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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Jamaican Mento music (TBR)


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/138229

NYCJazz - Posted - 01/27/2009:  09:50:08


I never expected the tenor banjo to show up in Jamaican pop music, but starting in the 1950's Mento bands were putting out hit records.

Here's a taste:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6523Qad9yHc






You may have holes in your shoes, but don''t let the people out front know it. Shine the tops.
-Earl Hines

DanielT - Posted - 01/27/2009:  12:04:04


quote:
Originally posted by NYCJazz

I never expected the tenor banjo to show up in Jamaican pop music, but starting in the 1950's Mento bands were putting out hit records.


The band in this video is the Jolly Boys. They're a nice old band, but they didn't start recording until relatively recently. If you want to hear some of the early stuff, might I direct you to the Chin's Calypso Sextet. They did some great, great stuff and the banjo playing on Chin's recordings is pretty representative of what mento banjo in the 1950s sounds like.

But Jamaica's had some great, "step-up" banjo players. One of the finest was a guy named Charles Lorenzo Harrison, aka "Porkchops." He is best know for recording with singer Lord Flea on Flea's "Swinging Calypsos" album. He is still considered the best by many mento musicians - the record's not hard to find. Porkchops passed on some time ago, but a player who is still around and is great is Cecil Mitchell, aka "Motherless." He's made a couple of recordings, one in 1960 for Cook records available through Smithsonian. You can follow this link to hear some samples of that one. He also has one that you can get directly from him - which you can't really do unless you go to Jamaica, unfortunately.

Mento's great stuff. It's always tenor as well. Sometimes you see guys playing fives, but they always take the short string off and often capo up (it's easier to get a five in Jamaica than it is a four).

Granpdas Spells - Posted - 01/29/2009:  09:33:08


Very cool!

banjopocolypse - Posted - 01/31/2009:  18:26:45


Wow, I had no idea.......

witty banjo related username - Posted - 02/01/2009:  22:35:38


Check out the brilliant C.W. Stoneking for some more calypso/mento stuff. plus he's alive!

"...so long as a man rides his Hobby-Horse peaceably and quietly along the King''s highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him-pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?" - Laurence Sterne

DanielT - Posted - 02/02/2009:  09:45:16


quote:
Originally posted by witty banjo related username

Check out the brilliant C.W. Stoneking for some more calypso/mento stuff. plus he's alive!

Good stuff, but let me just put out there that while Stoneking may rock, let's not forget that there are still many, many custodians of the mento (by its pan-Caribbean commercial name, calypso) traditions still living and making great music in Jamaica! You just have to look around to find it!

Dr. Jug - Posted - 02/09/2009:  11:01:31


There's a CD of Mento:
Boogoo Yagga Gal, on the Heritage label, HTCD45. Good fun, but you wouldn't post any of the lyrics on this family-friendly site!

"...mmm, it sounds so sweet..."

DanielT - Posted - 02/09/2009:  11:15:56


quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Jug

There's a CD of Mento:
Boogoo Yagga Gal, on the Heritage label, HTCD45. Good fun, but you wouldn't post any of the lyrics on this family-friendly site!


That's a great CD! Another good ones is "Take Me To Jamaica" (Pressure Sounds). There's also one called "Mento Madness" (V2) that is nice as well. The several volumes of Chin's Calypso Sextet (available on CD Baby) are great as well.

aroblin - Posted - 02/25/2009:  09:10:52


For those interested in mento banjo, please check out these recordings with mento great and former Jolly Boy Allan Swymmer. Allan is in great form on these two live CDs. I've played mento since I was a lad of six, and I had the pleasure of playing tenor banjo for Allan.

cdbaby.com/cd/hearduppylaugh
cdbaby.com/cd/andrewroblin2

Andrew Roblin
Bluegrass banjo at:
cdbaby.com/cd/andrewroblin


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