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Cover Versions of Mento & Jamaican Folk Songs


Page last revised: 1/28/2023


Visit the pages for Bob Marley and the Wailers, Stanley Beckford and for Harry Belafonte to see what mento songs these artist covered. Also see the Mento and Jazz page to see what mento songs 1920s jazz men Sam Manning and Lionel Belasco recorded.

Below is a list of other covers. Along with a who's who of ska and reggae, mento songs have been covered by artists in a number of genres. (I'm still searching to see if Jimmy Cliff or Dennis Brown ever recorded a mento cover.) In reggae, singers typically stay faithful to the original, while the DJs and dance hall artists use as little from the original as a key phrase.

As always, any information you can provide to this site is greatly appreciated, so please feel free to email me with additional covers at mike@mentomusic.com. Special thanks to Olivier Albot, a Jamaican music fan from France, who has found more than 20 obscure folk/mento covers, as credited below.

Jump to:    Ska      Reggae      Dancehall & Ragga     American Folk & Pop     Rock & R&B     Jazz     Other 


Ska Covers of Mento Songs

Laurel Aitken - Shake

Shake Senora

Laurel Aitken - Sally Brown

Based on Count Lasher's  "Island Girl Sally Brown"

Laurel Aitken - Propaganda

Uses the melody of "Sweetie Charlie". Thanks to Marcus Jochum of Fürth im Ostertal, Germany for pointing this out.

Dennis Alcapone - Shades of Hudson

Half of it is "Emanuel Road".

Roland Alphonso - Big Bamboo

Though very much a part of the mento repertoire, the original recording of this song was a hit in 1952 for Trinidadian calypso star Duke of Iron. 

Roland Alphonso - Sandy Gully

An instrumental version of "Advice To Men" by Harold Richardson and The Ticklers.

Theo Beckford & The Charmers - Glamour Girl

Beverly All Stars - Sly Mongoose

An instrumental version. Thanks to Brian Keyo for

Blues Busters - Shame And Scandal

Baba Brooks Band / Skatalites - Bank To Bank

This instrumental is said to be an old mento song, but I haven't been able to substantiate this. Perhaps it's being confused with the song, Riverbank.

Baba Brooks - Mattie Rag

An instrumental version.

Baba Brooks - Collie Foot

An instrumental based on Count Lasher's "Calabash". (Thanks to Olivier Albot of France for pointing this out to me.)

Baba Brooks - Emmanuel Road

Cavaliers - Dip Them

Desmond Dekker  - Island In The Sun; Jamaica Farwell

Desmond Dekker  - King of Ska

Takes the melody from "Old Lady Oh".

Desmond Dekker and The Specials - Sammy Dead

Desmond Dekker  - Soldering

Part of Rukumbine appears twice.

Shenley Duffus - Rukumbine (Thanks to Frank Martin for reminding me of this one.)

Four Aces - Hoochy-Koochy Kai-Po

A cover of Chin's "Don't Fool Roun Me Gal", a.k.a. "Mo-Bay China Man", by the pre-Desmond Dekker Aces.

The Gaylads  - Manuel Road, Sly Mongoose, River Bed (River Ben), Nobody's Business

The Gaylads and The Skatalites - Brown Skin Gal, Chi Chi Bud

Thanks to Brian Keyo for pointing both of these out.

Clancy Eccles - Sammy No Dead

Technically, "Sammy's Dead" may be more of a Jamaican folk song than a mento song. In any event, hear why Eccles was more successful as a producer than a singer.

Derrick Harriott - Face Dog

Based on the old JA folksong "John Tom".

Derrick Harriott - Monkey Ska

Lord Flea's "Monkey". Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

The Israelites - Muma Muma

A.k.a.: "Mattie Rag" or "Charley's Cow"

Lord Jellicoe And His Ska Rockets - Goosie

"Miss Goosie".  Thanks to Russ Keith of the UK for pointing this out.

Carlos Malcolm - Cut Munu, Ethiopia, Sly Mongoose, and Sweetie Charlie, Skamania (Baji), Shame and Scandal, Wings of a Dove

Malcolm's ska had a Latin influence. Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing some of these out to me.

Derrick Morgan - Don't Call Me Daddy

Not a straight cover but thematically owes a lot to The Hiltonaires' "Chinese Baby"

Derrick Morgan - Soldier Man

Derrick Morgan - No Body's Business

Derrick Morgan - River To The Back

Also know as "Can't Cross Over" or "Bamboo", Derrick's reggae version includes fife, harkening back to this song's roots.

