Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The MB Reader > Members Journal
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-07-2012, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
Mate, Spawn & Die
 
Janszoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 23,138
Default Time & Place

Introduction

As you can see, I've decided to start a new journal. I'm not abandoning my old one by any means. This one has a completely different focus so I plan on working on both at the same time. When I'm not in the mood to work on my countdown, I'll work on this. When I'm not in the mood to work on this, I'll work on my countdown.

The genesis of this journal was seeing Urban complain about the fact that most everyone uses their journal to write album reviews. Since I myself was one of the guilty parties, I started wondering what the hell I'd write about if I wasn't writing little reviews. After a lot of pondering, I decided to basically try and write an ongoing music column, but not just an open-ended music column, I wanted to write a column with a specific focus. The focus I've chosen, as you can see from the title, is music as it relates to time and place. Hopefully I can keep this going for a long time. I have a pretty long list of ideas and I've already started working on a few so the outlook seems good.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by P A N View Post
i'm not gonna spend my life on music banter trying to convince people the earth is flat.
A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

Time & Place

25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


last.fm
Janszoon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2012, 02:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
Mate, Spawn & Die
 
Janszoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 23,138
Default




Grandpa Liked to Party Too:
The Golden Age of Mento


Here's an interesting piece of information you may not be aware of: this winter marks the sixtieth anniversary of the first recording facilities in Jamaica. It's hard to imagine these days that there was a time when that island, which is now easily the largest per-capita music-producing nation on the planet, was exporting no music at all, but prior to the early fifties that's how it was. That studio, such as it was, was primitive to say the least. Constructed by Stanley Motta, a department store owner who came from a family of Sephardi Jews who had been in Jamaica since the Spanish occupation, the studio was a single tiny room in the back of a woodworking factory with some soundproofing boards on the ceiling and a single microphone. There was no overdubbing, everybody in the band had to cram into that little space and play live. There was no mixing of any kind either, just a volume knob on the cutting machine. The finished acetate lacquers were shipped off to London to be pressed to shellac 78rpm singles by Decca and then sent back to Jamaica to be sold at Mr. Motta's store.

Though MRS (Motta's Recording Studio) would close its doors after a mere six years, it can't be denied that it started something huge. From this humble starting point, the Jamaican music industry would slowly explode over the next few decades, and the style of music that it would start with was mento. It's, of course, not the first music to come from Jamaica. The island has a rich musical tradition going back centuries and consisting of everything from African-derived Anancy stories to choirs to jazz to children's ring tunes. But in the early twentieth century, a style of music began to evolve in rural areas which occupied a social niche similar to the one held by the blues in the United States. Rough edged and often bawdy, it was known to the locals as country music, but as it slowly metamorphosed and made its way into the cities it came to be known as mento. The instrumentation varied somewhat but often included the guitar, banjo, rhumba box (a sort of giant thumb piano), bamboo sax and hand drums. It was this music that Mr. Motta heard around him in Kingston and decided he wanted to capture.

The first ever recording at MRS was medley of mento songs performed by one Rupert Lyon, better known as Lord Fly. There was a lot of nobility in the world of mento at that time—Lord Flea, Lord Lebby, Lord Messam, Count Sticky, Count Lasher, the list goes on and on—and Mr. Motta recorded many of them. As the popularity of these 78s grew, MRS began to expand it's market by selling compilation albums. These records were labeled "Authentic Jamaican Calypsos" in an attempt cash in on the popularity of actual calypso music, a style from Trinidad with a much more pronounced latin influence than mento. Resulting genre name confusion notwithstanding, mento soon found an audience among foreigners, culminating in the release of Jamaican-American singer Harry Belafonte's inaccurately titled album Calypso, which is one of the best-selling albums of all time in the United States to this day. Business was booming. A major mento compilation was released in the UK on London Records. Several mento artists were signed to major American record labels such as Electra and Capitol, though always marketed as "calypso". Lord Flea even ended up in Hollywood, appearing in a couple of movies as well as on American TV.

