Gig Seeker Pro


Port Antonio, Westmoreland, Jamaica | Established. Jan 01, 1955

Port Antonio, Westmoreland, Jamaica
Established on Jan, 1955
Band World Reggae


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Observer"

"There's already no contest for cover version of the year; it's Amy's "Rehab", as delivered by the champions of Jamaican mento, the calypso-flavoured folk precursor of reggae. Fronted by the charismatic, gravel-voiced Albert Minott, the Port Antonio veterans apply their banjo 'n' maracas shuffle to another dozen numbers from the rock canon; songs by Blondie, the Doors, Iggy Pop and more. The results are erratic, if always charming. Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" fits their earthy style perfectly, and Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" is transformed into a lilting Caribbean reflection." - Neil Spencer

"Jolly Boys: Aging Jamaican Troubadours Go Rock"

The Jolly Boys' members play mento, a bawdy style of party music that preceded Jamaica's more famous musical export, reggae. The band enjoyed some international success in the late '80s and early '90s, but since then some of its members have died or become too old to perform. Luckily, talented septuagenarians were waiting in the wings, and after 20 years, the Jolly Boys' members have released a new album of rock covers titled Great Expectation.

There's something you just have to love about hearing a gravel-voiced, stylish old codger singing Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." The effect is even better when you can actually see Albert Minott's deeply lined face, stalwart glare, piercing eyes and gap-toothed grin. When it comes to bona fide crustiness, no strung-out British bad girl or rock 'n' roll bad boy has anything on this guy.

Part of the fun on Great Expectation is hearing raw and rowdy classics by the likes of The Doors or Lou Reed rendered with banjos, acoustic guitars and, in place of a bass, an enormous thumb piano called a rumba box. Even when they venture into country music, the Jolly Boys' members go for true grit — Johnny Cash, not Hank Williams.

When the band takes on slicker fare, like Steely Dan's "Do It Again," things don't work out so well. The effect starts to seem a little too bizarre, even creepy, like the music of a house band at a bar in some godforsaken hinterland.

It's worth remembering that these guys basically do make a living by playing in tourist hotels. They're purveyors of a tradition, but also eager adapters of popular music, be it calypso from Trinidad in the old days or punk-rock hits here. Longtime fans will be glad to know that they toss in a few classic mento numbers, but the main attraction on the Jolly Boys' new album is hearing the tried-and-true fare of aging rockers covered by still more aging Jamaican troubadours. - BANNING EYRE


  • 1977 Roots of Reggae: Music From Jamaica (Lyrichord)
  • 1979 Jolly Boys at Club Caribbean (Club Caribbean)
  • 1989 Pop 'n' Mento (Rykodisc)
  • 1990 Quake with fear,The Jolly Boys are here (6 cd box set of previously unreleased material,including live recordings from their 1990 WOMAD festival appearance in Reading.(JB)
  • 1991 Sunshine N' Water (Rykodisc)
  • 1991 Beer Joint & Tailoring (First Warning Records)
  • 1997 Live in Tokyo (Respect Records)
  • 2010 Great Expectation UK Release (Geejam Recordings/Wall Of Sound/PIAS)
  • 2011 Great Expectation Caribbean Edition (forthcoming)



In winter of 1946, Errol Flynn purchased Navy Island for the princely sum of US$80,000. For the next decade that small swath of land, not even 100 yards from the beaches of Port Antonio, became the berthing place for Flynns yacht Zaca, and the staging point for his unending parties that is today the stuff of legend. The entertainment Flynn featured most often in those days was a small local group called the Navy Island Swamp Boys which consisted of Noel Lynch on guitar, Moses Deans on banjo and Papa Brown on rumba box. The mentos, calypsos and rumbas they played were the perfect soundtrack for Flynn and companys bacchanalian excesses.

Although its core group has remained fairly stable over the past sixty years, a full list of the Jolly Boys members would include a large number of official but transient members. Today, the "original" group consists of Albert Minott (lead vocals), Joseph Powda Bennett (vocals, maracas), Derrick Johnny Henry (rumba box), Allan Swymmer (percussion), and Egbert Watson (banjo). The current touring band mixes three of the original members (Minott, Bennett and Henry) with three younger members (Dale Dizzle Virgo on drums & percussions; Lenford Brutus Richards on banjo; and Harold Dawkins "Jah T" on guitar).

The Jolly Boys are :

The Foundation Group:
Albert Minott : vocals, guitar 
Joseph Powder Bennett : backing vocals, maracas and vibes
Derrick Johnny Henry : marumba box and backing vocals
Allan Swymmer : percussion
Egbert Watson : banjo

The New Blood: Donald Waugh : banjo
Lenford Brutus Richards : guitar 
Dale Virgo : percussion

Great Expectation

The Jolly Boys

Produced by Jon Baker and Dale Virgo. Executive Producers Mark Jones and Steve Beaver. Recorded at Geejam Studios, Port Antonio. Mixed by Tom Elmhirst, Geejam Studios. Featured guest artists include Cedric Brooks (flute, tenor sax) and Daniel Neely (banjo).

1. Passengers
2. Perfect Day
3. Rehab
4. Nightclubbing
5. Telephone
6. Do it Again
7. Riders on the Storm
8. Golden Brown
9. I Fought the Law
10. Ring of Fire
11. Blue Monday
12. You Can't Always Get What You Want