Merritone’s one-off book records “merri moments.” 2023

Merritone’s decades-long “merri moments” in Jamaica and abroad have been captured in a one-off publication.

“It was an expensive and painstaking venture in putting this document together,” said Merritone’s Monte Blake, “but we thought it was important for historical purposes and thank The Gleaner’s library for the excellent research in its archives so that we would not leave out any significant moments.”

“It is hard to single out any one or two as most have been memorable and have made an impact on the music and cultural landscape of Jamaica while taking it to the diaspora,” Blake stated when asked about his favorite Merritone events.

However, he highlighted some of the headline events in the book, including the Merritone Family Fun Day in Connecticut, popular boat rides, dance nights at the iconic Turn Table Club on Red Hills Road, where many celebrities, politicians, and movie stars visited, and the annual Family Reunion in Jamaica.

Merritone records “merri moments” in one-off publishing.

“I have Instagram photos of the book showing Merritone’s influence on Jamaican music. He cited a 1985 piece in which the late Cynthia Schloss-Blake expressed worry that foreign artists were exploiting reggae better than Jamaican artists.

Blake noted that these gatherings had introduced numerous artists who brought their albums to sessions for them to play and helped fundraise for Jamaican and international organizations.

Some of the photos showed Winston Blake’s vital role in discovering potential via music production and the Jamaica Festival Song Competition’s early years. He judged this tournament with music pros, vocalists, and songwriters including Bob Andy, Joe Williams, and Lee “Scratch” Perry.

The Merritone book of memorable events will be on display at the 73rd Anniversary Annual Reunion and Family Homecoming Festival in Jamaica from October 21 to October 30 for participants to browse through and reminisce.

“This is by no means the sum of Merritone’s story,” Blake said. “Jamaica should look out for the comprehensive account of the musical movement being penned, as well as a documentary, which will chronicle the journey of the Merritone sound system, dubbed the Last Sound Standing, from its humble beginnings in Morant Bay, St Thomas, in the 1950s

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