Well if anyone would be surprised by the acclaim the Jolly Boys would be the most surprised of them all. In a recent interview on BBC World Service one of them proclaimed that “It’s as good as drinking a glass of Baileys” And that’s probably a pint size glass as their new album, Great Expectation gets released on Wall Of Sound Records on Monday (20th September 2010).
Great Expectations is a collection of 12 modern classic pop/rock songs given a mento makeover. Mento? Yep. It’s the sound of JA before reggae, ska, blue beat, roots, dancehall and anything else. Back in the 1950′s, The Jolly Boys were the house band for the Rat Pack’s Jamaican chapter, headed by Hollywood’s bad boy of the long foil, Errol Flynn no less! With songs that focused on the art of the double entendre and ribaldry, the group served as Port Antonio’s go-to band for thirty years.
Fast forward another 30 years, they are the sound of mento after recording Sunshine ‘N’ Water last year, they’ve now done five UK shows in August (including the Saturday at Big
Chill, review HERE although I unfortunately missed them) and with the new album coming out soon, they are the JA’s answer to the Buena Vista Social Club; even making an appearance on the Adrian ‘Jolly’ Chiles/Christine Bleakley show last week.
And sticking with the TV theme, as Wayne Smith’s ‘Under Me Sensi’ gets repeated plays as the theme to the This Is England 86, The Jolly Boys are from an even earlier time that are like a calypso version of The Wurzels and Chris Barber’s Jazz Band.
The thing with Great Expectation, doing a dozen cover versions of popular hits by artists like The Clash, The Stooges, The Stranglers and New Order, do they cross the line into ‘novelty’ act?
Well, if you ignore Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’, I’ve come to the conclusion that they are cool. They squeeze the line about drinking Baileys into Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’ and from that era there’s Iggy’s ‘Passenger’, Grace Jones’ ‘Nightclubbin’ and Blondie’s ‘Hangin On The Telephone’. And it’s all very jolly, light hearted and inevitable puts a smile on your face, what more can you want from an album?
The gravelly vocals of Albert Minott is best suited to the slower song like Steely Dan’s ‘Do It Again’, The Door’s ‘Riders On The Storm’ and possibly best of the lot, The Strangers ‘Golden Brown’ (a bit of a change from years of mento’s standard sexual innuendo).
And they’re not scared of having a go as there’s a version of ‘I Fought The Law’ (made famous by The Clash), Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring Of Fire’, New Orders’ dance classic ‘Blue Monday’ and the Jagger/Richards ‘You Can`t Always Get What You Want’, quite a foursome I think you’ll agree.
These guys have spent a lifetime on entertaining locals and tourist on the coastal Hotels and you’d have a very cold heart if you weren’t a little bit jolly after this one; and it’s even better with a glass of Baileys or Cherry Brandy!
Reviewed: The Jolly Boys – Great Expectations (Wall Of Sound) Release date: 20th September 2010
1. The Passenger (3:59)
2. Perfect Day (3:44)
3. Rehab (4:09)
4. Nightclubbing (3:38)
5. Hangin` On The Telephone (3:04)
6. Do It Again (3:17)
7. Riders On The Storm (3:25)
8. Golden Brown (2:35)
9. I Fought The Law (3:30)
10. Ring Of Fire (3:35)
11. Blue Monday (3:14)
12. You Can`t Always Get What You Want (4:58)
Watch a short documentary about The Jolly Boys and the making of Great Expectations on youtube.com
23rd July – Bush Hall, London
24th July, Secret Garden Party Festival
31st July – Cardiff Big Weekend
1st August – Cambridge Folk Festival
4th August – Coalition, Brighton
8th August – Big Chill Festival
Daybreak 9 Sep 2010 … Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are joined by Jamaican mento band the Jolly Boys and there is an interview with actress Drew Barrymore. …