Veteran reggae vocalist, Horace Andy, has released a new LP, Midnight Rocker, care of Adrian Sherwood’s legendary label, On-U Sound. To celebrate, I thought I`d pick a few personal favourites from Horace`s 5 decade-spanning career….
Horace Andy – Watch Over Them – On-U Sound – 2022
Horace Andy – Praise Him – Joe Gibbs – 1981
Produced by Joe Gibbs, I pulled this from a Jah Shaka play-list. The DJ is Michael Coburn aka Jah Mike.
Horace Andy – Don’t Think About Me – Randys – 1973
Produced by Keith Hudson, and recorded at Vincent Chin`s Randy`s, at 17 North Parade, Kingston, in 1973. This track was included on the classic compilation of Hudson’s work, Studio Kinda Cloudy, which came out in 1988 (and was name-checked by Saint Etienne on their single, Filthy). The song contains the line, “The time you take to check me, check yourself”, which everyone would do well to heed.
Horace Andy – Ital Vital – Rhythm – 1974
A cool cut of Freddie McKay`s Rockabye Woman that was issued on Horace`s own label, Rhythm. I think that the DJ here is Woolton Harrison aka Jah Bull.
Horace Andy – Fever – Studio One – 1973
Produced by Clement “Coxsone” Dodd and backed by Cedric Im Brooks – billed for some reason as Im & The Agg. It was Coxsone who gave Andy his break, taking Horace under his wing in 1969.
Horace Andy – Problems – Santic – 1975
Produced by Clive, son of Vincent, Chin at Randy`s, and engineered by Errol E.T. Thompson, for Clive`s label, Santic. The story goes that Horace wrote the lyric in 2 hours after first hearing the rhythm.
Horace Andy – Love Hangover – Bullwackies – 1983
A cool cover of Diana Ross` `76 hit, produced by Lloyd “Bullwackies” Barnes, in the Bronx, New York. To my ears, it`s tunes like this – the mix of stoned stripped back dread and a sweet love song – that directly influenced Massive Attack, the ground-breaking Bristol band that Horace would famously, later, join.
Horace Andy – You Are My Angel – Jackpot – 1973
Produced by Bunny Lee, and backed by The Aggrovators. One of the tunes that Horace radically reworked with Massive Attack for the album, Mezzanine, in 1998.
Horace Andy – Skylarking (A Better Version) – Jackpot – 1975
In 1972 this song was Horace`s first big bit for Coxsone at Studio 1. Featured on the Jamaica Today LP, it was picked up and played by both Sir George and Tipperone Sounds. This version was, again, produced by Bunny Lee, with The Aggrovators, and given a serious dub mix by the then Prince, now King, Jammy`s at King Tubby`s studio on Drumalie Avenue. Filtered, phased and full of severely mistreated spring reverb lightning and thunder.
Horace Andy – Mr Bassie (Discomix) – Hungry Town – 1978
Mr. Bassie was one of the first songs that Horace penned himself, while still at Studio One. It`s a piece that he’s frequently versioned, for a variety of producers – perhaps most famously for Everton Da Silva, in Queens, New York, for Da Silva`s Hungry Town imprint. It is a definite, definitive, Andy “signature tune”. The 12 is super expensive. Those after a vinyl copy – on a budget – should instead shell out for the brilliant Good Vibes comp.
Horace Andy – Careful – On-U Sound – 2022
Horace Andy’s Midnight Rocker is out now, care of On-U Sound.