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Beres Hammond

Wednesday, March 27, at Peabody's.

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Despite a career that spans nearly 30 years, Beres Hammond truly hit his stride only in the past decade. Sure, he chalked up a handful of hits in his native Jamaica throughout the '70s and '80s, both as the lead singer for Zap Pow and as a soloist. But it wasn't until reggae's dancehall era that Hammond really began to flourish.

Today, anything Beres touches turns to gold, giving him more recent hits than any other reggae artist. Producers line up to record him, musicians line up to back him, and the ladies line up to greet him. So why didn't Hammond become a superstar in the '70s, along with legends Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs? Truth be told, he wasn't ready. Like a slow ferment, Hammond continues to get better with each successive release. Likewise, his reflective demeanor and golden, husky voice are much better suited to the singer as a mature adult than a youth. Now that Hammond has grown older, he's become dancehall's gentleman.

And though Hammond's latest release, Music Is Life, which features the awesome hit single "Rock Away," was recently edged out by Damian Marley's latest for this year's reggae Grammy -- a decision that baffled many reggae fans -- Hammond's sheer number of hits back home is ample proof that his name is next in line, when it comes to cataloging the all-time great Jamaican hitmakers.

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