Sunday, May 22, 2016

Day 204 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Beres Hammond - Rockaway

Judging by the past history of Distinctly Jamaican Sounds you'd think that reggae as a genre didn't produce anything worthwhile after 1985 but nothing could be farther than the truth.  The fact of the matter is that with a backlog of musical history still being discovered on a daily basis by yours truly, I personally have not had the time to keep in touch with "what's hot" and "what's new."  Personally a lot of it can be traced to the general downturn in dancehall which happened in the mid 90s when the music went from upbeat lyrics discussing a multitude of topics, to Jamaican deejays emulating American rappers with nearly continual gangsta talk of guns, violence, murder and punanny... no longer were artists content with "killing a sound" they wanted to literally pump a few bullets into an actual living human being and I for one found it both disturbing and unlistenable.  But while dancehall took a trip to the gutter, there were the occasional gems in reggae that I wanted to highlight this week.  Take for example Beres Hammond's "Rock Away" from 2001... his homage to the "way life used to be" is both beautiful and bittersweet.  Taken from his album Music Is Life on VP this is a great tune!  Score points for Beres for taking a stand against the disposable, heartless music that marked so much of the 90s and early 2000s and which left a bad taste in many reggae fan's mouths.  

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