EOne Music and Geejam Recordings are excited to announce that Jamaica¹s legendary Jolly Boys will release their first album in 20 years on May 3, 2011. Entitled Great Expectation, it¹s a collaborative project between Geejam¹s Jon Baker and Wall of Sound¹s Mark Jones and the results are 12 joyous interpretations of contemporary songs given a modern Mento makeover.
While Jamaica is known for its reggae and ska, Mento is the original sound of the island and the forerunner to these two genres. With an amazing history spanning 60 years, The Jolly Boys¹ name is synonymous with the Mento sound and they are arguably the most recognizable Mento band in the world.
The Jolly Boys quickly rose to local prominence in the 1950s as the house band for the Rat Pack¹s Jamaica chapter, chaired by the swashbuckling enfant terrible Errol Flynn. Singing songs of double entendre and ribaldry to those in search of escape and excess, the group served as Port Antonio¹s go-to band for 30 years.
The band have continued in different incarnations throughout the years and have a truly charismatic leader in current front man Albert Minott, who in his younger years, used to entertain at Jolly Boys¹ shows with his hand walking, fire eating and limbo dancing. His saturated vocals, natural retro chic stylings and limitless charisma convey a rare originality and musical creativity that is entirely his own.
Great Expectation was produced by Baker, founder of Gee Street Records, the seminal UK hip hop label that first brought the likes of the Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, PM Dawn and the RZA to the attention of the British public and that also developed a domestic roster with acts such as the Stereo MC¹s, and DJ Richie Rich. Now based in Jamaica, Baker recorded the album at his Geejam studios in Port Antonio. It was mixed by Tom Elmhirst who has worked with the likes of Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Hot Chip and The Kills.
In the summer of 2009 Baker held a recording session at Geejam to capture some of the Jolly Boys¹ vintage material. That session led to a fresh creative idea to dip into the rock repertory, take the songs that resonate with Mento¹s raucous history and put them in a different setting. Baker, together with his long time friend and creative partner Mark Jones, chose tracks from artists like The Clash, The Stooges, The Stranglers, New Order and Amy Winehouse. Over several months the group worked incessantly with Baker¹s co-producer Dale Virgo on a set of innovative arrangements and modern beats to compliment and contemporize an older sound defined by banjos, maracas and rumba boxes.
The result is Great Expectation, and with it comes the birth of modern Mento.
The album has already been released in the UK and the reviews have been stellar. The Times said "The Jolly Boys are enjoying a glorious renaissance," the Telegraph called Great Expectation "Utterly engaging," the Observer hailed "The Jolly Boys are enjoying a remarkable 'Buena Vista Social Club' like revival," and MOJO, The Times and Mail on Sunday each awarded 4 stars for Great Expectation.