Derrick Morgan - River To The Back

“Who To Call Your Friend” by Denzil Laing & The Wrigglers. Thanks to Al Kaatz of Washington state for pointing this out.

Duke Reid - Night Food

According to Joop Visser, writing in the liner notes of the Deep Ska collection, it is,  in fact, Lord Tanamo singing on this faithful cover of the Chin's song. He further identifies Tanamo's real name as Joseph Gordon.

Charmers (as Duke Reid Group) - Hill and Gully Ride

King Stitt - Iron Bar

King Bravo - Shame and Scandal

Danziel Lang - Man Payada

"'Man Pyaba", most probably by Denzil Laing

Lord Tanamo - Iron Bar, Maryann, Matty Rag (sometimes called "Ol' Matilda"), Chinese Baby (called "Daddy "), Mother and Wife (called "Mother's Choice").

Tommy McCook - Wheel and Turn

Messenjah - Emmanuel Road

Thanks to DJ David Pablo for alerting me to this.

Eric 'Monte" Morris and Byron Lee - Sammy Dead

Eric 'Monte' Morris - Penny Reel

With the Skatalites backing him, Monte Morris has his finest hour with this classic ska update of Lord Power's mento song. A rare case where the cover surpasses the original mento.

Eric 'Monte' Morris - Beautiful Garden

Prince Buster - Come Along

Lord Lebby's "Etheopia" with the focus changed from Ethiopia to ska.

Prince Buster - She Pon Top

The smooth dance band mento standard transformed to a rough ska with nyabinghi drums.

Prince Buster - Buster's Ska

Uses the melody of Day-O.

Prince Buster - Sammy Dead Medley

Also includes "A Little More Oil In My Lamp" and "The Got To Come"

Prince Buster - Save Mama

"Mother and Wife"

Prince Buster - Ska Day-O, Tie The Donkey's Tail (Jack-ass Song), Healing (Healing In The Balmyard)

Prince Buster - Firestick

Old Lady Oh

Prince Buster - Girl Why Won't You Answer to Your Name

The melody of "Oh Lady O"

Prince Buster - Healing

Healing In The Balmyard

Dennis Sindrey - Yellow Bird Ska

Skatalites - Coconut Ska

Sly Mongoose

Skatalites - Peanut Vendor

Though a part of the mento repertoire, this track may be Cuban in origin and was covered by numerous artists in many genres.

Skatalites - River Bed

River Come Down

Skatalites - Musical Communion

Both "Water Come to Me Eye" and "Day-O" are both quoted at the end of this instrumental. Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Skatalites - Salt Lane Gal

Stranger and Patsy - Hog In Cocoa

Hog In Me Minty

Lynn Taitt and the Jetts - Mango Walk

Toots and the Maytals - Little Flea

Naughty Flea

The Vagabonds - Linsdka

"Lindsdka", as in "Linstead Market" and "ska"

The Virtues - Your Wife And Mother

Whistling Willie (Neville Willoughby) - Penny Reel

Delroy [Wilson] & Paulette - Dance The Ska

Based on Count Lasher's "Calypso Cha Cha". Thanks to Terentyev Savva for pointing this out.

Ranny Williams and The Hippy Boys - "Big Boy"

A guitar-led instrumental of Chin's "Big Boy And Teacher", plus a bit of "Mango Walk" as an introduction.

 [Wilson] & Paulette - Dance The Ska

Based on Count Lasher's "Calypso Cha Cha". Thanks to Terentyev Savva for pointing this out.

Reggae Covers of Mento Songs

Charlie Ace - Penny Reel

Credited to "Charlie and Sticky", as seen here.

Theo Beckford - Brother Ram Goat

"Ba Ba Di Ya" a.k.a. "Miss A Ram Goat". Thanks to Russ Keith of the UK for pointing this out.

Big Youth - Mama Look

Big Youth - Survival Plan

Uses the "Some of dem a holla, some a bawl" refrain from "Chi Chi Bud" throughout the song.

Big Youth - Dread In A Festival 

Quotes from "Give Me Back My Shilling"

Big Jim - Monkey Do

Lord Flea's "Monkey"

Black Uhuru - Shine Eye Gal

Shine Eye Gal is actually a Jamaican folk song, though Black Uhuru added a lot of lyrics. Frats Quintet recorded a folk version in 1966.

Black Uhuru - Dry Weather House

Performed by one of their later line ups.

Cedric Im Brooks - Matty Run

Cedric Im Brooks - Sly Mongoose; Nobody's Business

Roots reggae / calypso fusion.

