Merritone book coming

Merritone book coming

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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The Merritone Story, a book about the Merritone sound system, is earmarked for release in 2021. Errol “Monte” Blake, whose father Val started it 70 years ago in his native St Thomas, made the disclosure last week during an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

“The idea for The Merritone Story came mostly from Merritone aficionados and the Merritone family. It's a long and very interesting story that we hope will fascinate readers from aĺl walks of life,” he said.

Co-authors of the tome are Arnold Bertram, Clyde McKenzie and Vonnie Komanettu Brown.

Blake is one of two surviving brothers who made Merritone one of Jamaica's treasured sound systems. His older brothers, Trevor and Winston, took over when their father died in 1956; Merritone became a party 'set' that played mainly soul and rhythm and blues music at cricket grounds and clubs in Kingston.

Tyrone, third of the four brothers, and Monte joined the fray during the 1960s. In 1973 they moved to Turntable Club off Red Hills Road in Kingston, which became a spot for Jamaica's in-crowd and attracted celebrities such as Marvin Gaye and Bunny Sigler.

Tyrone died in 2012 while Winston, who would have turned 80 this month, died four years ago. Trevor lives in the United States.

Monte Blake led a virtual, three-day celebration of Merritone's 70th anniversary from November 20-22. Due to restrictions stemming from the coronavirus a streaming party was inevitable, but enjoyable.

“The Merritone reunion was very well-received; two party days and one day of vinyl and mp3 'collab' was superb. Friday and Sunday over 600 viewers, and Saturday night [was] over 1,000,” Blake reported.

Michael Thompson, a Merritone protégé, Glen “Titus” Campbell, Ritchie Clarke and Ossie Chong were among the guest selectors.


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