Scans of Singles From Mento's Middle Period
On the Calypso Time label is a 45 RPM
single by Cecil "Lord" Myrie:
Eyes At Me"
"Darling I'm Starving So"
They are taken from
single appeared in the 160s, the album they are drawn from Also recorded in
the 1950s by Lord Lebby. this
recording further establishes how R&B singer Wynonie Harris' "Bloodshot
Eyes" entered the mento repertoire.
Here's a well
interesting record from 1961:
On the Peoples Records label, a
single by The Planners:
"Vote Your Head" b/w:
"Its In The Plan
(With Spoken Statements)"
This is an
overt election record, the likes of which can only have come from Jamaica.
It was an advertisement for Prime Minister candidate Norman Manley in the
1962 election. His campaign slogan was "follow the man with the plan",
giving the group and one side of the record their names.
"Vote Your Head" has an R&B-mento sound. Its in
ring-game, style as a child's song is made to give instruction on why one
should vote Manley. It features a female lead vocalist backing a pair of
"Its In The Plan" is a spritely R&B
song sung by two male singers singing Manley's campaign promises interspersed with recorded statements
from Manley dropped in.
Cool record, but Manley lost this election.
Whoever The Planners were, they were never heard from under
this name again.
||I don't know if it was a hit as
the label indicates, but here on the GG's label, produced by Alvin
Ranglinis, is the mento instrumental "Cut Munoo" played in a suitable rural
style by The Kiemanaires. The vocal flip side, "Standing By The
Shoreline" also by by The Kiemanaires, is not a mento song.
||On the Port-O-Jam label,
produced by Coxsone Dodd, a mento single by Roy Richards and The
"Linstead Market" b/w:
Wheel O Matilda / Hill and Gully Rider
(Wheel O Matilda is actually "We Love Matilda)
There is harmonica, electric rhythm guitar and Latin influenced drums.
On the WIRL label -- surprisingly pressed on red vinyl -- is the a 45 RPM single:
"John Tom" by Derrick Harriot with Audley
Williams and Combo, backed with
"Solas Market" by Audley Williams and Combo.
"John Tom" was included in the 2006 collection
"Dip And Fall Back" and is described on the "Can I Buy
Mento?" page. "Solas Market" is an unreleased instrumental. On both
sides, flute is the lead instrument over multiple percussion players, bass
and guitar. The overall sound is similar to that heard on the 1968 LP
"Jamaican Carnival at The Myrtle Bank", by
On the obviously named but
uncommon Mento Records label is "Mongoose In Mento" backed with "Out
of Many, One People" by Baba Motta and His Orchestra featuring
A date of 12/5/63 is said to written in the
The writing on the label does not appear to be
from the LP of the same name is "Rukumbine" by Carlos Malcolm and his
Afro Jamaican Rhythms. The b-side is "Jack The Ripper". The LP can
be seen here.
||Private label mento?
Courtesy of Mark Kukta of Jacksonville, Florida, here are some interesting
artifacts. A 1966 single consisting by an unknown Jamaican band recorded at
an Avis corporate meeting in Jamaica as a souvenir for the attendies:
"Linstead Market" b/w
"Avis Calypso" (to the melody of "Jamaica Farewell")
|From its location, date and
sound, Daniel Neely was able to triangulate
that the unnamed group is The Hiltonaires.
He believes that the lineup is Carlton Lewis (singer/maracas?), Wilfred
Stephenson on the Bamboo Sax, Lindel Hewie guitar, Cecil Largie on conga and
Cecil Lawes on the rumba box.
|Courtesy of Matthias Münchow of
Hamburg, Germany is "Calypso Mama" by The Barons on Byron Smith's
label, Baron's. Many reggae fans have this mento side, as
it the b-side of Nora Dean's
classic reggae hit, "Barbwire". Matthias describes recording as
being based on "Peanut Vendor", which though part of the mento repertoire,
was originally a Cuban song. Explains Matthias:
first version of the Peanut Vendor was done by Rita Montaner in 1927 but it
lacked the typical bass line. This was introduced by Don Azpiazú and Havana
Casino Orchestra in 1930 - and it became an international hit.
