Sweetness

by: Beres Hammond

This is a sensational set that bundles up a dozen Beres Hammond hits, throwing its net beyond the Penthouse and Xterminator labels, which are well-served elsewhere. With that said, buyers still get one Philip "Fatis" Burrell production, the fabulous "Move Along," but it rubs shoulders with equally heavy hitters from Steely & Clevie, Tapper Zukie, a trio from Richard Bell, Willie Lindo, and more. As Sweetness suggests, the majority of the numbers revolve around matters of the heart, and what a sweet group of songs they are. The title track is almost dizzy from all the sugar seeping through in an effervescent confection that's totally irresistible, and if it's "Sugar Yu Want," Hammond happily serves it up in heaping doses on this smash classic. And what woman can resist his pleas to "Come Back Home" when he fills them with such soulful desire? Hammond is the master of romance and all it takes is "One Dance" to weave his spell and declare that "I'm So in Love," with the latter boasting a particularly tour de force emotive performance over the lushest of backings. In the loverman stakes, the singer has no competition, so best to "Step Aside," and let the king of romance show you how it's done. The singer shows less sympathy on "Move Along," as he gently pushes a competitor out of the way, delicately delivered, over a sublime rhythm with plenty of bounce. But Hammond is human, occasionally making mistakes and finding himself in "Double Trouble." That hit is one of the best examples of his phenomenal ability to draw listeners directly into his own world. "You Could a Deal" is a superb DJ cut of another stellar single, "100 Per Cent," while U-Roy adds further fire to "Putting Up Resistance," with both men standing strong against life's tribulations. "Preacherman" is the set's one pure cultural number, which didn't hit at the time, but is still a welcome inclusion, as Hammond powerfully rebukes those who misuse their position. Every one of these songs is another perfect gem, a further jewel in the singer's crown, with performances that will leave listeners breathless; the backings are all of an equal caliber, and the productions inspired. An absolute must for fans. ~ Jo-Ann Greene

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