The Jolly Boys Featuring Albert Minott Great Expectation

Formed in 1955 in Port Antonio, Jamaica (where Errol Flynn was a fan), the Jolly Boys are a leading exponent of mento, the Jamaican folk style that predated (and influenced) ska and reggae. None of the original members remain, but chief vocalist and leader Albert Minott has been with them since the early '60s. They have a following on the world music scene, but are clearly after a new audience, given the gimmick of this album. It features mento-style versions of rock hits from the likes of Iggy Pop, the Clash, the Doors, Steely Dan and New Order, and the results are entertaining, if sometimes silly. Hearing an elderly man sing about the virtues of "Nightclubbing" or plead, "don't make me go to rehab" (yes, the Amy Winehouse hit) may be rather ludicrous, but the sunny vibes of the music keep genuine complaints at bay. Much more successful is outlaw ode "I Fought The Law" (boosted by jaunty saxophone), Johnny Cash classic "Ring of Fire" and sweetly melodic covers of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" and Steely Dan's "Do It Again." Banjo and bongo drums are key elements of the sparse, breezy sound and the production of Jon Baker (head of the famed Gee Street label) is suitably unfussy. This is recommended listening for a summer BBQ. (eOne)