Charlie Ace and Sticky - Penny Reel

A mento-reggae version of this song.

Barry Brown - Emmanuel Road

Bullwackies All Stars - Boma-Ye-Dub

"Miss Goosie".  Thanks to Russ Keith of the UK for pointing this out.

Calypso Joe - Adults Only

A pair of misnomers for this 1968 reggae release. Calypso Joe was a short lived pseudonym for Lord Power. "Adults Only" is actually the Count Lasher song, "Miss Constance". What very well may be  

Clint Eastwood - Nobody's Business

Congos - The River Beng Come Down

Quotes from two folk/mento songs, "River Ben Come Down" and "Hold 'Im Joe".

Cedric Im Brooks - Salt Lane Rock

Salt Lane Gal

Samuel Cargill - Sambo Gal

Lord Fly's "Big Big Sambo Gal". Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

Charlie Chaplin - Jamaican Collie

Uses the chorus of Take Me to Jamaica Where The Rum Comes From", updated to "..where the collie [marijuana] comes from"

Charlie Chaplin - Revival

"Dip Dem Bedward" is incorporated.

Johnny Clark - Collie Dread

Sammy's Dead

Johnny Clark - Don't Call I Daddy

Same lineage as the Derrick Morgan song above. Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

Clint Eastwood  - Some A Holler

Some of "Chi Chi Bud", a little of "Charlie's Cow" and bit from a Ring Game, plus updated lyrics.

Clint Eastwood  and General Saint - Shame and Scandal

Clint Eastwood and General Saint - Talk About Run

"Love In The Cemetery". Although part of the mento repertoire, this song was originally recorded by Trinidadian calypso star Lord Kitchner.)

Clint Eastwood and General Saint - Matty Gunga Walk

Mattie Run

Clint Eastwood and General Saint - Healing In The Balmyard

It's a mento medley by the DJ duo, as "Healing In The Balmyard", "Long Time Gal", "Sly Mongoose", "Brown Skin Gal", "Wheel and Turn", and "Old Macdonald" (?!)  are rattled off in rapid succession.

England Cook - Samba Gal

Lord Fly's "Big Big Sambo Gal"

Count Lasher - Maintenance

A reggae version of the old mento song, as described further on the Count Lasher page.

Culture - Forward To Africa

This is a cover of Lord Lebby's Etheopia. Jim Dooley, who maintains a Culture website at http://www.culturereggae.net/ once asked Joseph Hill about this track. Hill didn’t recall having heard Lebby's recording - he just remembered hearing the song on street corners.

Culture - I'm Alone In The Wilderness

In part based on a Jamaican folk song called "Me Alone", as recorded by The Jamaican Folk Singers in 1969. Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

Culture - Get Them Soft

The Jack-ass song. Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

Earl Cunningham - John Tom

Nora Dean - Walk and Talk

Nora Dean - Want Man

The melody was taken from a Jamaican folk song, "Mama Me Wan Fe Work" as recorded by The Frats Quintet in 1958.

Nora Dean - Night Food Reggae

 Night Food

Des All Stars - Night Food Reggae

Dillinger - Babylon Bridge

 Quotes "Manuel Road". Thanks to Russ Keith of the UK for pointing this out. 

Dillinger - Dip Them Bedward

Dip Dem (In The Healing Stream)

Phyllis Dillon - Don’t Touch Me Tomato

Phyllis Dillon - Boys and Girls Reggae (Doing The Reggae)

Based on "Black Girl In The Ring". Thanks to Frank Martin of Ireland for pointing this out.

Desmond Decker  - Daylight Come


Desmond Decker  - Jamaica Farewell

Desmond Decker  - Hey Grandma

Not a cover, but as Frank Martin of Ireland points out, the lyrics mention singing a mento song:
I didn't do nothing wrong,
I was just singing a song,
Sweetie Charlie, Charlie, Sweetie Sweetie Charlie...

Dillinger - Flat Foot Hustling

Becomes Linstead Market at the end of the song.

Father Sketto - Big 9

A faithful reggae cover of "Maintenance"

George Fullwood - Rucumbine

Reggae cover with rural vocals and a nice dub version on the flip.

General Gennings - Bargie

General Gennings - Johnny Meyre

New lyrics to the melody of "Wheel And Turn Me".

Dean Fraser - Nuff Gal Mud Up

Instrumental medley including "Mango Walk" and "Long Time Gal".