"Calypso Mama" an instrumental with
occasional shouting ("Ayayay" and some other words, perhaps "Mama come and
... it up" and "I hit them all"). Penny whistle is the lead instrument
along with guitar and rumba box, played in a very hectic manner.
Here is a single on Sue
Records by Percy Dixon and His Merry Boys:
"Balimbo" backed with "Bloodshot Eyes"
More on this band and the LP this single is
drawn from can be seen here.
Once again, courtesy of
is this scan "Yellow Bird", by Lord Composer,
on Coxsone Dodd's Port-O-Jam label. Composer recorded two classic
1950s sides (go More here Artists and Song
Clips page for more on these, including clips). However, Dan describes
this disc as being far more notable for the autograph than the music. It
"God bless you, From Lord Composer, Shaw Park Beach Hotel, Ocho
Rios." This single was also released on the Composer and WIRL
labels. To the right is the b-side, Jamaica Lulabye, also autographed
(though more simply), but from a different record.
||Perhaps the same single as seen
immediately above is this release of "Yellow Bird" on the Kalypso
label. The b-side is "Jamaica Lullaby". The tracks are credited to Lord Composer
and His Happy Boys.
The sleeve is autographed. It reads:
"Keep Me Among Your Souvenirs
From Lord Composer".
From the collection
of Kenichiro Takeda of Japan, a two 1965 mento 45 RPM singles.
First, on Port-O-Jam
is "Cutting Wood", produced by Coxsone Dodd, by female mento singer
Girl Wonder. This pseudonym is not nearly as well known as her
real name. Also included is a photo of
the b-side, "Mommy Out The Light", taken from another disc.
the Top Sound label, a rural mento version of
"Peanut Vendor" by
The Diggers, produced by
Neville Foo-Loy. Peanut Vendor is a popular
mento instrumental that is said to have migrated to
Jamaica from Cuba. The b-side is a ska song.
Here is the above single on green vinyl.
From the collection of Allen Kaatz of the US:,
on the Wasp label, Euton Gale and
The Landlord b/w
Euton (Lord) Gayle was
Count Owen's banjo player.
||A single by Denzil Laing and
The Wrigglers on the Kalypso label:
"The Little Fly" b/w
"Welcome To The Arawak".
The latter uses the melody of "Take Her To
Note the autograph on "Welcome". These tracks musically and thematically are a companion
"Sing Calypsos At The Arawak Hotel" LP.
Courtesy of Matthias Münchow of Germany, an Island Records release of
the single "Rub Up" by
Roots Knotty Roots, this UK release
was originally released in 1962 in Jamaica on the D Darling label,
produced by CS Dodd, and was originally titled "Jamaican Song (Rub
Up)". This release can be seen below.
||On the Black Swan label, a
1963 single by popular calypsonian Lord Kitchener,
"Jamaican Woman" backed with "Love In The
For more on "Jamaican Woman", including the CD
compilation that makes it available today, visit the "Can
I Buy Mento" page.
The flip side is
the hit "Love In The Cemetery", which has made it into the mento repertoire
(covered, for example, by The Jolly Boys
and King Barou) as well as being covered by
the reggae DJ team of Clint Eastwood and General Saint, as "Talk
SOMB label is a
single by The Joy Makers.
The unseen flipside "Zombie Jamborie" is "Big Bamboo".
This single is taken from The Joy Makers
LP, "Jamaica Calypso
Souvenir", as seen here. A brief video clip of the Joy
Makers performing can be seen on this
site's "Mento Video" page.
Venus label is a
Christmas single, credited to Studio 3.
The pictured side is "Jingle Bells (Mento)"
The unseen flip is "Little Drummer Boy
I have not heard this single.
A single on the Melodisc
label by the obscure George
Brown, one of many who reacted to Harry
Belafonte's massive popularity.
Farewell Jamaica b/w
Melodisc was a UK label that re-released some mento recording for UK
fans in the early 60s. The sound is dominated by electric guitar
percussion, lead and backing vocals.
A single on the Kalypso
label by the obscure Lord Rose and The Beachcombers.
Independent Jamaica b/w
Authorship of both songs is credited to
Rose is not known to me. Sir Horace's
actual surname is Abrahams, though I do not know if this is the him.
