Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Roots of Reggae: Mento (No, not Mentos the Fresh Maker!)

After failing to come through with a couple tracks for Thanksgiving I really feel as if I've been neglecting my duties here in providing a well-rounded sampling of Jamaican music but today I'm gonna try to make up for that. I'm going to touch on a genre of music that was an important predecessor of what we know today as reggae. The music is Mento, the Jamaican variant of Trinidadian Calypso, that was popular in the 1950's. Mento was first recorded music to appeal to local Jamaican ears but due to the lack of record pressing facilities on the island it reached them in a round-about way. Producers would record the tracks in Jamaica and would send them to London to have them pressed on fragile 78 RPM discs which accounts for their scarcity.

I could go into more about Mento but I'll let the excellent website Mentomusic.com give you all the info you'll ever need!

I present the track "Country Gal" by Charlie Binger and His Quartet from a great Mento sampler called Mento Madness. Surprisingly this album is available for download in its entirety from Itunes! If you like what you hear this is a great place to start... so pull out your rhumba box, don your favorite straw hat, pour yourself a tasty rum punch and transport yourself to sunny Jamaica circa 1952! If you don't dig it don't worry, I'll be back with some more familiar sounding music soon!

Charlie Binger & His Quartet - Country Gal Sorry I had to use Rapidshare for this but I've been trying to upload to Yousendit for 45 minutes!

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