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Title: Music is Life
Artiste: Beres Hammond
Reggae seems sweetest when it combines the talent of balladeers like Beres Hammond and vintage rock-steady rhythms. Hammond has done extremely well writing some fine lyrics to the original rhythms from Studio One. Songs like Angel Eyes, Ain't It Good To Know and Dusty Road which rely on the evergreen I'm Just A Guy rhythm, utilise the same recipe for success on Hammond's latest CD, Music is Life.

The album is additionally flavoured, though to a much more limited extent, by the music of other creditable Jamaican producers, including Treasure Isle's Duke Reid, Xterminator's 'Fattis' Burrell who produced two tracks, Lee 'Scratch' Perry whose Beat Down Babylon provides the music for the title track and Sly and Robbie and Robbie Lyn who combine to provide a really commendable arrangement of the almost perfect Tender Love.

But, Hammond projects himself a lot in this product, as well, producing a number of the tracks on the CD. Most tracks are fully original songs of a very high standard produced by Hammond, including They Gonna Talk, Rise and Shine, Give Me A Friend and Don't Play With My Heart, a really soothing lover's rock song. VP Records is always on the lookout for these very promising albums from leading reggae acts and no doubt they have hit bullseye again with this sure winner.

My favourites include Dusty Road, the lovely Burrell-produced tracks Mary Mary and Honey Wine and Love Songs and Tender Love produced by Sky Dunbar and Robbie Lyn and Robbie Shakespeare.

I Love Jah features veteran DJ Flourgon, sounding just as good as he did in the 1980s. The hip-hop Dance 4 Me is a very interesting collaboration with former Fugee Wyclef Jean.

African People features Pam Hall and guitarist Winston "Bopee" Bowen.

The title track is a pro-music anthem hitting at people who "don't love music".

"They don't know what is going on/Because they don't stop think realise that music is life."

Hammond has a captured market which looks out for his CD launches like some people look out for a full moon, but it is obvious that this one is projected to reach out beyond that market and into some new communities.

box.jpgBalford Henry
The Sunday Gleaner - February 25, 2001

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