Sometimes, putting up an album cover on this website is just a good excuse to write about and enthuse about an album, and try to turn you on to something that will hopefully bring you as much joy as it does for me.
This is one of those times…..
‘Just A Man‘ by Beres Hammond was released in 1979 on Joe Gibbs Music record label, and it is basically the best soul album you’ve never heard. In fact, it is a actually a blend of soul, disco, and R&B, all played by seasoned reggae musicians.
On paper this shouldn’t work – Joe Gibbs was at the height of his powers in reggae, Beres Hammond had been recording roots reggae with Zap Pow, and the musicians featured here like Dead Fraser, Mikey “Boo” Richard, and Willie Lindo were all skilled musicians, but again they had made their name in reggae. So it probably took many people by surprise that this album came out sounding just like it did.
The music and tracks here are excellent (if a little too polished at times) and if you didn’t have any context and heard the album without knowing anything about it, then you wouldn’t guess that this was made in Jamaica by reggae artists – you’d swear it was a New York soul band from the late 1970s.
Beres Hammond’s voice is perfect for Soul music anyway, and you can tell that he is loving every moment as his vocals ooze with joy.
The album cover is a bit bland, very bland in fact – but in this case it kind of works, and the music contained within is so alive. Plus the dark cover with flashes of light lends itself well (probably unintentionally) to the moments where the music lets the disco vibe slip to the forefront – it looks like a surrealist disco dancefloor. It has a feel of one of those 12″ extended disco singles from back in the day. It did get another album sleeve on a re-release where Beres Hammond is standing in an ice-white suit in front of a Rolls Royce, which looked a bit more cheesy…..’Just A Man’ with an expensive suit and a Rolls Royce…..yeah, just a man like the rest of us Beres.
VP Records also re-released the album in 2010, retaining the original artwork with the addition of a photo of Beres in the middle – this means that the album still readily available via the usual digital channels, so you have no excuse not to check out this unique and different album from some of reggae’s great talents. Open your mind, prepare to be surprised, and hopefully have some fun.
Listen to ‘I’m lonely’ by Beres Hammond:
Listen to ‘Just A Man’ by Beres Hammond:
|Get it at iTunes|
|Get it at Amazon|