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 By Howard Campbell—

 Beres Hammond—

SINCE recording the Soul Reggae album in 1978, singer Beres Hammond had settled into a groove as Jamaica’s premier R&B artist. A reggae hit song, however, eluded him.

That all changed 30 years ago, thanks to an uptempo track named What One Dance Can Do.

Written and produced by Willie Lindo, What One Dance Can Do finally broke Hammond in the dancehall/reggae market. He has been one of the genre’s top acts since.

Lindo now operates the Heavy Beat label and studio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He told the Sunday Observer that he had the rhythm track for the song laying around for some time.

“It was really written for Cynthia Schloss who I was doing an album with but it never made the album. One day I was listening to it an’ sey, ‘yuh know, I shoulda finish this song’,” he recalled.

Cynthia Schloss

Cynthia Schloss

During a jam session on the track with keyboardist Robbie Lyn, Lindo said Lyn played the bass line to Pressure and Slide, a rocksteady hit for The Tennors.

It was a light-bulb moment for Lindo, who made a reputation as a session guitarist at Federal studio.

“From mi hear it, mi couldn’t stop think ’bout Beres. Think ’bout him the whole day,” he said, laughing.

He eventually found Hammond at Breadfruit Tree, a popular hangout in Kingston where the singer played dominoes.

The Clarendon-born Lindo first worked with Hammond in the mid-1970s while the latter was a member of the reggae band Zap Pow. Their initial project went nowhere, but when they linked again for the Soul Reggae sessions, they made magic.

That easy-listening set, which contained ballads like One Step Ahead and Oh I Miss You, was well received but due to its success, Hammond was cast as a balladeer.

Lindo was confident he had Hammond’s reggae hit in What One Dance Can Do. The song was recorded at Dynamic Sounds with Lindo on guitar, Lyn on keyboards and Sly Dunbar playing drums.

The song was not an instant smash. Lindo remembers returning from the United States two months after its release when there was a turnaround in fortunes.

1978's "Soul Reggae"

1978’s “Soul Reggae”

“It jus’ tek off in Jamaica. It play inna every club yuh can think of,” he said.

What One Dance Can Do was a big hit in ethnic markets in North America and the United Kingdom. It was the start of a remarkable 25-year hit run for Hammond.

Lindo went on to produce bigger hits including I Want to Wake up With You by Boris Gardiner, which topped the UK national chart in 1986.

Two years later, he produced Dennis Brown’s Inseparable, widely considered one of the finest lover’s rock albums.

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