The sound is rural mento, though a professional saxophone rather than a
bamboo instrument is heard.
If the song
titles don't give it away, the advent of putting the publication date on the
label shows that this "golden age" single is not a 1950s release, but from
Here's the same 45, this time on the
Go Calypso Go label courtesy of Peter Roth from Germany, who runs the
A single on the Jesuit Music
label by Father Richard HoLung and Friends:
Christmas Mento b/w
Christmas Mento [Instrumental]
producer is named, but Calvin Thomas is credited as
It's a combination of folk vocals, gospel lyrics,
and well played calypso-ish mento with prominent fife. And quite good.
A single by Chuck Girard on the
High Note label (signifying production by Sonia Pottinger):
He Very Short b/w
"He Very Short" is a humorous flute lead
calypso-y urban mento with some nice acoustic guitar. "Gwendolyn" is not
mento, nor reggae, but a melodramatic pop potboiler.
The first side of a single on the
Humming Bird label, produced by either Webb Ralston or
Cornmeal Dumpling - Drumbago and His Band
Jamaica Mento - Webb Ralston and The Drumbago Band
Sorry, a larger image of the a-side is not available.
The image of the b-side comes courtesy of Allen Kaatz.
"Cornmeal Dumpling" is a horns led
instrumental. It has the urban mento sound heard just before the ska beat
changed everything. Drumbago's drums, along with a hand drum player, steal
the show. They evoke Latin, mento, buru and jazz.
"Jamaica Mento" can be heard on the
Jamaica Box Set" and is described a bit
Here is the same single, this time on
the Ray-Mar label. The band credit is chganged to R. Webb and The
Jurjen Borregaard of Amsterdam from
here is a quadrille single on the Joe Gibbs label from The McBeth
Click here to see an album by
by The McBeth Orchestra and for more on the role of
Quadrille for mento bands.
Clyde Hoyte began recording mento in
the 1950s for Stanley Motta. (One of these tracks was compiled on the
MRS/London LP.) He released recordings
intermittently well into the 1970s.
On the Clyde label, courtesy of Jumbo from
here is a single by The Harmony Heralds, with Clyde Hoyte's
involvement, as he is the producer, owns the Clyde label and may be singing
No More Strangers
Calling" is a ballad with acoustic guitar and spare harmonica.
"No More Strangers" is a friendly spirited mento with lilting
and flute. Boris Gardiner's Happening is credited as the backing band for
Here is a
related Clyde single, this time pairing "Jamaica Calling" with the
mento song "Cudelia Brown", an instrumental credited to Dennis Haynes,
Boris Gardiner's Happening,
With an unhelpfully enlarged hole, here is an odd
Kalypso 45 from the start of
the 1960s by Sonny Bradshaw & His
"Collie Smith's Calypso" b/w:
"Sweet As A Dream
it a mento single would
be a stretch,
this 45 is of
interest to mento
fans. Both sides were written by important Jamaican musical figure
and sometimes mento singer Clyde Hoyte.
"Collie Smith's Calypso" is about a storied
West Indian cricketer. His tragic death in 1959 also spurred
Laurel Aitken's "Tribute To Collie
Smith". It is indeed a calypso-y affair. Hoyte handles vocals.
"Sweet As A Dream" is better
described as period pop-vocals than as mento, calypso or jazz. Vocals are
handled by Sheila Richard & The City Printery Goup.
Also, in 1970, reggae group Seven Letters
(also know as Symarip) released several songs of interest. One was a
harmonica driven instrumental mento version of "Hold Him Joe". Second a
reggae cover of "Bam Bam Bargie". Finally was "La Bella Jig", a quadrille
track. Thanks to Gibb Schreffler of Santa Barbara,
California for pointing this out. Each of these tracks can all be heard
on Symarip CDs.
In the mid to late 1960s, a number
of "mento-ska" LPs were released. ("Let's Dance The Ska" by Lord Gayle
and "Ska-Motion In Ska-Lip-So" by The Hiltonaires
are just two examples.) Count Owen followed this with an LP of
"mento-rock steady", at least in name, called "Rock
Steady Calypso". So it comes as no surprise that in the 1970s, a sub-genre
of "mento-reggae" records appeared. Mento-reggae is more than a
reggae cover of a mento song, or a reggae song sung by a mento vocalist
-- it is a fusion of instruments and /or stylistic elements from both
Naaman Lee recorded in this style (though not
always), likewise The Prince Brothers and Stanly Beckford.
