Saturday, August 9 –
1 p.m. gates / 2 p.m. show
Tickets are available at etix.com
Heart and Soul Ent. presents the 2014 Third Annual Westside Reggae Festival featuring Beres Hammond, Morgan Heritage, Barrington Levy, Anthem Band, Lupa, Nachy Bless, Johnny Osborne, Ky-Enie King and more.
There isn’t an aspect of romantic relationships that Beres Hammond hasn’t transformed into a classic (reggae) song; whether written from the perspective of a keen observer or willing and sometimes unwilling protagonist, each is delivered with Beres’ signature smoky, soulful grit. Beres can’t stand leaving his woman so early in the morning on the sultry, R&B tinged “No Disturb Sign,” taken from his 1993 Elektra Records release “In Control.” He takes over showing a misguided brother how to treat a woman” on “Step Aside,” yet he fails to heed that song’s counsel and regrets doing so on “I Could Beat Myself.” Beres professes the outrageous lengths men will go to impress women on “Full Attention,” displays a sentimental unwillingness to leave after years together on the gorgeous lovers rock tune “No Goodbye,” from his album “A Moment In Time” (VP Records). He broaches the topic of infidelity with humorous bravado and suspenseful story telling on “Double Trouble,” which stands as an unofficial cheaters anthem 20 years after its original release.
Widely acknowledged as Jamaica’s greatest practicing singer-songwriter, Beres’ beloved hit-filled repertoire, amassed over the past 40 years, is also rife with songs that simply, yet with profound effect, articulate the commonalities of life’s struggles and triumphs, irrespective of one’s class or creed, race or religion. Sufferers everywhere will identify with Beres’ exasperation generated by “Another Day In The System” and his defiance of the “overnight scheme…designed to keep me down” on “Putting Up Resistance” the song’s defiant, empowering message as relevant today as it was when initially released 22 years ago. The internal strength required to deal with life’s inequities is beautifully summoned on “Black Beauty” while “Give It All You Got Today” reminds the listener to always do their best, as time is limited for all of us.
Then there are the numerous Beres songs that celebrate music including the effervescent ode to dancehall “Can You Play Some More” and the blissfully nostalgic “Rockaway” (those were the days when love used to reign”). With an abundance of cherished tunes to his credit, it’s not surprising that a diversity of artists from audacious singer/songwriter Tanya Stephens to dancehall superstar Mavado have name checked Beres in their songs. On his 2001 duet with the venerable songster “Dance 4 Me” Grammy Award winner Wyclef Jean expressed the reverence with which Beres’ talents are regarded when he declared: “all you fake singers, bow down to the legend.”
Lush romantic musings and insightful social criticisms dominate “One Love, One Life”, Beres’ self-produced two-disc set of previously unreleased material, scheduled to drop on November 13 on VP Records. Each of the album’s 19 tracks is quintessentially Beres: his vocals, as rich and flavorfully bittersweet as dark chocolate, embody the spiritual fervor heard in the secular ballads of Sam Cooke, the laid back cool/political consciousness of 1970s Marvin Gaye and the gritty “Pain In My Heart” passion of Otis Redding. The aforementioned soul icons profoundly influenced the development of Beres’ style, as did Jamaican greats including Leroy Sibbles, lead singer of the Heptones, velvety crooner Ken Boothe and the legendary vocalist Alton Ellis, one of the pioneers of rock steady, reggae’s direct forerunner.
His 26th studio album, “One Love, One Life” features Beres’ most inspirational lyrics delivered with a gut-wrenching conviction that is rarely heard in today’s prefabricated popular music landscape.