Beres Hammond, the king of romantic reggae, performed at a sell out London show at the Stratford Rex. The venue was full to capacity to see Beres Hammond and Marcia Griffiths on their Valentine Tour.
Beres had captured the hearts of the audience and held them in trance as he went through his classics. It was easy to see why as he gave everyone his soulful romantic sound that is simply unique. He stands alone head and shoulders above the rest.

I spoke to Beres after the show to ask how he felt about the show.
"With age everything gets better, you see clearer and the same with the audience they get bigger and better. Whenever they call me for a European Tour the only place my mind rests on is England. Everything outside England is like a vacation. No disrespect to Europe. We've performed to some very good audiences, wonderful response. I can't say nothing bad about that because at night time we have to run and leave the audience. It is like I owe England an allegiance, a loyalty and I always look forward to being there."

"The weirdest thing happened tonight. I never felt so doubtful than tonight throughout my whole career. It is how they spaced out the shows, one after another like a Stone love thing, like a sound system. It takes its toll on your voice. This morning I got up I had no voice. Someone rendered me First Aid and I went to sleep until 9pm. When I came here tonight I still could not talk. Someone gave me some brandy which I warmed on a heater, and drank it slowly. By the time they called my name, I prayed to God to make this happen for me. I never felt so bad, I never thought that it would happen at all but I told Him that this is a programme, something I have to do.

I went out there smiling and something just take over and I know Jah live. I was not responsible for nothing that went on tonight. I can tell you how I gave thanks, that is why when I came back on I had to do that song "Give Thanks" for all I got, because I know there was a power inside of me. Tonight was a testament for me, knowing He won't let me down again, no need to fear. I went through and enjoyed what I was doing. I could have sang till morning had it not been for the curfew. You will never understand the joy and the glory that I felt tonight."

"It is very rare that I see a crowd of women who dress appropriately. I don't think women should expose themselves because we have inner beauties, it is what I look for in every woman. You can't win me by showing your legs. When I came out and saw the women looking beautiful in such a royal way I had to make a comment, it warmed my feeling. It was sister Marcia that started it off. When I saw her go on stage she looked immaculate, regal, she set a precedence. Marcia has one of those voices that can't be replaced. I don't think she is aware how people hold her in the business.

Most of Marcia's songs that she has been singing for the last ten years I wrote them. I am glad she came on this tour. After the show when I spoke to Marcia she was happy she came with me. The music business has reached a stage where it is more than just sitting down and saying this is wonderful. They need to understand, they need to grow with the business, forget what they have done before and get a new approach, a new strategy."

"I have a new album that I am still mixing which is due out in the summer, it is another level of Beres, same voice everything on the Harmony House label. Also you have to watch out for Siccaturie Alcock aka Jah Cure, a new artist on my Harmony House label, he was one of the support acts that came with us.
When I go back to Jamaica I have to get my studio finished. It has been a dream of mine to have my own studio, you don't have to book time, it should be ready on six weeks."

Source: "Jet Star Reggae News", Issue 7. (Febr. 1998) Writer: Maureen Cousins



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