Below are a few additional examples of mento-reggae. (With mento-ska and
mento-reggae, it may come as no surprise that these sub-genres were
followed by mento-dancehall, as described
On the Dr Komina label, from 1978, is a mento-reggae 45 by King
Flowers called "In A Me Prime" backed with "Version",
produced by Barrington Jeffrey, utilizing by The Revolutionaires
as the backing band.
It features the classic mento-reggae sound, led by jaunty piano as a springy
version of the reggae chop is heard. Flowers sings of the difficulties in
attracting love once you get older.
"Mento Sweet", a single from 1976 on the Weed
Beat label finds Denzil Laing moving from his 1960s hotel
friendly mento releases to a mento-reggae style. This is a pleasing track
with fine mento vocals, lyrics extolling mento, a melody that recalls
more than one old mento song, a pocomania influenced drum rhythm, and flute.
The b-side has an instrumental version called "A
On the JA DISC label, from 1972, another single from Denzil
Laing. It's an electric guitar-based rural mento.
Man" is back by the unseen
The latter is a
different song from the above.
Mento-reggae from 1974 by The Viceroys on the Harry J Records
label: "Wheel and Jig" backed with "Version".
A lovely song that is an original composition as
far as I know. The sound is much more like a
Stanley Beckford mento-reggae track than anything else I've heard by
The Viceroys. Rural vocals with piano as the featured instrument.
Below are the
only two records I've found by Sir Horace and His Merry Knights outside the classic
"Morgan's Mento" backed with "Mambo Jamaica" and its
follow up single, as seen
here (along with sound clips).
Both of these record appear to be entries in
the 1971 and 1972 the Jamaican Annual Festival of the Arts, more commonly
shortened to "Festival", which is best known for its song competition.
Horace's vocal delivery is far more relaxed
than the frantic pace heard on his earlier single. But after all, he's has
about 15 years to relax!
Above is a Daily Gleaner ad from February 26,
1963 for a pair of live performances by Sir Horace shows that he and his
Knights were also active in the 1960s.
Also, Dan Neely informs
Horace Abrahams was the president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians
for a time in the 1970s.
On the Merritone label, from 1971, is a mento-reggae
45 by the Sir Horace and the All Stars called "Good Time
Festival" backed with "Version".
features a melody that borrows from "Hol' 'Im Joe", with new Festival
No producer is listed, though the A-side has the unusual legend, "Jamento".
Musically, this track adds some calypso into the mento-reggae mix. A slick
horn section and country fiddle are both prominent.
On the Jamrec label, a glance at which leaves
little doubt that the release was from 1972, is an interesting mento-reggae
45 by the Sir Horace and the All Stars called "Walk Good".
Roots Knotty Roots has this as a
Coxsone Dodd production.
both sides of the label are identical, there is a different mix of the song
on each side. The first has rustic sounding guitar and organ, playing the
role earlier filled by banjo and guitar, along with horns, drums, bass and,
of course, Sir Horace's vocals. The mix on the flip deletes the rustic
instruments in favor of more horns.
On the Jerico label from 1974, a 45 by the obscure Danny D:
Country Girl b/w
This is not to be confused with
Harold Richardson's "Country Gal".
It's a very nice mento-reggae track in its own right, featuring piano and a
bouncy pre-ska mento rhythm. This was released in 2010 on the Trojan
Records collection, "The Heavy Monster Sound", where it's called "Lord A
On producer Sonia Pottinger's label, High Note, is a
mento-reggae single by The Prince Brothers:
"Fi Mi Something"
As with the single above, it features piano
and a bouncy pre-ska mento rhythm.
This is a wonderful example of the genre, comparing well in quality and sound to
mento-reggae. Mid way, "Hog In Me Minty" is quoted.
It's a lovely track, and judging by the variety
labels here, a popular one. Click here
to see Prince Brothers' LP by the same name.
This self-produced single by
The Prince Brothers , from 1974, is a
few years earlier than their better known work:
"Pass The Pipe Version".
