Beres Hammond – Just A Man [1979]

Beres Hammond - Just A Man [1979]

Beres Hammond - Just A Man [1979]

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.

Beres Hammond - Just A Man [1979]

Beres Hammond – alternate cover

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.

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Listen to ‘I’m lonely’ by Beres Hammond:

Listen to ‘Just A Man’ by Beres Hammond:



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Bullwackies All Stars – Black World Dub [1979]

Bullwackies All Stars - Black World Dub [1979]

Bullwackies All Stars - Black World Dub [1979]

Bullwackies All Stars - Black World Dub [1979]

Originally released in 1979 on the Wackie’s imprint label called Hardwax, ‘Black World Dub‘ is a fine example of the music that Wackie’s were embarking on and would continue to push out from their New York base through the 1980s.

This is a tough dub album that combines roots sensibilities with some electronic wizardry from the latest gadgets and technology of the time. Leroy Sibbles acts as a musical director (as well as contributing bass on a number of tracks) and recognisable rhythms are all given the unique Wackie’s treatment – check out the machine-gun style drum effects on ‘Skylarking’, and their interpretation of ‘The Drifter’ (called ‘Recording Connection’ here).

There is a wonderful simplicity to the cover art that suits this release. No fuss or hype, just a title on an off-white cover. There rear gives you a black & white studio photo. Many releases on the Wackies imprints often had simple black and white covers that gave a certain gravitas and seriousness to each release.

Tracklist:
Jah T – Recording Connection
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Skylarking
Joe Auxumite – Troubled Land
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Morning Star
Bullwackie – United Rock
Leroy Sibbles – Black World
Joe Auxumite – Simple Little Woman
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Tribute To Studio One
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Rain From The Cloud
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Shining Star

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Listen to ‘Skylarking’ by Bullwackies All Stars:

Listen to ‘United Rock’ by Bullwackies All Stars:



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Survival – Bob Marley & The Wailers [1979]

Survival - Bob Marley & The Wailers [1979]

Survival - Bob Marley & The Wailers [1979]

Survival - Bob Marley & The Wailers [1979]

Survival‘ was released in 1979 on Island Records and Tuff Gong Records, It marked a return to a more militant themes in Bob Marley’s music and the album was originally going to be called ‘Black Survival.

The album cover is comprised of 48 African flags representing a call for unity and strength in numbers, over an image of a slave ship.

The artwork was designed by a Jamaican-born, but US-based artist called Neville Garrick. Garrick was responsible for a number of other Marley album sleeves, and also went on to provide artwork for Burning Spear (Hail H.I.M, Farover), Bunny Wailer (Blackheart Man), Steel Pulse, Peter Tosh (Wanted Dread & Alive) and many more. Neville Garrick also created the backdrop for the iconic Reggae Sunsplash festival.

Tracklist
Wake Up And Live 4:55
Africa Unite 2:55
One Drop 3:52
Ride Natty Ride 3:53
Ambush In The Night 3:14
So Much Trouble In The World 4:00
Zimbabwe 3:49
Top Rankin’ 3:09
Babylon System 4:21
Survival 3:54

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Listen to ‘Top Rankin’ by Bob Marley


Listen to ‘One Drop’ by Bob Marley



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