Horace Andy's career is one of the few reggae success stories. His instantly recognizable voice now floats mysteriously through strains of Massive Attack, bringing one of reggae's key vocalists to a much wider audience.

Born Horace Hinds in 1951, in Kingston Jamaica, "Sleepy" got his start in recording at Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label in 1970. His initial efforts did not really hit, and getting Horace off the ground was a bit of problem. Coxsone Dodd recalls, "When he came to Studio One he was very laid back so you really had to groom him. It was a problem to get him started, you know, with the musicians, 'cause they kept putting him off. So I had to tell them to rehearse him because from the first, I knew something was there..."

Dodd remembers Horace not being a great songwriter at the start, and so "foreign" (American) tunes were turned to. Coxsone "used to always pick the foreign music" and what was picked in 1970 was Parliament. Their "Omium" album was released in that year, and the George Clinton-penned "Oh Lord, Why Lord" was chosen as a vehicle for Horace, which proved to be a killer for Horace, brilliantly arranged and sung in true Horace Andy style. By 1972, hits were coming fast and furious for Horace, and he "bust out" with the highly memorable "Skylarking," whose topic (begging amongst unemployed youth) struck a cord with the JA record buying public. By the time Horace got to songs like "See a Man's Face," he, the musicians, and the studio were well on fire.

“Horace grew and developed at Studio One, and soon his distinctive, unusual, warbling falsetto was delivering hit after hit - "See a Man's Face," "Slacky Tidy," and his continuing successes with covers often out did the originals, as was the case with Cat Stevens' "Where Do The Children Play" and Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion."

After graduating from Studio One with flying colors, Horace "enrolled" with producer Bunny Lee and hit again in 1973 with the very crucial "You Are An Angel." From that moment on straight through till the end of the decade Horace could do no wrong - he produced excellent material for not only Bunny Lee, but Niney, Leonard Chin, Keith Hudson, and others.

In 1977 Horace took up residence in New York and producer Everton daSilva and Augustus Pablo collaborated to produce one of Horace's best albums ever, "In the Light," and its dub album, "In the Light Dub."Both of these LPs have been recently re-issued by Blood and Fire records.

Horace recorded for Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes and his Bronx-based Bulwackie's outlet, releasing further great product.

Horace has resided in the UK for the last 15 years, and has teamed up with the Mad Professor for more studio work. Horace's coup-to-date has been his link-up with UK avant-soulsters Massive Attack. Massive Attack formed their own record label, Melankolic, in 1997. Its initial releases ("Spying Glass") feature longtime pal Horace, who has also been taken on the road as part of their touring line-up, where Horace has grafted the Jamaican-composed "Man Next Door" to the Massive Attack sound. Speaking on his successful relationship with them, he commented that for years he had been wanting to do music in that vein, but "there was no one in Jamaica to do it."

We welcome Horace Andy to the 21st annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.
--Mark Gorney

 

  Listen to the Music of Horace Andy

Links: Horace Andy's Facebook Page


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