V2 - 2004 - 52 minutes

Soul Jazz Records did the musical world a huge favour when they kicked off the reggae reissues gravy train with their superb 100% Dynamite series. Now that they seem to have become fixated on the grim sounds of the early Eighties, other companies are stepping into the gap, and V2's contribution is this perky raid on Jamaica's early musical history.

The new sound of the West Indies was known as calypso, but the specifically Jamaican variety was dubbed 'mento'. Before long it had travelled from the dusty rural backroads to the bars and clubs of Kingston, becoming the dominant Jamaican music when ska, reggae or dancehall were mere glimmers in Lee Perry's eye.

The names Boysie Grant, Lord Fly and Monty Reynolds might not ring any bells, but memorable song titles like 'Manassa with The Tight Foot Pants' and 'Me Dog Can't Bark' more than make up for it. Overall it's a classy release; eighteen good tracks, selected from Stanley Motta's 1951 to 1956 recordings, are well packaged with detailed sleeve notes.

An irresistibly jaunty combination of jazz, latin and folk, the sunshine-drenched sound of these recordings are bound to be the soundtrack of dozens of garden parties this summer.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Hill & Gully Ride/Mandeville Rd - Dry Weather House - Healin' In The Balmyard - Manassa With The Tight Foot Pants - Me Dog Can't Bark - Monkey Talk - Linstead Market by Lord Messam & His Calypsonians - Country Gal - She Pon Top by Baba Motta & His Jamaicans - Blu-Lu-Lup - Glamour Gal - Solas Market - This Long Time Gal A Never See You - Medley of Jamaican Mento - Come We Go Down A Unity/Old Lady O/Linstead Market - Swine Lane Gal/Iron Bar - Sweet Charlie/Mattie Rag/Nobodys Business - Big Big Sambo Gal/Mattie Rag