Jolly Boys

Beer Joint & Tailoring

First Warning, 1991

I'm still not sure that anyone needs more than one Jolly Boys album. I have three. I'd still recommend their first, "Pop 'n' Mento" most highly, because it has the best bawdy songs, including the Benny Bell warhorse "Shaving Cream". Since their primitive, calypso-like style (featuring guitar, banjo, bongos and "rhumba box", essentially a bass kalimba) is unlikely to change, the choice of songs makes a big difference. This album is more memorable than their second, with versions of the Jacob Miller reggae hit "Tenement Yard" and Jim Reeves' country classic "He'll Have To Go" (both claimed to be "traditional", but that can't be right). The live-to-DAT recording has a nice intimate feel, but also favors the drums at the expense of the vocals.

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