Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

From Mento To Reggae To Third World Music
Cedric 'Im' Brooks & The Divine Light
17 North Parade
CD
March 3, 2008

Track list
  1. Nobody's Business
  2. Sly Mongoose
  3. Hop Merry Hop
  4. Steaming
  5. Carry Go Bring Come
  6. Schooling The Duke
  7. Put It On
  8. Let's Do Rocksteady
  9. Satta Massa Gana
  10. Salt Lane Gal
  11. Emavungweni
  12. Third World
  13. D'jambala
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Since its launch in 2007, VP Records' subsidiary 17 North Parade Records have re-released a number of fine records on cd such as Toyan's "Spar With Me", Yellowman's "Just Cool" and Zappow's "Reissue". Without doubt the most interesting re-issue so far, and also the one that has been long overdue, is Cedric 'Im' Brooks & the Divine Light's set "From Mento To Reggae To Third World Music". The original LP was recorded at Randy's Recording Studio 17 in 1973 and released on the Doctor Bird imprint.

"From Mento To Reggae To Third World Music" was initiated and produced by The African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica. Their main intention was to provide an overview of Jamaica's musical history and the progression of musical styles (Mento, Ska, Rocksteady and Early Reggae). For this project they teamed up with tenor saxophonist Cedric 'Im' Brooks and some of the days top studio musicians who called themselves The Divine Light.

With Cedric 'Im' Brooks they had engaged arguably the most innovative saxophone players in all of reggae music. Born in Jamaica, Cedric 'Im' Brooks toured Caribbean hotels and clubs with various big bands and combos in the 1960s. All the time, however, his own musical horizons - especially the breakthrough of new jazz - grew increasingly distant from the constrained, commercial music he had to play. So when the chance came to visit America, he eagerly accepted the opportunity. It was there that he became awe-struck by the music and vibes of jazz legend Sun Ra and Sonny Rollins. He was on the point of joining Sun Ra when the birth of his second daughter necessitated his return to Jamaica.

Probably in an attempt to reach a wide audience the music on this album is a lot lighter and thus more accessible than what can be heard on other Cedric 'Im' Brooks albums like "Im Flash Forward", "United Africa" and the Honest Jon compilation "The Light Of Saba". Overall the tracks featured on those albums are more mysterious and a lot spookier.

This cd treats the listener to a mixture of (now) classic hits and rarities, engineered by the late Errol 'ET' Thompson and Clive Chin. The musical lessons starts off with two nice Mento songs, "Nobody's Business", featuring the vocals of Sis Lee Campbell and Sharon Miles, and "Sly Mongoose", an enjoyable instrumental with a loosely swinging soprano line played by Barry Saddler above meshed guitars, bass, and drums. And on it goes with the Pocomania track "Hop Merry Hop", with Cedric 'Im' Brooks excelling on flute. Then it's Ska 'n' Shuffle time with the infectious "Steaming", featuring Tommy McCook as the lead instrumentalis. Furthermore there's the cover version of the well known Justin Hinds & The Dominoes tune "Carry Go Bring Come", sung by Brs. Brown, and the Don Drummond composition "Schooling The Duke".

The early Wailers tune "Put It On" is sung by Lynford Miles, while Nambo Robinson provides the vocals for a slowed down version of his Alton Ellis' Treasure Isle hit "Let's Do Rocksteady". The Abyssinians roots anthem "Satta Massa Gana", performed by Lynford Miles, is one of the highlights and our favourite piece. It rounds off the collection of tunes gathered from the original set. What follows are four additional tunes, with the Mento song "Salt Lane Gal" being the first bonus track. It's followed by the African beat of "Emavungweni", the Pocomania track "Third World", and the previously unreleased "D'jambala", a wonderful slow-paced instrumental piece.

The re-issue of this rare album is a real treat for music lovers!