Chin’s
Chico Chico - Count Sticky


[Click above for large image]
[Click here for back cover]
 

In 1999, the Reggae Retro label released "Laurel Aitken... The Pioneer of Jamaican Music". It can be a bit tricky to find for such a recent release. The first 5 of 25 tracks are calypso-influenced mento recorded from 1957 to 1959, often in Aitken's rough and unique style. The last two tracks have Jamaican great Ernest Ranglin on electric guitar. The rest of the tracks are calypso, R&B and ska. Informative liner notes and lyrics are included.

1. Ghana Independence (They Got It)
2. Mas Charlie (Prisoner Song)
3. Nebuchadnezzar 
For more on this song...
4. Baba Kill Me Goat
5. Tribute to Collie Smith
 


 
  "Swingin' Calypsos", by Lord Flea and His Calypsonians released on Capitol Records in 1957.

This is a strong LP with a lot of great songs, vocals and playing. It's worth seeking out at your favorite used-record store, on-line dealer or eBay, where it can be obtained inexpensively. (Since this was released on Capitol, there are many copies floating around.) See the Lord Flea page for more information and song clips from this LP.
 

Hold everything! Don't hit the used record stores yet. In April of 2009, Capitol finally released Lord Flea's "Swingin' Calypsos" on CD, though you wouldn't know it at first glance. For more information, visit the Lord Flea page here.  

front

 

back


 

[Click above for large image]
[Click here for back cover]
[Click here for liner notes]

More hidden mento. Released  in 2001 on the Legacy International label, "Steel Drum and Calypso Music" is neither. Instead, it's a CD release of the Lord Foodoos mento LP, Calypso!". The cover features - and liner notes describe - steel drums, which are not present anywhere in the music. And the artist's name is misspelled, omitting the final "o". But do grab this budget priced CD (Amazon and others carry it) and you can hear an OK rural mento set with more of a 1960's middle-period sound, even though it was recorded in 1957. The Lord Foodoos LP, "Calypso!" is pictured and discussed on the More Golden Age Album Scans page.

 


 

Though not a typical in sound for its time, here is a collection of songs from the mid-1950s by Lord Composer that is available for purchase through a number of paid download services, such as www.emusic.com. Backed by The Calypso Champions, Composer is in a relaxed mood, pleasantly performing mento hits with a piano, hand drum and maracas accompaniment. A pleasing set, as long as one does not expect a sound anything like the burning single Composer recorded for MRS in the 1950s. A track listing follows:

1. Hard Times
2. Glamour Girls
3. Donkey Race
4. Come Down From America
5. Daisy
6. Ugly Woman
7. Daphne Walking [also includes "Parson"]
8. Holiday Rumba

9. Banana
10. Little Fly Song
11. White Girls and Black Girls
12. Chi Chi Bird Oh [also includes "Fan Me Soldier Man"]
13. Linstead Market
14. Nobody's Business
15. Mattie Rag [also includes "Natta Bay Road"]
16. Wheel And Turn Me

Half of these tracks were originally released on a 10" LP from a US record company in Florida as seen here.
 

Middle Period

In the summer of 2005, the Dub Store Japan label, has released Count Owen's middle period LP, "Calypsos Down Jamaica Way" on CD. It's available from Ernie B's (http://www.ebreggae.com/) and from other retailers that specialize in Japanese imports. Londoners can also pick up a copy at Honest Jons Records on Portobello Road. For more on this release click this link.

Readily available from their web site is a Smithsonian-Folkways CD of the 1960 LP, "Calypso Jamaica". Only 1000 copies were originally released on the Cook-Microfusion label. But in 1990, Emory Cook and his family donated all of his recordings to Smithsonian-Folkways.

Don't let the folded sheet of paper that serves as a jacket fool you. The sound is excellent and the performance is very strong. The unnamed group consists of Lord Myrie on guitar and vocals, Cecil Mitchell  on banjo, and James Convery on marimba box.
 

(Cecil is still going strong, playing in Montego Bay as a member of The Triangles.)

This July 26, 1960 session foreshadows the sound of the mento resurgence and that of today's hotel bands. The songs are comprised of middle period staples, less commonly covered golden age songs, what are most probably Trinidadian calypsos, and one "old standard". And it may have been recorded in 1960, but some tracks sure sound like (not ska, but) reggae!
 

