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Wednesday, 25 September 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRO - JAMAICAN MOST DISTINGUISHED AND BELOVED VOCALIST " HORACE ANDY " HIS MOST CLASSIC RECORDING FROM THE 1970s REMAIN CRUCIAL LISTENING UP TILL TODAY : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY One of Jamaica's most distinguished and beloved vocalists, Horace Andy is blessed with one of the most distinctive voices on the island and his emotive delivery just adds further weight to his reputation. His classic recordings from the '70s remain crucial listening, while his more recent work with trip-hop heroes Massive Attack has introduced the singer to an entire new generation of devoted fans. Indeed, Andy's work has been of such consistently high caliber over the years that there's never been a time when he wasn't releasing exceptional records.
Born Horace Hinds in the Allman Town neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica, on February 19, 1951, the young star-to-be watched in awe as his elder cousin Justin Hinds cut a swathe across the Jamaican music scene. Justin Hinds & the Dominoes notched up hit after hit across the '60s, most memorably with the smash "Carry Go Bring Come," later covered by Two Tone heroes the Selector. It was inevitable then that the younger Hinds would attempt to follow his cousin's meteoric path, although intriguingly he chose not to approach Justin's own producer, Duke Reid. Instead, at the age of 16 he cut his debut single for George "Phil" Pratt. Unfortunately, "This Is a Black Man's Country" did not light up the charts and the teenager spent the next few years in the shadows.
In January 1970, Hinds showed up at Studio One to audition for labelhead Coxsone Dodd, this time as a duo with friend Frank Melody. Dodd wasn't keen on the pairing, but later that week, Hinds tried again on his own with the self-composed ballad "Got to Be Sure," and this time the producer was sold. That song was cut as the singer's debut single. However, the producer was wary of releasing it under Hinds' own name, concerned that the family relation with Justin and Horace's similar singing style might count against the teen. Dodd insisted on a name change and decided to throw out a red herring by rechristening him Horace Andy, a tribute to the equally legendary former Paragon-turned-solo star Bob Andy. "Got to Be Sure" was followed up with several more singles during 1971 -- "See a Man's Face" and "Night Owl" included -- with "Fever" and the evocative "Mr. Bassie" arriving the next year.
Having reached such heady heights, Andy now departed Studio One, linked back up with Phil Pratt, and proceeded to cut such seminal songs as "Money Is the Root of All Evil" and "Get Wise." Now a fervent freelancer, Andy recorded with many of the island's other producers as well. He cut "Love You to Want Me" and "Delilah" with Gussie Clarke, the deeply dubby "Girl I Love You" with Ernest and Jo Jo Hookim, "Jah Jah Children" for Count Shelly, "Lonely Woman" for Derrick Harriott, "God Is Displeased" for Harry J, and covered Tony Orlando's "Bless You" for Robbie Shakespeare's Bar-Bell label. Leonard Chin was the producer responsible for Andy's second Jamaican number one, 1973's the infectious "Children of Israel," and the singles just kept coming. He joined forces with Niney Holness in 1975 to cut "Nice and Easy" and "I'm in Love," paired up with Freddie McKay for the duet "Talking Love," and also returned to Jo Jo Hookim's side for "Beware of a Smiling Face." Arguably, however, some of his best work was in conjunction with producer Bunny Lee. The two men inaugurated their partnership with a superb re-recording of "Skylarking" and "Just Say Who," the latter fueled by a mighty mix courtesy of King Tubby. The pair would create several more seminal versions of Andy's earlier works including "Love of a Woman," "Something on My Mind," and "Money Is the Root of All Evil" (aka "Money Money").
In 1977, Andy emigrated to Connecticut and immediately linked up with Hungry Town labelhead Everton DaSilva. The end result was the classic In the Light album and its equally seminal dub companion remixed by Prince Jammy. The pair also released a stream of excellent singles including "Youths of Today," the fabulous re-recorded "Fever," the guitar-laced "Do You Love My Music," and "Government Land." Andy next set up his own label, Rhythm, and inaugurated it with a new version of "Don't Let Problems Get You Down." The singer continued recording under DaSilva's aegis for other Rhythm singles, including "Ital Vital," "Control Yourself," and "Ital Vibe." Their partnership was abruptly ended in 1979 when the producer was murdered. However, Andy had not been working exclusively with DaSilva. In 1978, he had recorded the Pure Ranking album for Brad Osbourne's Clocktower label. This seminal album not only foreshadowed the rise of raggamuffin with its title track, but also laid the groundwork for modern dancehall.Andy now hooked up with the production duo Morwells and recorded the "Black Cinderella" single.
Soon after, Andy emigrated once again, this time to London. There he signed to the Rough Trade label and released the dancehall-flavored "Elementary." The single titled his next album, on which he was joined by Rhythm Queen. The singer obviously had quickly taken the pulse of the local scene and the record reflected the country's fascination with lovers rock, but wed it to a throbbing electro beat. Andy dabbled in production for the first time on the single "User," where he was again joined by Rhythm Queen. However, the singer reunited with Prince Jammy in 1986 and, accompanied by Steely & Clevie and the Firehouse Crew, unleashed a clutch of singles over the next couple of years including "Come in a This," "Must Have to Get It," and "Do Your Thing."
In 1987, Jammy oversaw the Haul and Jack Up album, absolutely sizzling with Steely & Clevie's rhythms. Andy also returned to Bunny Lee's side for 1986's Reggae Superstars Meet, an album that paired him with the equally legendaryDennis Brown. And, appropriately enough, he also linked with John Holt this same year for the From One Extreme to Another set. Both albums were excellent showcases for all three of the vocalists involved. Garnett Silk's success with his own version of "Skylarking" this same time was merely icing on the cake. In 1988, two new exciting albums appeared: Everyday People and Shame and Scandal. Andy was now regularly jetting forth between London, New York, and Kingston, with the former album recorded in the States, and the latter in Jamaica. Meanwhile, back in London, the singer had now joined forced with DJ Tonto Irie on the "Bangarang" single.