Go! Destination Marketing

The Jolly Boys
By Mark Rogers

I caught the Jolly Boys at the Caribbean Marketplace last month in Montego Bay and was completely floored. I was at the reception after the opening ceremonies, knocking back a Red Stripe with Joe Pike from Travel Agent Magazine. From the next room came the sounds of a reggae version of the Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Joe and I were both nodding our heads, thinking the version was pretty cool. A few minutes later I wandered out to hear the band and could hardly believe what I was seeing. Instead of a bunch of young bloods on the stage, there were five old but upright dudes who I later learned shared an average age of 70. They then kicked off an amazing rendition of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab' and I became an instant Jolly Boys fan.

Their new album Great Expectation hasn't hit The States yet, but word has it that it's going to be available in April. The Jolly Boys have been playing their version of mento for 60 years from their base in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Back in the 50s they even played for Hollywood swashbuckler, Errol Flynn, one of the greatest rakes who ever lived.

Now the Jolly Boys are back with a rebel, modern mento sound produced by Jon Baker, founder of Gee Street Records and one-time leader of the A&R team at Island Records in NYC, and Mark Jones from Wall of Sound. On the album they cover songs by Iggy Pop, Jim Morrison, Johnny Cash and Lou Reed. Great Expectation was recorded at Geejam Studios, a residential recording studio and hotel in Port Antonio.

The Jolly Boys lead singer is the charismatic Albert Minott. The rest of the foundation group are Joseph 'Powder' Bennett, backing vocals, maracas and vibes; Derrick 'Johnny' Henry on marumba box and backing vocals; Allan Swymmer, percussion and Egbert Watson on banjo.

Keep an eye out for these guys. Here's the Jolly Boys video of "Rehab."