General Echo - Foxy Mama

Borrow heavily from "Little Boy"/"Out De Light"

Gladiators - Boy In Long Pants

The melody comes from Chin's Calypso Quintet's "Night Food"

Justin Hines and The Dominoes - Cock Mouth Kill Cock

Olivier Albot Points out that this song (sometimes also called "Hey Mama Hey Papa") is Lord Power's "Chambolia".

Joe Gibbs - Dub Island

"Island In The Sun" as an instrumental dub.

Derrick Harriott - Face Dog

Folk song "John Tom"

Hippy Boys - Hog In Me Minty

I-Roy - Fire Stick

DJ I-Roy takes us through a medley of Penny Reel, Miss Goosie, Sly Mongoose, an unfamiliar ribald football song about a girl from Kent, Fire Stick and a reprise of Penny Reel.

Jah Lion - Little Sally Dater

The old Ring Game song, "Little Sally Water"

Jah Lion (or Jah Lloyd) - Bad Luck Natty

"Teacher Lick The Gal" with a new melody. Thanks to Al Kaatz of Washington state for the reminder.

Jah Youth - Little Natty Dread

Borrows the main refrain from the Lord Flea hit, as "Where did the naughty little flea go?" become "Where did this natty little dread go?"

Jah Woosh - Judy Drownded

Jamaicans - Fire Fire

The melody was taken from a Jamaican folk song, "Mama Me Wan Fe Work" as recorded by The Frats Quintet in 1958. (Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.)

Jamaicans - Black Girl

A faithful rendition of the ring game song.

Winston Jarrett - Babylon Burning

The melody was taken from a Jamaican folk song, "Mama Me Wan Fe Work" as recorded by The Frats Quintet in 1958. (Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.)

Winston Jarrett - Come Down Zacchius

Louise Bennett's "Come Dung" from her LP "Listen To Louise". (Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.)

Junior English - Big Boy And Treacher

Keith Black Slate - Day Light Come

Day-O with some new lyrics

Barrington Levy - She's Mine

Borrows the melody from "Mango Walk". (Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.)

The Linkers (The Meditations) - Nyah Man Story

The melody was taken from a Jamaican folk song, "Mama Me Wan Fe Work" as recorded by The Frats Quintet in 1958. (Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.)

Little Dread - Rukumbine

Little John - Come Back To Me

Incorporates the chorus of "Back To Back, Belly To Belly"

Lord Tanamo - "China Man From Montego Bay"

Lord Tanamo - Ol Fowl

"Ol' Fowl" and "Dog War"

Lord Tanamo - Jamaica Farwell, Yellow Bird, Island In The Sun, Shame and Scandal In The Family

Hugh Malcom - Mortgage

Uses the melody from Arthur Knibb's "Soldier Man"

Maytones - Brown Girl In The Ring

Maxie, Niney and Scratch (Max Romeo, Niney the Observer and Lee Scratch Perry) - Babylons Burning

The melody was taken from a Jamaican folk song, "Mama Me Wan Fe Work" as recorded by The Frats Quintet in 1958. (Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.)

The Meditators - Good Morning Mother Cuba

Rukumbine, sort of. Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Mellodies - Dread Oppression

 The melody of "Oh Lady O"

Melodians - Daphne Walking

Mother Liza and Papa Kojack - Dance Pon The Band Stand


Prince Glen [a.k.a Trinity] - Hog In Mi Minty

With new lyrics for the verses

Prince Jazzbo - Penny Reel

Prince Junior - Shame and Scandal

Eek A Mouse - Dip Em

Ethiopians - Leave My Business Alone

Altered, but recognizable. (Thanks to Olivier Albot of France)

Ethiopians - Rock Me Dine

"Rookumbine", at least in part.

Owen Gray - Put Me In Jail


Derrick Harriot - Face Dog

A version of the old folk- and mento song, "John Tom".

Joe Higgs - Day-O

Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Joe Higgs - Mother Radio'

"Look Out Fe You Tongue" by Chin's. (Thanks to Olivier Albot of France)

John Holt - Island In The Sun

Itals - Chill Out

Borrows lyrics from "Chi Chi Bud"

I-Roy - Casmas Town

Manual Road

I-Roy - Catty Rock

Big Boy and Teacher

I-Roy - Hill And Gully

I-Roy - Monkey Fashion

Lord Flea's "Monkey"

Gregory Isaacs - Day-O

Gregory Isaacs - Nobody Knows

Naughty Little Flea with vermin-free lyrics. Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

Jah Woosh - In Deh

Miss Goosie (Thanks to Andreas Mink for pointing this out.)

