2017 Entertainment Highlights

Observer writer

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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The Jamaica Observer continues its daily look back at people, events and works that made an impact during the year

'EVERYBODY knows Albert... This is my town. I was born here and I'll die here,” Albert Minott told Britain's The Telegraph newspaper in 2010 as he walked through Port Antonio in his native Portland.

Minott, the 78-year-old Jolly Boys lead singer, passed away on his verandah in his hometown in June. His death was confirmed by his manager Jon Baker on social media.

Baker, who owns and operates the Geejam record label and hotel in Port Antonio, said Minott had suffered from respiratory issues.

“Albert will be remembered as the voice and figure whose vibrant tones and eclectic dance moves re-launched the band into the international music area. Albert's legacy will live on within the story of this 70-year-old group, one of the longest existing bands in the world,” Baker's post read.

News of Minott's death came as the group was preparing to release a song titled Day O, from their new album. Great Expectations, their previous album released in 2010, featured a modern mento remake of Rehab by Amy Winehouse.

Minott was born on September 14, 1938 and served as the Jolly Boys' lead singer since 2009. Rhumba player Derrick 'Johnny' Henry is the lone survivor of the trio that gained international recognition; founding member Joseph 'Powda' Bennett passed away in August 2014.

The Jolly Boys received their name from Australian actor Errol Flynn, who would often host parties in Port Antonio and invite the band to perform. They became known for playing mento which pre-dates ska.

Minott was given the chance as a teenager to join the band in the 1960s while working as a fire-eater at hotels in Port Antonio. The band had its share of members (at least 19), but Minott, Henry and Bennett came to international prominence nine years ago when they began recording for Baker.

The Jolly Boys performed throughout Europe, the United States, Australia and Hong Kong, and were the subject of feature stories by the Associated Press, New York Times and The Guardian.




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