A "pass the
pipe on the left hand side" song. The backing has a light rural
touch and the Prince's rural vocals are always a treat.
On producer Sonia
Pottinger's label, High Note,
from 1977, miscredited to The Prince Brother,
b/w "Jermiah Dub"
It sports an easy
mento-reggae groove featuring flute. As on "Ram Jam", the Princes sing of a
party and a girl. The chorus borrows the "Wheel and Turn Me" melody.
Courtesy of Jurjen
Borregaard of Amsterdam is another Prince Brothers song along with a
another mento reggae side. "Screw The Cock Tight" produced by Alvin Ranglin
for his G G label is by the oddly named Mix Flour And Water.
"Open The Door", produced by Sonia Pottinger for her on the High Note
label, does not appear on The Prince Brothers' LP. It's a re-voiced
version of the Ram Jam riddim with additional horns.
Below are other pressings of this popular single.
Mix Flour And
Sugar recorded a handful of sides in the 1970s and
an album. Though the labels are mismatched, these images come
from the same piece of vinyl. The lead singer sounds like a less refined
Stanley Beckford. The sensational title does not actually appear in
the song, however, this is is a rather suggestive record.
Mix Flour And Water single is "World On A Wheel", from
1970. Though both
were produced by Alvin Ranglin, this is mento-reggae that leans more
towards calypso than the classic mento-reggae sound of "Screw The Cock
The unseen flip is the stylistically similar
"Woman A Love In A Hard Time".
On the Mart's label (a Treasure Isle NYC imprint and a Duke
Reid production), also from 1974, a 45 by The Black Brothers
and Treasure Isle All Stars:
Donkey Bray b/w
This is slightly calypso sounding mento-reggae
version of "The Jackass Song".
||A Lord Composer
on the Mundle label: "Devaluation" b/w "Gimme Yah". The
guitar, bass and drums backing is rather neutral, falling somewhere between
mento, reggae and calypso. The autograph reads, "To Dorothy, With Love,
Keep Me Among Your
[??] Souvenirs, Lord Composer".
On Sonia Pottinger's label, Gay Feet,
an interesting mento-reggae single probably from the mid 1970s. One side has
"Country Gal" as voiced by Jackie Brown. Of the two, this track has
more of a recognizable reggae sound about it. The flip is "Country Man",
a chugging flute led instrumental by the great Skatalites drummer
||The sound and rhythm
do not exactly reflect the mento of the past nor the reggae of the time of
its recording, yet its clearly mento-reggae. (The same can be said of some
Naaman Lee singles.) The Drumbago track is not a
version of the vocal side as the titles might lead you to expect.
||From 1975, a 45 RPM
single on the Harry J label by George Fullwood:
"Rukumbine" b/w "Rukumbine Dub"
Rural vocals & electric instruments combine
nicely in a track that falls to the reggae side of mento-reggae. The dub
version is very nice.
||Also From 1975, a 45 RPM
reggae single with a definite mento-reggae bend on the Black World label,
performed and produced by (obviously another) James Brown:
"Sherifa In Dub"
||From some time in
the 1970s, a mento-reggae 45 RPM
single on the Mighty Disc label by Flowers, written by M.
Flowers, produced by Leon Hyatt.
"Send Her Home" backed
The songs owes to Lord
Fly's "Big Big Sambo Gal".
(Sorry a larger version of this image is not
From 1975, a fine mento-reggae 45 RPM
single on the Wild Flower label by E. Green and The Prophets , written by
Green, produced by A. DeLisser is:
"Cookie Wants Wood"
This double-entendre song
maps out a
roots reggae and
||From the first part
of the 1970s comes the latest obscurity to be unearthed by Jeremy
Collingsworth for this site: "The National Dish" on the Budding Soloist label
performed and produced by Charles A. Adams.
A bouncing mento-reggae riddim backs Adam's country-soft
voice as he sings about Ackee.
The b-side is "Version".
| King Barou
recorded all of 4 rural mento sides on two singles during mento's
middle period. These are spirited affairs with excellent playing. The first
track discussed below ("Calypso Cha Cha") is a real standout. Though I've been able to learn
little about the the artist or these recordings, I did find a mention in
The Daily Gleaner of King Barou performing at a party in December of 1959.