Justin Hinds and the Dominos - Penny Reel

Jamaica All-Stars - Linstead Market and Banana

Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Jamaica Jazz - Linstead Market

Thanks again to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Ini Kamoze - Hill and Gully

Loosely based on.

Dandy Livingstone - Come Back Liza

Lone Ranger - Labor  Ward

Quotes from "Hol' 'em Joe"

Lone Ranger - Coconut Woman

Lone Ranger - Jamaican Weed

Takes the chorus from "Take Her To Jamaica Where The Rum Comes From" and changes rum to collie.

Freddie McGregor - In Your Dreams

Based on the Jamaican folk song, "Evening Time"

Lee Perry and The Silvertones - Finger Mash

Emanuel Road

Lee Perry - John Tom

Lee Perry and The Upsetters - Goosey

Miss Goosey (Thanks to Andreas Mink for pointing this out.)

Pinchers - Hill and Gully Ride

Just the titular refrain survives from the original, to the "My Boy Lollipop" riddim.

Pyramids - Banana

Thanks to Mark Gorney of the San Francisco Vintage Reggae Society for pointing this out.

Meditations - Woman Piabba (aka The Weed)

Derrick Morgan - Ben Johnson Day

"Mama Me Want Fe Work", a folk song as recorded by The Frats Quintet. Thanks, Olivier Albot, for bringing this to my attention. For another example of this folk song being retooled into a famous reggae song see here.

Mr Symarip - Hog In A Mi Minty

Junior Mervin (Murvin) - Penny Relo

Penny Reel

Mutabaruka - The Monkey

Mutabaruka - Peanut Vendor

Johnny Osbourne - Baccara

Uses some of "Belly Lick"

Johnny Osbourne - Day-O

Johnny Osbourne - Hill and Gully

Complete with a synthesized banjo picking sound over early digital dance hall. Thanks to Frank Martin of Balbriggan, Ireland for finding this one.

Papa Michigan and General Smiley - Come When I Call

Uses a stanza from Lord Flea's "Monkey" and also briefly quotes "Manual Road".

Papa Tullo - Youth of Today

DJ Tullo ends his song with by quoting the chorus of "Mama Look A Boo Boo".

The Paragons - Yellow Bird; Island In The Sun

Dwight Pinkney - Mento Reggae

Mango Walk

Pioneers - No Dope Me Pony

Hol' Him Joe

Pioneers - Dip And Fall Back

Pioneers - Bring Him Come

Takes from "Charley's Cow"/"Mattie Rag" Thanks to David Pablo of Colton, California for pointing this out.

Prince Bothers - Hold Him Joe

Prince Brothers - Gal and Boy, Let Them Play, Jeremiah

These are "Manuel Road", "The Jack-Ass Song" and Wheel and Turn Me" (Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing all of these out to me.)

Michael Prophet - Emanuel Road

Thanks to David Pablo of Colton, California for pointing this out.

Rankin Dread - African

Quotes from "Rukumbine"

Ranking Joe - Oh What A Night

A medley of "Linstead Market" and "Long Time Gal", as brought to my attention by Olivier Albot.

Ranking Trevor - Some A Holla

"Chi Chi Bud"

Ras Michael and The Sons of Negus - Boma Yeah

Olivier Albot points out that this is a cover version of the Jamaican folk song Rasam Gooma as recorded by The Frats Quintet in 1962.

Johnny Ringo - Calypso Fi Granny

Not a cover, but does mention the song "Rukumbine".

Hubert Roe - Goosie

The lyrics of both "Miss Goosie" and "Matty Gungo Walk" are combined.

Max Romeo - Chi Chi Bud

Max Romeo - Sixpense

Based on Count Lasher's "Jolly Jolly Shilling"

Max Romeo - Wine Her Goosie

Miss Goosie

Max Romeo - Me Want Man

The chorus is based on the folk song, "Mama Me Wan' Fe Work"

Max Romeo - One Night Dinner

Lord Fly's "I Don't Know". (Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out to me.)

Max Romeo - Murder In The Place

Cobra Man's "Maintenance"

Max Romeo - Shame And Scandal

Ringo - Living In The Ghetto

Borrows heavily from "Linstead Market".

Pat Satchmo  - Goosy

Miss Goosy

Errol Scorcher - Rucumbine Girl

Seven Letters - Bam Bam Baji

Bargie Composer

Sister Nancy - Ball A Roll

Borrows liberally from "Day O"

Slickers - Mother Matty

Not "Matty Roll" nor "Matty Rag", but quotes "Wheel and Turn Me"

Winston Shan - Matilda

The old Jamaican Anancy folk song, not the Belafonte song of the same name, also part of the mento repertoire.

