Beres Hammond

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Beres Hammond

Postby Ranking Glasses » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:53 pm

I think that Beres Hammond has been the most consistent mainstream reggae artist over the past 20 years or so. He manages to produce quality tune after quality tune seemingly effortlessly often with intelligent lyrics, e.g. "Emptiness". A couple of my favourites are "Preacher Man" and "Groovy Little Thing".

I first heard of him many years ago because my local sound system used to always play "Why" which is an absolute classic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKyyDqQA0mM

He's also great live - a true professional.

Well anyway, I had a family gathering the other day where someone commented that it's a shame he's ill and lost so much weight which prompted me to play a few of his tunes. The question that came to mind was is he a reggae great like Gregory or Dennis or a steady journey man? Is the reason I'm asking the same issue I had with Garnet Silk? A great talent but no original rhythms in the main. Can an artist be considered truly great if they only ever seem to sing over popular rhythms? Or do they have to write their own songs and music, like Bob?
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Dubba » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:53 pm

Certified legend for me, so many hit tunes in his catalogue and all different kind of styles. Some of my favourites are:

Call on the father
warriors don't cry
fight to defend it
double trouble
over you
black beauty
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby underated » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:06 pm

Ranking Glasses wrote: is he a reggae great like Gregory or Dennis or a steady journey man? Is the reason I'm asking the same issue I had with Garnet Silk? A great talent but no original rhythms in the main. Can an artist be considered truly great if they only ever seem to sing over popular rhythms? Or do they have to write their own songs and music, like Bob?


Good Question,

Yes he is a hardworking reggae star, with hit after hit & most reggae fans regard him in high esteem.
I only like a couple of his tunes ,stuff like " Rock Away" & " Over You".
Never been a fan of singers with gruff smokey like voices, he was probably a better singer than Gregory , not on the same level as Dennis.

The Cool Ruler was a very talented song writer & the ultimate master of the two chord trick riddims, he had a lot of emotion in his voice .
Dennis in his prime could sing anything & could write lyrics as well.

Artists don't have to write songs or play in bands to be considered great, I was a big fan of Alton & his big songs were covers.
I don't have any Beres albums in my collection, have a few by Alton , several by Gregory & Dennis , I only like a few Garnet tracks.
I have many Marley albums though.
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby mikus » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:21 pm

I love the lovers track There For You <that should have been a big pop crossover hit, wonderful Big People lyrics <i could imagine Radio 2 playing it here in the UK <I wonder if anyone even tries to look into the crossover market these days, a shame i think.
Loving 'Why' Ranking, thanks...1976 is that on the label? I hear a touch of Stevie Wonder in this (76 a big year for Stevie, Songs in the Key of Life and all that)
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby mikus » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:32 pm

Ranking Glasses wrote: Is the reason I'm asking the same issue I had with Garnet Silk? A great talent but no original rhythms in the main. Can an artist be considered truly great if they only ever seem to sing over popular rhythms? Or do they have to write their own songs and music, like Bob?

Garnet... after seeing the live showcase on youtube last year he moved right to the top of the tree for me, one of the most stunning performances ive ever seen, and thats with watching it on a little computer screen - pure commitment heart and soul
Heres the footage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5ouYWq-eFI
watched this a few times now and it slays me everytime
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http://mikusmusik.blogspot.com
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Cold Sweat » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:14 am

I love his gruff voice. Even when the riddim ain't all that, his voice makes up for it as it's sheer quality. That, plus his work with Zap Pow makes him a reggae great in my opinion. He seems to choose his own path instead of following trends, which I respect.

Here's one of my fave Beres tunes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF8y0tiGE7w
http://pressurebeat.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pressurebeatblog
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Reggie Love » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:04 am

I would put him up there with reggae greats for sure. Hit after hit after hit.... Also an original voice and a fantastic lyricist, particularly love the dry humour on tracks like lonely fellow and double trouble. He has had many hits on familiar rhythms but lots that aren't too - I feel good for example and they gonna talk.He's done it his own way too with a regular band and his own studio set up.
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Roman » Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:56 pm

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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Ranking Glasses » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:44 pm

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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby lankou » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:51 am

It goes without saying that BH is a first-class stylist with a hefty body of solid tunes (including outstanding conscious songs), some extremely well-written and deeply moving. Btw, he has recorded quite a few songs on original riddims, be they recorded on his own Harmony House or other labels.
On the other hand, would hardly call him a consistent artist for, imho, he has also released a great number of gooey, wishy washy tepid MOR songs. I feel about the same way when it comes to John Holt (who may have delivered worse songs, indeed).
On another level, though it is not his fault at all, he is often used as an excuse by people who don't usually go for "romantic reggae" and end up saying "oh i don't like this stuff but i love BH" - and Jah Cure, of course! I don't call that lovers rock in the "strictest" sense.
There are a number of UK artists i find at least as insteresting, moving, articulate or more consistent in this kind of vibe. Of course, for whatever reason, they have never been properly promoted outside Britain - but that's another story.
I prefer Garnett Silk, but wouldn't put them in the same category. BH is a fully-fledged talent and GS was still in his budding stage -no needto imagine what sort of artist he would have become, as we'll never know.
BH's fave tune may well be that one to these ears:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVBl_OOhB8Y (lyrics also echo well-known things!)
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Vinnie » Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:27 am

