Beres Hammond is one of Jamaica’s most beloved artists with his patented soulful singing about longing, leaving and loving as well as the occasional cultural-themed track.
He has been putting out sweet music for almost four decades, mostly as a solo vocalist, but also as lead singer in Zap Pow, and today this band is probably best known through Alborosie’s and Collie Buddz’ samples of their hard-hitting 70’s scorcher Last War.
Under his own name he has put out anguished love songs and smash hits like What One Dance Can Do, Tempted to Touch and the U Roy combination Putting Up Resistance and he has also worked with a host of Jamaica’s most prominent producers, including Donovan Germain and the late Phillip “Fattis” Burrell.
Over the years he has not been as productive as many other Jamaican artists, but has nonetheless proved to be equally at ease with every reggae genre, though usually leaning towards the soulful and melodious.
His latest and mostly self-produced full-length set One Love, One Life follows his 2008-released album A Moment in Time and collects 20 tracks on two separate discs, of which one focuses on classic lovers rock, while the second disc contains more socially-conscious cuts.
Beres Hammond has one of those instantly recognizable voices – it’s torn, rugged and smoky-sweet. And it gives the elegantly arranged and well-produced material an optimistically melancholic feel.
The album is loaded with infectious melodies and blends smooth 80’s rub a dub with contemporary roots and R&B ballads, but also adding two tracks with a ska beat, and according to a recent interview it’s the first time he sings on a ska riddim.
In 2001 Beres Hammond was nominated for a Grammy for his Music is Life album, and if there’s any justice in this world he’ll receive a nomination and maybe also an award for this compelling and cohesive set of romance and culture.