  1. Darling I'm Starving So
2. Kinsey Report
3. Don't Roll Those Blood
     Shot Eyes At Me
4. Spelling Song
5. The Secret Murder
6. Big Bamboo
7. Woman Smarter Than Man
8. Take Her To Jamaica
9. Miss Emily
10. Adam and Eve
11. Marianne
12. Goodnight Ladies
Thanks to Brian Keyo for alerting me to this release and providing the background.

A single from this LP was also released, as seen here.

Smithsonian-Folkways will also burn you a CDR of the 1979 LP "Calypso Rock Songs of Jamaica" by Horace Johnson & The Eagle Star. Needless to say, the title is a double misnomer, as the music is strictly rural mento. The music is OK if unremarkable. Sound quality is excellent. (Sorry, a larger image is not available.)   1. Education in School
2. Island in the Sun
3. Paradise Island
4. Yellow Bird
5. Come to Jamaica
6. January, February, March
7. The Donkey Want Water
8. Love in the Cemetery
9. Can't Make Love Without
     Money

 

Vocals and harmony are quite nice. Eagle Star consists of Leroy Jones, Noel Dona and Enel Allen, though it is not stated who plays what instrument. Song choices include some popular folk/mento numbers and a few from calypso. One unfamiliar track "January, February, March" is quite evocative, even though the lyrics are just a recitation of the months. It features a folksy sound that to my ears provides the missing link between rural mento and Simon and Garfunkel!  Thanks to Robin Bleakley, of Louisville, Kentucky, for alerting me to this release.


 

The Hiltonaires "Big Bamboo" LP has been released on CD. Amazon stocks it.

Their "Ska-Motion in Ska-Lip-So" LP was re-released on vinyl and can be purchased from ErnieB's Reggae, for example.

 

For more on these releases be sure to visit The Hiltonaires page.


The late-2004 release, "Trojan Jamaica Box Set", has a number of tracks that will be of interest to mento fans. First, there are six middle-period mento tracks, as described below:

The Hiltonaires - Jamaica

This pretty good Hiltonaires track come from their LP, "Meet Me In Jamaica With Sunshine")

Count Owen - Take Her To Jamaica [Where The Ska Comes From]

An updated version of the mento tourist song "Take Her To Jamaica [Where The Rum Comes From]" from his "Skalipso" LP, that falls between urban mento and ska.

Lord Kitchener - Jamaica Woman

Kitchner is really a calypso, rather than mento act. But this Jamaica-themed, Jamaica produced (by Leslie Kong) jazzy track blurs the already indistinct line between jazzy dance band mento and jazzy calypso.

Webb Ralston and The Drumbago Band - Jamaica Mento

I was surprised to see a mento track by a band led by the famous ska drummer, Arkland "Drumbago" Parks  - but not very. All of the original ska musicians, such as the Skatalites, had jazz background. That typically entailed jazzy dance dance mento recordings and performances. Not surprisingly, this dance band mento has an emphasis on percussion.  (The single's original flipside, Cornmeal Dumpling , is described a bit here.)

Duke Harris - Jamaica Way

A somewhat urbanized rural mento, from an LP or perhaps a single that I am not familiar with.

Count Lasher - Jump Independently

The same track as found on the "Trojan Calypso Box Set" and on "Jump Up Calypso", both seen below.

Additionally, this collection includes two reggae covers of mento songs:

Paragons - Island In The Sun
John Holt - Jamaica Farewell

And finally, a Lord Tanamo reggae track "My Sweet Jamaica", with something of a mento feel to the vocals.

Keeping their promise, the 2002 release, "Trojan Calypso Box Set", does indeed include some mento tracks. These were singles that were recorded by Duke Reid and others between 1960 and 1970. This is polished urban mento with, at times, a calypso aspect to the sound.