'no gabbon' hammond and luciano
used to rock the dances in the '90s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Xmcy2Vzk8
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Roman » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:43 pm

Vinnie wrote:'no gabbon' hammond and luciano
used to rock the dances in the '90s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Xmcy2Vzk8


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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Roman » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:29 pm

bought this 7" for cheap money not long ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKeKJx_nQhc
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby Ranking Glasses » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:03 am

lankou wrote:It goes without saying that BH is a first-class stylist with a hefty body of solid tunes (including outstanding conscious songs), some extremely well-written and deeply moving. Btw, he has recorded quite a few songs on original riddims, be they recorded on his own Harmony House or other labels.
On the other hand, would hardly call him a consistent artist for, imho, he has also released a great number of gooey, wishy washy tepid MOR songs. I feel about the same way when it comes to John Holt (who may have delivered worse songs, indeed).
On another level, though it is not his fault at all, he is often used as an excuse by people who don't usually go for "romantic reggae" and end up saying "oh i don't like this stuff but i love BH" - and Jah Cure, of course! I don't call that lovers rock in the "strictest" sense.
There are a number of UK artists i find at least as insteresting, moving, articulate or more consistent in this kind of vibe. Of course, for whatever reason, they have never been properly promoted outside Britain - but that's another story.


Iankou, your first point is partly why I asked the question but I didn't want to undermine the man's achievements. Yes, he has released many "romantic" songs some of which are not my cup of tea to be honest and some people might describe them as "drivel" from JA! On the other hand however, these are the songs being played and enjoyed by the reggae mainstream. Both old and young love his music which couldn't be said of Garnett who appealed mainly to the younger generation.

Another point you make about UK artists reminds me of Peter Hunningale. I've been listening to and buying his records for many years and I've heard him live a few times. Like Bitty McLean he doesn't have the most powerful voice but he has a very nice voice and he's a very consistent quality artist. I see him in a new light now after he sang at the funeral of a family friend earlier this year. He sang Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" over a reggae backing track and it was an incredibly moving performance. He's a true gent who deserves a big break.

I would also like to see Maxi Priest back on top. I'm not sure if he lives near me or has family nearby but I've seen him my local Homebase a few times! Maxi has a fantastic voice and I always hoped he would be the next Dennis Brown.
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Re: Beres Hammond

Postby lankou » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:57 am

Yes, i also rate P Hunnigale very high. I do think he has a great voice, though, whose power lies in his ability to develop intricate harmonies. Few contemporary artists have that skill, really, and certainly not most of his JA counterparts.
Unfortunately, i do believe that this artist, alongside some more from his generation (i wouldn't include Maxi, though he is a damn fine vocalist, but the productions on the majority of his tunes is too mainstream, imho), suffered from the lack of lucidity of the UK reggae actors (managers, labels...), who were absolutely clueless when it came to the development and spreading of JA genres in continental Europe. Stubborn insularity was their loss - as radical as this point of view may seem.
Few UK artists got a real break beyond the Channel (not talking about the UK steppa scene, whose impact became visible on a more recent euro scene) : Macka B, Mad Prof,Tippa Irie, UB 40, Aswad and Steel Pulse, for the most part. DJ's and groups. No real impact for a whole heap of very talented singers. The only 2 current exception being Bitty McLean and Alpheus,who decided to collaborate with continental people.
As much as i love a lot of PH's music, i don't think he will ever get a serious break abroad, just like an outstanding artist like Peter Spence. First, they don't belong at all to that UK steppa scene (currently emulated on the continent to varying degrees of quality), then, they aren' exactly what one would call "dancehall hipsters" (not fit for the other major segment of the audience, younger club scenesters) either . Moreover, the appreciation of authentic (UK) lovers rock is a very minor trait of the reggae audiences in europe, not to mention the fact that, for instance, PH's last albums have suffered from an obvious decline as far as production quality is concerned: finely sung, nice melodies and riddims but played in a rather dull and weak sound (uninspired digi programming, "strange " keyboard sounds and such).
I would love to hear him on riddims produced by Roberto Sanchez, Jahcoustix, Bost & Bim, newcomers Roots Vibes, for instance,or other up-and-coming production teams or old school bands. But not so easy, financially, in these times to produce such music. Whatever sort of reggae doesn't sell much these days.
Maybe such artists should give a try and leave the relative comfort of their own home studios and traditional fan base and link up with people from other backgrounds who share the same love for JA music. A notable exception is when some UK artists decide to work for a label such as Manila Jeepney, who hire Russ D as a riddim-maker. It just sounds brilliant! There, PH is one of them.
Back to Beres, another obvious favourite :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XysLaFK34b4
And yes, great artist onstage!
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