In the end, like all styles, mento's popularity began to fade, largely due to the increasing profile of R&B in the late fifties, but it will forever be the music that gave birth to the Jamaican recording industry. Its reach can be felt in ska, rocksteady, reggae and beyond. And it's far from dead. Though its golden age is long past, it can still be heard in its home country, mostly in tourist areas and mostly in its tamer forms, but nevertheless it's there.

Now for your listening pleasure...

"Blu Lu Lup"—Lord Fly


"Naughty Little Flea"—Lord Flea


"Night Food"—Bedasse with Calypso Quintet
(this is a pretty funny little R-rated story if you pay close attention to the lyrics)
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by P A N View Post
i'm not gonna spend my life on music banter trying to convince people the earth is flat.
A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

Time & Place

25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


last.fm
Janszoon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2012, 10:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
Mate, Spawn & Die
 
Janszoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 23,138
Default

Heh. Try to contain yourselves, people.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by P A N View Post
i'm not gonna spend my life on music banter trying to convince people the earth is flat.
A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

Time & Place

25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


last.fm
Janszoon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2012, 11:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
Do good.
 
Blarobbarg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 1,621
Default

Great post! I really like your other blog too, so I'm excited to see what you'll be putting in here.
Blarobbarg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2012, 12:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
Juicious Maximus III
 
tore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Scabb Island
Posts: 5,919
Default

An interesting glance at a style of music I've never really explored beyond a Harry Belafonte best of record. Thanks for the write-up
__________________
In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.
tore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2012, 12:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
Thom Yorke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,802
Default

I really like that first track. This is a genre I know absolutely nothing about, but you can really tell how it could be a big influence on other genres just from the songs you posted. Also interesting to see how it was marketed sort of similar to Motown at the same time.
Thom Yorke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2012, 08:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
Mate, Spawn & Die
 
Janszoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 23,138
Default

Thanks guys! I appreciate the positive feedback.

Earlier today I came across this little article that you might get a kick out of. There isn't really much to it, but I thought it was funny to learn that the song "Night Food" that I posted the video for above was denounced on the floor of parliament back in 1959 on "moral grounds".
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by P A N View Post
i'm not gonna spend my life on music banter trying to convince people the earth is flat.
A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

Time & Place

25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


last.fm
Janszoon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2012, 10:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
Quiet Man in the Corner
 
CanwllCorfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Pocono Mountains
Posts: 2,452
Default

Great stuff Jans! I did reviews for awhile and hated it. It felt like homework. Ever since then I decided to just keep it all as random as I felt like.
__________________
Your eyes were never yet let in to see the majesty and riches of the mind, but dwell in darkness; for your God is blind.

CanwllCorfe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2012, 09:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
nothing
 
mr dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: everywhere
Posts: 4,287
Default

I'm digging this and looking forward to more. Curious now though, is there any connection between Jamaican Mento music and Cajun Zydeco? The instrumentation is a bit different but there are some stylistic and rhythmic similarities.
__________________
i am the universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by bandteacher1 View Post
I type whicked fast,
http://www.myspace.com/wallofpanda (updated 06/28/09-ish)
mr dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
Mate, Spawn & Die
 
Janszoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 23,138
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanwllCorfe View Post
Great stuff Jans! I did reviews for awhile and hated it. It felt like homework. Ever since then I decided to just keep it all as random as I felt like.
Thanks man!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr dave View Post
I'm digging this and looking forward to more. Curious now though, is there any connection between Jamaican Mento music and Cajun Zydeco? The instrumentation is a bit different but there are some stylistic and rhythmic similarities.
I haven't specifically heard that but I wouldn't be surprised. Jamaica and Louisiana are places with major ports not all that far from each other. And Jamaican music was certainly influenced by other Louisiana exports such as jazz.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by P A N View Post
i'm not gonna spend my life on music banter trying to convince people the earth is flat.
A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

Time & Place

25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


last.fm
Janszoon is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



2003-2016 Advameg, Inc.

SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2 ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.