One of the autographed labels below establishes that Barou performed at
least into 1976.
Coxsone Dodd's Port-O-Jam
label King Barou's
great 1972 track, "Calypso Cha
Cha Cha". This track is discussed, along with a clip, on the
Other Artists & Favorite Song Clips page. This is Barou's only original composition. The b-side
is "Shame and
is the same record reissued is on the obscure
Calypso Judge label The song is mis-titled as "Calypso
Go Cha Cha" and Barou's band is given a name, The Mighty Swingers. The label is
|| With the same
naming conventions as seen on the
Calypso Judge pressing, here's the
same single from a different run, this time on a nameless label.
Courtesy of Roger Yax of Austin,
Texas, another autographed
King Barou side "Love In The Cemetery" on the Port-O-Jam label.
To the right is the b-side (from a different copy), "Bloodshot Eyes",
an R&B song that Lord Lebby made part
of the mento repertoire.
||Here is the same
King Barou single, "Blood
Shot Eyes", again on the
Calypso Judge. To the right . Once again, an autograph is present from the
apparently very approachable and accessible (is that his address?) Barou.
From these autographs, we can assume that Barou performed for tourists in
||And here is
a sleeve that not only has
Barou's autograph, but also that of Count Sticky and one
EPs and Picture Sleeves, etc.
An oddity: A souvenir "Reco-Card" post card with
built-in record. It's Cecil Lloyd and Orchestra with Roy Shurland
on vocals, performing "Banana".
|Another souvenir EP,
this time on the WIRL label by Lord Creator backed by The Audley
Williams Quintet. Not to be confused with Lord Composer, Creator
was a popular Trinidad-born calypso (and later, ska) singer that recorded in
Jamaica. He never recorded mento. But all four tracks on this EP are
shared between the calypso ands mento worlds, and, hey, I like the sleeve.
||1. Shame and Scandal
2. Big Bamboo
4. Wings of A Dove
Jeremy Collingwood (www.Traxonwax.net)
is this Lord Jellicoe souvenir picture sleeve with rural and urban
mento both represented.
1. Take Her To Jamaica
2. Island In The Sun
On the RCA Camden label is a 4 song 7" EP by
Peter Ricardo and His Calypso. The songs include "Take Her To
Jamaica", "Liza Open the Door" (not the Harry Belafonte
"Liza"), "Run Run Run" and "La Solas Market". The label indicates that the
music was recorded in Europe. Though, as you may have guessed, this is in an
international pop style, the instrumentation is a bit more jazzy than
Belafonte, with flute, muted trumpet and electric guitar solos. The slightly
mistitled rendition of "Solas Market" is not bad at all.
||Here is a
multi-artist EP on the VOX label that includes Cecil Lloyd's
cover popish of the Count Lasher song, "Calypso
Cha Cha Cha" called "Cha-Cha-Cha" that probably dates from 1958.
On the Sonnet label is a 4 song 7" EP by
George Browne. The song selections, style and arrangement owe a great
deal to Harry Belafonte.
Richard Noblett of the UK was kind enough to
supply the following information on George Browne:
George Browne was
from Trinidad, May 4 1920. I met him in his later years and this is part
of an obit I wrote for Mojo magazine . "Young Tiger (George Browne) was
born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1921 and as he grew up he became
immersed in the cultural life absorbing many of the elements which made
up his repertoire. Not a true calypsonian George was a singer who could
perform successfully in a variety of styles. He came to the UK in 1941,
during the War, and settled in London. He was soon performing in Shows,
including “Show Boat”, as well as in vocal groups. After the War he
appeared in London clubs before becoming part of the vocal group the
Three Just Men, which he co-founded. The trio toured Europe and North
Africa during the course of which he met many of the US jazz musicians
who were touring although not in Britain, at the time. Returning to
Britain in the early 1950s, he started his extensive recording career
for Melodisc and EMI, as George Browne for his more conventional vocals
and as Young Tiger for the calypsos. He also joined Humphrey Lyttelton/Freddie
Grant's crossover band mixing Caribbean rhythms and Jazz. Browne was a
an extremely versatile artist performing in a variety of contexts as a
vocalist, guitarist and drummer. As well as music in the 1960s he worked
as an actor and did not stop performing until 1970. He then started a
new career as a restaurateur both in the UK and the US. In retirement he
lived in Croydon, Surrey, vaguely surprised and gratified by the
interest generated by the reissue of some of his early recordings on
Honest Jon's “London Is The Place For Me” series. He died in Croydon
March 23 2007.
