Various artists album review
Beres Hammond And Friends
29 - 07 - 2001
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 3/4|
Beres Hammond's career started around 1973 when he performed in one of Winston Merritone Blake's amateur shows. He won and afterwards the producers rushed him. By 1975 Beres Hammond had become Zap Pow's lead vocalist, singing on "Zap Pow" (Mango, '78), and "Reggae Rules" (Rhino, '80) while still recording as Beres Hammond. In '79, he went solo, and in decidedly un-Jamaican fashion, released the album "Soul Reggae" (Aquarius,'76) rather than a string of singles. It took off, but when shops clamored for an album single, he and friend (and now
producer) Willie Lindo recorded an additional ballad, "One Step Ahead" instead.
It reached number one, putting Beres on the map. Another hit, "I'm in Love" (Joe
Gibbs) dropped in '78, and in '79, he created a track for the film "Children of
Babylon." But he wasn't making money, so he spent time doing backup vocals.
In order to have something of his own to fall back on, Beres formed his own label, Harmony House
in the mid '80s. A change was coming. In '85, he released two singles; "Groovy
Little Thing," and with Lindo, a tune called "What One Dance Can Do." The latter
blew up, both scored internationally and were released on the album "Beres
Hammond". Since then he has released several quality albums and numerous 45s.
Now ERC comes up with a top notch collection of vintage tunes dating from his days with Zap Pow, covering the period 1975 to 1984. This is a youthful Beres Hammond crooning out hits like the joyful Sunshine People and the awesome tune Bubbling. Further hits include the lovers tune You Don't Understand. One of the tunes which sees Beres in top form is the aching Set Me Free. The line-up of other singers and musicians is quite impressive featuring stalwarts suchs as Augustus Pablo, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Dwight Pinkney, Deadly Headly, Dean Fraser, Junior Marvin, David Madden, Glen Dacosta, Pablo Black and Ossie Scott. Zap Pow's mystical Reggae River, Ras Henry's Happy Home/Happy Dub and David Madden's Running Nowhere are killer roots tunes and Herman Marquis excels on Dave Brubeck's instrumental cut Take Five. One of reggae's most underrated artists is Max Edwards, he is present here with a sizzling rockers tune called True Love/True Dub.
"Beres Hammond and Friends" is a must-have collection for reggae fans.