THE VERY JOLLY BOYS
Living a dream and maintaining a steady state of joy and jolly is the ultimate life goal. Just ask the Jolly Boys.
Moses Deans, Noel Lynch and “Papa” Brown are the three by design epic band members of the original Geejam Jolly Boys. After a split in the 50’s the JBs were reformed with Deans and Brown and Derrick Henry on maracas and drums, Martell Brown and David Martin both on the guitar. Famed for being the staple musical talents at Errol Flynn’s extravagant northeast coast soirees and saloons, the JBs are Jamaican Icons.
Their exceptional talent and mastering of the mento music sub-genre brought them to the big city centre stage at the Ward Theatre Downtown Kingston. Back in the 60’s Ward Theatre was a big deal, now it’s just big. To be on that stage meant something, for the ‘boys’ it meant an introduction to a nation. It also saw the addition of frequent percussion substitute Allan Swymmer become a full-fledged band member. A six month ‘tour’ abroad followed suit and included many auditions for swinging West Indian clubs including the Blue Angel Supper Club in Chicago.
As the boys hit their third decade in the 70’s they expanded their reach to more private hotels like The Round Hill in Montego Bay. Interestingly enough soon after Allan Swymmer moved to St Ann’s bay creating a second Jolly Boys with musicians from the parish playing gigs around town and recording two albums before their demise in the late 1970’s.
As time would have it the Jolly Boys had a host of gentleman come through the revolving doors of their Portland base through splits and death by old age etcetera. In 1980 Swymmer returned to Port Antonio teaming up with Deans reforming the JBs with Joseph Bennett on the rumba box. A few international successes including their appearance in ‘The Mighty Quin’ with Denzel Washington. However it wasn’t very long until the Jolly Boys faced disruption and division yet again when Moses Dean passed away in 1998.
In early 2000’s two Jolly Boys bands were again developed one lead by Swymmer and the other by Bennett. Son after music maven Jon Baker brought the two groups in house to fete his international musicians recording at Geejam. In 2007 thee groups came together once again under the tutelage of Baker recording their 2010 hit album “Great Expectation”. The record took the direction of popular covers including rehab by Amy Winehouse.
Learn more about the Very Jolly Boys HERE.