An EP ("Calypso") and a single ("Amstel Beer
Calypso") with picture sleeves by Jamaica Johnny and His Mialrgo Boys.
These were release on the Philips label, out of Holland.
Johnny may be Jamaican, but these recordings
are definitely calypso rather than mento.
Last Train to St. Fernando
Mother and Wife
Love Love Love, Donkey City
"Amstel Beer Calyspo":
Beeeeeeer! Amstel Beer
Richard Noblett of the UK was kind enough to
supply a little information on "Jamaica" Johnny:
was from Surinam I think his real name was Nelis Liefeld.
||Here's another EP by
[Not Really of] Jamaica Johnny:
"Calypso Crazy", on the Philips label.
It features a not really Jamaican song selection:
1. Beautiful Para Kitch
2. Divorce By Television
3. Take Me To Locero
4. Let Me Call You Mathilda
Count Zebra's Single
As seen below, Count Zebra's single "Bed Bug" backed with "Cat-O Nine" was
released on a collection of labels as a 45 RPM single. Yet, for all the apparent
popularity of this single,
it does not appear that Count Zebra recorded anything other than these two
sides. Nor have these rough and ready rural mento recordings ever been
compiled on an album.
is not to be confused with calypsonian Mighty Zebra of the Virgin
||First, here the
single on the Go Calypso Go label. Another version of this label can
been seen elsewhere on this page.
Here is the
45, this time on the
another re-release of the
Count Zebra 45.
The scan left, complete with the original Randy's
sleeve, comes Courtesy of
Matt Dinsmore of San Francisco.
||The same single yet
again, this time on the Kalypso label.
Some times, as on this single, as well as on
the Go Calypso Go release, Zebra's band,
The Seasiders re also credited.
In 2014, Cat-O-Nine was released on the collection called "Calypso: Musical
Poetry In The Caribbean 1955-69", on the Soul Jazz label.
In 2015, both sides were included on the collection called "Jamaica
Is The Place To Go".
From Matt Dinsmore's Collection
At the end of 2004, Matt Dinsmore of San
Francisco was kind enough to send me a collection of scans. The majority of
them are below. Additional scans from Matt of these appear on other pages,
and one appears elsewhere on this page.
||First from Matt is the original Darling release of the single "Jamaican Song" by
D. Sindry and The City Slickers.
By all means, click the small version to the
left to enjoy the original vintage sleeve that Matt still has. Incidentally,
the hit flip side is "Tango Lips" by Yvonne & Lascelles (Perkins).
The re-release of this single on the UK
Island label can be seen above.
||Next from Matt, on the
Head of Gold label is "Take It Easy"
Oscar King, Music by Charlie Binger. I am not familiar with the
vocalist, but band leader Charlie Binger backed some
Harold Richardson recordings in the 1950s.
The b-side is "I Love You So".
||Matt again includes the original
sleeve for this release
K. I. W. label: Clyde Hoyte's "Dream Cha Cha".
The b-side is "I Heard Your Heart"
written by Clyde Hoyte and performed by
With vocals by
Wilfred 'Jackie' Edwards is a song written and produced by song
writer and sometimes mento singer Clyde Hoyte: "Bright Christmas". Matt describes the
track (and its b-side, "Jamaica Calling") as ballads. So this may not be, in
fact, a mento tracks. But how often do you have the opportunity to see a
scan of the Liquid Foods label?!
||Here is another
Clyde Hoyte production:
Haynes with Boris Gardiner Happening is
"Ooh Cudelia Brown" backed with
"Show Your Soul"
I have not heard this single..
More from Jeremy Collingwood's Collection
December 2003, Jeremy Collingwood (www.Traxonwax.net)
generously send me a collection of scans. Though some are found on other
pages, several can be seen below.
two examples of the rare Coxsone Dodd imprint, National
Calypso. These tracks are really more
calypso than mento.
