The Merrymen

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For the sidekicks of Robin Hood, see Merry Men.

The Merrymen, sometimes written as The MerryMen, are a popular calypso band from Barbados.

The Merrymen's career spans five decades, from the early 1960s to the 2000s. The Merrymen are still performing as of 2011. At their height they were popular not just throughout the Caribbean, but they had also managed to reach the number one spot on the charts of several European countries.[1]

Their trademark sound is an upbeat form of calypso, reminiscent of what was popular in the Caribbean in the late 60's and early 70's, that samples liberally from Latin, funk, tuk and spouge musical styles. Lead singer Emile Straker's whistling is one of the most distinctive components of their sound, and often serves as the primary focus of the musical interludes in their songs. They have produced several memorable covers in this style, including versions of "Island in the Sun" (originally by Harry Belafonte), "Jamaica Farewell", "Hot Hot Hot" and "Mary's Boy Child". Their biggest hit was "Big Bamboo".

In addition to their characteristic sound, they are also known for the distinctive costumes they wear while performing and on their album and promotional photographs. The costumes are inspired by troubadour costumes from the High Middle Ages, a nod to one of the inspirations for their name (which may also refer to 14th century outlaws,[2] or Robin Hood's band of "Merry Men").

For many years they played regular shows aboard the Jolly Roger cruise in Barbados, but now have a much more limited appearance schedule, performing at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in an after hours dinner show. In 2010 they played a charity concert in Niagara-on-the-lake Ontario, Canada, There was an audience of nearly 3000 people. Also they played in September 2011 at a casino in Quebec called the Casino Du Lac Leamy in front of a sold out crowd of 310 people. In November they made a special appearance on the CBC Festival Stage, also in November the group confirmed they would be returning to the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship, from January to March they will be playing dinner shows from 5pm to 9pm on a fun-packed sail up the west coast of Barbados. In December 2011 it was rumoured that The Merrymen where asked again to play at the very beautiful Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, However no details have been discussed to the group. Howevere there has been no word on the subject since it was first brought up. Also in December 2011 Emile Straker (lead singer) mentioned they may be performing in Niagara-on-the-lake once again, however at the legion in Niagara, Emile Straker said the concert would be held on Saturday June the 16th of 2012.

History[edit]

They played their first show in 1962 at the Drift Wood Cellar Bar, one of the many bars along "The Gap", reportedly getting only the equivalent of Bds$36 (US$18) for their performance.[1]

Their first album, Caribbean Treasure Chest was released in 1962.

Personnel[edit]

  • Emile Straker - Lead Vocal, Guitar
  • Robin Hunte - Tenor Guitar, Electric Mandolin
  • Willie Kerr - Lead Guitar or stephen fields: guitar vocal
  • Chris Gibbs - Bass Guitar
  • Peter Roett - Drums & Percussion 1976 to present or Robert Foster 1966 - 1976

Discography[edit]

  • Introducing the Merrymen
  • Land of the Sea and Sun
  • Fun in the Sun
  • Just for You
  • You Sweeten Me
  • The Merrymen Go From Dusk 'til Dawn
  • Sing and Swing With the Merrymen
  • Merry Christmas
  • Beautiful Barbados
  • Colour It Calypso
  • Caribbean Treasure Chest
  • Standing Room Only
  • The More the Merrier
  • Sun Living
  • Don't Stop the Carnival
  • Caribeat
  • Merry Moods
  • Calypso and Island Songs
  • Barbados Memories
  • At the Caribbean Pepperpot
  • Sugar-Jam
  • Jolly Roger Jump-up
  • Come to my Island
  • No Big Thing
  • The Best of the Merrymen
  • Party Animal
  • Sweet Fuh Days
  • Greatest Hits Vol.1
  • Islands
  • Yellow Bird

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Merrymen at Totally Barbados, 2003, retrieved 2007-12-25 
  2. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary definition of "merry": “merry-man "companion or follower of a knight, outlaw, etc." is attested from c.1386.”

External links[edit]