Stranger & Gladdy - Skanking Monkey


Symarip  - Bam Bam Baji (also know as Seven Letters)

Bargie Composer. Thanks to Gibb Schreffler of Santa Barbara, California for pointing this out.

Seven Letters - Bam Bam Baji

Bargie Composer.

Roman Stewart - Belly Lick

Actually, its "Penny Reel"

Techniques - Day-O

The Tellers - Green Guava Jelly

The Tellers - Tata Water

Based on "Mattie Walla Lef"

The Tellers - Fat Beef

Based on "Penny Reel"

Patsy Millicent Todd (with Count Ossie and Lenny Hibbert) - Little Flea

Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Trinity - Mr. Drummer

Towards the end, "Chi Chi Bud" is quoted.

Trinity - No Galfriend

Two lines each from "Sly Mongoose" and "Brown Skin Gal" are quoted.

Trinity - Tally Banana

Based on "Day-O" 

Trinity - One Shut

Borrows from "Teacher Lick The Gal" 

Tony Tuff - Market Place

Don't Touch Me Tomato (Thanks for Patrick Béchard from Gwened, Brittany for point this out.)

Upsetters - Ten Penny Nail

U-Roy - Big Boy and Teacher

Very true to the Chin's original, sung rather than DJed by U-Roy

Vybz Kartel - Nuh Manny Manny

Based on "Manual Road"

Wailing Souls - Water Pumpee

"This Long Time Gal a Never See You", with a snatch of  melody from "Day-O", for good measure. Thanks to Olivier Albot of France for pointing this out.

Sylford Walker - Every Goodie

Largely Based On "Reap What You Sow" by Chin's Calypso Sextet. Thanks to Olivier Albot of France for pointing this out.

Dennis Walks - Belly Lick

It's actually Penny Reel, name checking Belly Lick

Dennis Walks - Navel String

"Mattie Walk" with new lyrics. Thanks to Mike Turner for pointing this out.

Shelton Walks - No Money , No Friend

"Mattie Walk". Thanks again to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

Winston Wright - Linsted Market

Yellowman - Hill and Gully Rider

Yellowman - Take Me To Jamaica

Yellowman & Fathead - Donkey Want Water

Hold Em Joe. The also did a version of "Take Me To Jamaica" together.

Dancehall and Ragga Covers of Mento Songs

Apache Scratchy - Wheel and Turn

Takes from "Wheel and Turn Me" and "Long Time Gal"

Beenie Man - Brown Gal In The Ring

Busy Signal - Hill & Gully Ride

Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Captain Barkley - Dem Willie Dead

The chorus from "Sammy's Dead" to the Chrome rhythm.

Cutty Ranks - Ganja Pipe

Borrows from Mandeville Road

Mr. Balance and Rosalin - Hill and Gully Ride

In name only. Actually, it should have been called "Nice Time", as it uses the chorus from this Bob Marley and The Wailers track.

Echo Minott - Emannuel Road

Elephant Man - Hill and Gully

Jah Thomas - Rucumbine

Juckie Junior - Hill and Gully Rider

Thanks to Dario Smagata of Welland, Ontario, Canada for pointing this cover out and noting that it also quotes "Evening Time".

Killa Fonz - Rookumbine

Alfonzo "Killa Fonz" Messam is Lord Messam's son.

Little John - What Is Catty?

Based on Chin's "Big Boy And Teacher"

King Everald - Rukcumbine

Lovindeer - Hill And Gully Rider

Nitty Gritty - Hog In A Minty

Patra - Dip and Fall Back

Sluggy Ranks & Little Twitch - Rucumbine

Sly & Robbie - Linstead Market

An instrumental riddim, complete with banjo and fiddle.

Super Classic - Mento Medley

Cudelia Brown, Manuel Road, Brown Skin Gal,
Mister Walker, Mama Look A Boo Boo Deh

Tenor Saw - Ring The Alarm

Not a cover, but at one point lyrics from "Hold 'Em Joe"
make an appearance: "donkey want water, but you hold him Joe".

Tiger - Call Tiger

As pointed out to me by Dario Smagata of Welland, Ontario, Canada, it "quotes from both Rucumbine and Day O, with a little Chi Chi Bud Oh thrown in. Overall melody of the song seems to borrow a lot from Rucumbine too, and the version's titled 'Mento Version' as well."