The first, "Carnival Jamaica",
by Lord Rigby. The song is credited to both Rigby and Dodd. This
single is from 1964, and the flip side would be "Music Teacher". The second,
on red vinyl (!) is "Jamaica", by King Fighter, from 1963. The
flip would be "Bicycle Tyre".
Next from Jeremy is
"Calypso Mama" by The Barons, released on the Barons Label.
Jeremy describes this recording as "flute Mento that uses 'Peanut Vendor' on
the chorus". Some reggae collectors may already have this disc in their
collection, as its the b-side of Nora Dean's
classic 1969 track, "Barbwire".
||Another scan from
Jeremy is the Lord Jellicoe side, "Zombie Jamboree". Its on the
BRA label, which is parented by WHIRL.
The b-side is a fast-paced take "Take Her To Jamaica (Where The Rum Comes From)".
On both tracks, electric guitar, hand drum and a backing vocalist are
prominent. On the A-Side, Jellicoe name-checks band member Pee Wee.
|Another rarity from
Jeremy, though its not quite
mento. Sponsored by the Machado Tobacco Company (ironically, complete
with cigarette burns) is a 45 with "The Albany Calypso" b/w "Max
Mambo" by The Caribs. Says Jeremy,
the a-side "is straight JA calypso", and the
b-side is "calypso jazz".
Also on display on this web site
is another Machado Tobacco promotion 45,
which featured two rural golden age mento performances by
Count Owen and
||Here is "Jamaican
Girls", from 1974 by Big Souls on the label of the same name.
The group is a pseudonym for Albert Moonah, a singer better know for
reggae than mento.
In spite of utilizing a drum kit, this is pure
rural mento with a pleasingly soft sound. The song is partially based on the
old American song, "Buffalo Gals". The b-side is a modest mento dub. Sorry,
a bigger scan is not available.
early 1970s, here is an obscure mento 45. "Love Is The Key To Success",
is sung by reggae group The Splendors .
The label is the otherwise unknown Sam-T and the producer is the
otherwise unheard of S. E. Toyloy.
Its an unusually rural mento track with fiddle
joining banjo, acoustic guitar, open harmonies, etc.
The b-side, "Version", is an instrumental.
Another scan from
Count Zebra's "Bed-Bug", on the rare UK Go Calypso Go
label, from 1962.
A variant of this single on Go Calypso Go
and a collection of other labels can be seen
elsewhere on this page.
Considering Jamaica's love for Gospel music, it not surprising to hear
various admixtures of gospel and mento. The first recorded example is a side
of a 78; "Plenty Road Lead To Heaven" by
Clyde Hoyte. Later examples inlude the
Rod Dennis Mento Band CD
entitled "Mento Gospel" and Toot's
fine collaboration collaboration with The Blue Glaze Mento Band on the song,
"Great Jehovah"(video here). Below are more examples.
Jeremy on this page is
an interesting one. It's a single on the Runaway Bay Hotel label, probably
dating from the
It sounds like a live hotel recording, complete with
intros and audience noise. But the crowd sounds stadium sized, and it may be artifice from producer Robert Babcock. Both
sides are well played, banjo-led rural mento.
"Down By The Riverside" by
Roy Fuller is gospel-mento.
The unseen flipside,
is an original tourist song.
|| A single on the
Prince Cunningham label, produce and performed by Hubert
"In My Father's House"
"Jesus Is The Light Of The
These songs feature a full-blown, unpolished
rural mento backing with banjo, fiddle, harmonica, rumba box and maracas.
|| On the Light
House label is a single by Otis Wright, produced in the 1970s by L.
"It Soon Be Done"
With prominent peddle steel guitar and sprightly tempo, "It Soon Be
Done" is reminiscent of the Count Sticky song, "Chico Chico". "Redemption Story"
does not have much mento to it.
|| A single on the
Prince Cunningham label, produced by Hubert
Cunningham is Sister Mattis with:
"I Shall See Him"
I was justifiably expecting to hear some mento
gospel, but, disappointingly, my record is mislabeled, and as the writing on
label tried to warn me, this is the Chin's
single, "Honey Bee"/"Come Back To Me".
For more more label and
jacket scans and song clips, also see this site's: