|LABEL: Verity Records|
GENRE: Christmas/Urban Gospel
SPECIAL EFFECT(S): After two decades of recording and touring, Hammond, sounding like he was considering retirement, finds the reason for the season is a reason to write more great songs.
PRODUCER(S): Fred Hammond
Fred Hammond, the true "godfather of Urban Gospel", has been called a modern psalmist because, beyond big praise songs, at his best he makes intimate music--the perfect foil for the bombast of the holidays. Further developing the warmer, organic styling of his last release Purpose by Design, Hammond eases into pieces that gently focus on the mystery of Christ and the joy of His coming. Just Remember is built around a number of buttery smooth R&B meditations, featuring Hammond's rich voice on songs like the acoustic "A Strange Way to Save the World."
Tracks like "Go Tell It on the Mountain," weave pieces of traditional Christmas music into original compositions, while others like "It Took a Child to Save the World" further establish Hammond's legendary talent for melody, vocal, and orchestral arrangement. Hammond even wanders briefly into uncharted, magical territory, like the reprise of his classic "Blessing and Honor." While most of the disc floats along at a mellow pace, "God Has Been Good" rocks a perfect jazz groove of gratefulness and "He Is the Reason" closes the disc with a Christmas funk party remix of his classic "King of Glory."
Honestly, some will be disappointed by the absences of focus on Radical For Christ, only flexing once with "Go Gabriel," but "Just Remember" is still a reminder of Hammond's musical greatness. It is also an intimate reminder that Christmas is a beautiful mystery best sung by the greats like Hammond and RFC.