Tiger and General Trees - Hill and Gully Rider

T. O. K. - Galang Gal

Parts of Gal A Gully & Mandeville Road

Tony Tuff - Back To Back

Tony Tuff - Dance Hall Rukumbine

Tony Tuff - Find My Girl

Not really a cover, but borrows heavily from the chorus of Lord Flea's "Naughty Little Flea".

Josey Wales - Water Come To Me Eyes

Thanks to Anton Wilson for bringing this to my attention.

Josey Wales - Long Time Gal

Welton Irie - Balm Yard

Wickerman - Girl Gungo Walk

Mattie Walla Lef

American Folk and Pop Covers of Mento Songs

Ink Spots -Hold Im Joe

Hall and Oats - Soldering

Kingston Trio - Zombie Jamboree

The Lennon Sisters - Calypso Medley: The Banana Boat Song; Island In The Sun; Jamaica Farewell

Beth Orton - River Come Down

Robert Palmer - Man Smart, Woman Smarter

Peter, Paul and Mary - Bamboo

River She Comes Down

The Spinners - Rukumbine

The UK folk group, not the US soul group by the same name.

The Tarriers - The Banana Boat Song

American folk trio covering Day-O, which reached #4 on the charts. A year later, Belafonte would record his massive hit version of this song. As they included banjo, The Tarriers' version sounds a bit more mento than one might expect. The Tarriers were Erik Darling (tenor, banjo), Bob Carey (bass, guitar), and future movie actor Alan Arkin (baritone, guitar). Darling replaced Pete Seeger in The Weavers, 1958-62, then formed The Rooftop Singers.

Dave van Ronk - River She Comes Down

Rock and American R&B Covers of Mento Songs

Aquabats - Idiot Box

Borrows heavily from "Naughty Little Flea".

Brothers Four - Calypso Medley: Yellow Bird / John B. Sails / Jamaica Farewell

Gary "U.S." Bonds - Coconut Woman

Very influenced by the Harry Belafonte version.

Charlie Hunter, China Smith and Ernest Ranglin - Island In The Sun

Grateful Dead - Man Smart, Woman Smarter

Ink Spots - Hold 'Em Joe

David Lindley and Wally Ingram - Shame and Scandal

Lloyd Price - Coconut Woman

Very influenced by the Harry Belafonte version.

Madness - Shame and Scandal

Jazz Covers of Mento Songs

Monty Alexander - Day-O, Hold 'Em Joe, Mango Walk, Linstead Market

Monty Alexander - Jamaican Shake

An instrumental "Mango Walk"

Louis Armstrong - Sly Mongoose

Sonny Bradshaw Quartet - Yellow Bird; Mary Ann

From a 1962 Jamaican LP by renowned Jamaican jazzman Bradshaw.

Marie Bryant - [Don't Touch My] Tomato, Noisy Spring and Watermelon

In a jazz-calypso style.

Benny Goodman - Sly Mongoose

Eugene Grey - Mento Medley

Hold 'Em Joe and Penny Reel

Charlie Hunter, Ernest Ranglin, and Chinna Smith - Island In The Sun

Jamaica Jazz From The Workshop - Calypso Jazz

"Iron Bar" by Ernest Ranglin, Don Drummond, Tommy McCook et al, produced by Coxsone Dodd in 1962 just prior to ska.

Charlie Parker - Sly Mongoose

Ernest Ranglin - Sly Mongoose

Thanks to Patrick Béchard from Gwened, Brittany for pointing this out.

Ernest Ranglin - Linstead Market

Sonny Rollins - Hold 'Em Joe

Michel Sardaby and Monty Alexander - Jamaica Farewell, Yellow Bird

Other Covers of Mento Songs

Animaniacs - Monkey

Yes, that's Lord Flea's "Monkey" as performed on the late 1980s-early 1990s cartoon show Animaniacs. As seen below, their rendition is clearly influenced by Bellefonte's version. Thanks to Tazewell Rowe of NYC for pointing this out.


Arthur Fiedler And The Boston Pops - Jamaican Rumba

An instrumental rendition of "Mango Walk.

Chet Atkins - Yellow Bird, Peanut Vendor, Day-O

Adriano Celentano - Deus

Day-O, by this popular Italian singer, sung in Italian. Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

Byron Lee and The Dragonaires - Rukumbine

An instrumental  Latin rendition from this perennial Jamaican band. Thanks to David Pablo, of Colton , California for pointing this out.

Boney M - Brown Girl In The Ring

The Jamaican ring game folk song by the European disco band Boney M. Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out to me.