Yes, that's the original Toots and the Maytals recording of "Bam Bam". It definitely is not calypso, so it must be included as a mento song. Hard to argue, after hearing the arrangement of the the old Count Lasher track "Mango Time". The mento songs on

this box are listed below:

Bam Bam - Count Lasher & Williams with Lyn Taitt & The Baba Brooks Band
'Mufridite - Count Lasher & Williams with Lyn Taitt & The Baba Brooks Band
The Weed (aka Man Piabba) - Count Lasher with Lyn Taitt & the Baba Brooks Band
Jamaica Is The Place To Go - Charlie Binger & His Quartet
Woman A Love In The Night Time - Lord Spoon & David
In The Park - Count Alert with Lyn Taitt & The Baba Brooks Band
Bam Bam - The Maytals
Country Gal - Charlie Binger & His Quartet
 

The 2004 collection, "Trojan Sunshine Reggae Box Set", includes two 1960s mento tracks:

"Jamaica Farewell" by Jamaica Duke has banjo playing the mento rhythm and lead alto sax fulfilling the role that would have been clarinet or bamboo a decade earlier. Acoustic guitar, electric bass and hand drums complete reggae-influenced rural mento cover of the Harry Belafonte hit. An LP by this artist can be seen on the "More Middle Period Album Scans" page.

The second mento related track on this release is "A Dash of the Sunshine" by Lord Tanamo. This track is discussed on the Lord Tanamo page.


 


[Click above for large image]
[Click here for back cover]
 
This 1966 Treasure Isle album, "Jump Up Calypso" was reissued on CD in 1998 on the Jet Set label. Mento in the same style as on the Trojan box above. Beware: there are a number of tracks repeated between the two. The liner notes indicate that mento was sometimes known as "jump up", (though its really more of a calypso term). It was also at times called "Jamaican Rhumba". Is it any wonder that the word mento is so obscure? In addition to the mento tracks listed below, the CD is rounded out with 5 ska tracks.

 

1. Jump Independently - Count Lasher
2. The Weed (aka Piabba) - Count Lasher
3. Old Man's Drive - Count Lasher
4. Hooligans - Count Lasher
5. Dog War Jump Up - Baba Brooks and Lynn Taitt
6. Bam Bam - Count Lasher
7. 'Mufridite - Count Lasher
8. In the Park - Count Alert
9. Hard Times - Count Alert

Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing out that "Old Man's Drive" is mislabeled, and not by Count Lasher.

Also, see above for the description of the collection "Dip and Fall Back" for more middle-period mento available on CD. 

Resurgence



In early 2008, the rare 1973 LP, "From Mento To Reggae To Third World Music", by saxophonist Cedric "Im" Brooks saw its first release on CD. It includes some mento tracks.

See here for details.

I enjoyed The Jolly Boys CDs for years before I had the opportunity to hear any other mento. When I finally heard artists like Lord Lebby, I was struck by how true the Jolly Boys line up and sound was to the classic rural mento sound of 40 years earlier. Strictly banjo, acoustic guitar, rumba box, maracas, hand drum and vocals.

The first three CDs listed below are out of print, but can be found fairly easily and inexpensively by pinging used-record stores, liquidators and eBay. The live CD is an in-print Japanese-only release, and can be purchased from sites that offer imported CDs (though the high cost of Japanese imports may give you pause). The 3 studio CDs are recommended as an excellent way to hear resurgent mento. The great majority of these songs are covers of old mentos, with only an occasional original or non-mento cover.

As of 2011, these out-of-print CD are being made available as digital downloads from Funzalo Records.

In 2011, The Jolly Boys returned with an new lineup, a new LP and more as seen here on this site's The Jolly Boys page


 

 

In 2002, Stanley Beckford, backed by The Blue Glaze Mento Band, recorded, "Stanley Beckford Plays Mento". They released a follow up CD, "Reggaemento", in 2004. Visit the Stanley Beckford page for more on these and other releases by Stanley Beckford. Two CDs

described on that page are  recommended as an excellent way to hear resurgent mento and reggae-mento.

Thanks for Wallace Pryor of St. Louis, Missouri for providing the following information about a mento band called The Upbeaters, who appeared in two 1990s Hollywood movies. Though they did not appear on the soundtrack CDs, can be seen performing on the DVDs.

In "Prelude To A Kiss" (1992, with Meg Ryan and Alec Baldwin) this mento trio (banjo, guitar and rumba box) perform "Jamaica Farewell" by a hotel swimming pool. They also appear in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (1998, with Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg), where they perform "By The Rivers Of Babylon" (originally done by The Melodians).

Wallace was able to determine The Upbeaters are Simon Street, Harold Dawkins and Kenneth Buckford, though it is not known who plays what instrument.

 

Also see:


 

 

email me at:
mike@mentomusic.com

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