Covina Concert Band - Jamaican Folk Suite (I. Mento, II. Promenade, III. Jump-Up)

Orchestral "Pops" versions.

Demis Roussos - Day-O

A reggae-ish cover from popular Greek singer and one time member of the Greek rock band Aphrodite's Child. Thanks to Olivier Albot for pointing this out.

Dr. Ring Ding - Ruckumbine

A cover by a German reggae singer. Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Percy Faith - Jamaican Rumba
Mantovani - Jamaican Rumba

In both cases it's actually an instrumental rendition of "Mango Walk" by a king of easy-listening orchestration, recorded in 1953.

Gaylads - Hill and Gully, Kingston Market, Yellow Bird, Island Woman, Jamaica Farewell, Big Bamboo

For their second album, "Sunshine Is Golden", in the late 1960s, Coxsone Dodd had this rock steady act do an LP of mostly pan-Caribbean easy listening pop.


Eugene Grey - Mento Medely

"Hold Em Joe" and "Penny Reel" are included in this medley by this pop/jazz guitarist.

Gruppo Clown - La Pigiatura 

Based on "Brown Girl In The Ring" from the 1980 Itallian film, Il Bisbetico Domato. (Thanks to George Kaagman of Holland for pointing this out.)

Heinz Kunz - Jamaican Folk Suite

I don't know what songs were included in this track on the German LP, "Blasmusik Mal Anders" by Heinz Kunz, Es spielen die Straucher Blasmusikanrten.

Lil Wayne - Lil Wayne - 6 Foot 7 Foot

In 2011, the popular rapper brings Jamaican a folk song in Day-O to hip-hop

Lovindeer - Gilbert

Count Lasher's "Talking Parrot", repurposed to describe the infamous hurricane. Performed in a calypso style by Jamaica's Lovindeer.  Thanks for Peter Krog of Olstykke, Demark for pointing this out to me.

Michiko Hamumura - Banana Boat Song

Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo`ole - The Fly

There's a lot of Hawaiian reggae, but here's some Hawaiian mento.

King Vup - Rukumbine

A cover that is best described as calypso with a band comprised of late-1970's reggae heavyweights.

Mantovani - Jamaican Rumba

It's actually "Mango Walk" by the king of easy-listening orchestration, from 1966.

Miriam Makeba - Naughty Little Flea

The popular South African singer covering Lord Flea's hit.

Miriam Makeba - River Ben Come Down

Nina and Frederik - Jamaica Farewell, Come Back Liza, Man Smart Woman Smarter, Limbo, Day-O, Hold Em Joe and Long Time Boy

Early 1960s recordings by this Danish duo, who apparently learned about Jamaican music by way of Harry Belafonte. However, "Long Time Boy" is a cover of "Long Time Gal", which I do not believe Belafonte recorded.

Peret - Banana Boat

Day-O by the Spanish rumba ringer. Thanks to Iacore Abellan Baillo for pointing this out.

Pitbull - Shake Senora

Rapper Pitbull joins Lil Wayne in bringing Jamaican folk/mento songs to hip hop in 2011.

Raffi - Brown Girl In The Ring

American young children's act performing a Jamaican children's folk song

Sharon Lois and Bram - Mango Walk; Hol' 'Em Joe

Two songs by the Canadian children's music trio.

Ska-Boom - Ruckumbine

A cover by an English reggae group. Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Ska Cubano - Big Bamboo

Contemporary UK-based band that fuses Cuban music with ska.

Ska Cubano - Natty No Dead

"Sammy Dead".

The Spinners - Rukumbine, Island In The Sun

The 1960s UK folk-skiffle band, not the 1970s US soul band. Thanks to Rey Donnart for pointing this out.

Steel Drum Bands - Yellow Bird, Iron Bar,  Island In The Sun, Shame and Scandal, Nobody's Business

Steel drum versions of these an other familiar songs, performed  by a variety of bands,  can be heard on the budget-priced 2 CD collection, Sand & Steel - The Classic Sound Of Jamaican Steel Drums.

Owe Thörnquist - Loppan

Naughty Little Flea by the popular Swedish singer, sung in Swedish

Horst Wende and Ladi Geisler - Banana Boat Song

German artists released on a Spanish EP, "Todos Bailin Calypso"

Wiggles - Brown Girl In The Ring

Australian young children's act performing a Jamaican children's folk song

Also see:

For a site devoted to cataloging every cover version in 1960s Jamaican music, visit SkaVille at http://www.skaville.de/



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