Horace Andy‘s voice is an instrument that once heard is never forgotten, regardless of whether you first hear it on one of the numerous Jamaican reggae singles that he recorded during the 70s or – like most people – on one of the Massive Attack albums he collaborated on as a vocalist. His falsetto and his characteristic slow-motion vibrato breathed life into tracks like “Spying Glass”, “Cuss Cuss”, “In The Light”, “Skylarking” or “(You are My) Angel”, ensuring that they still continue to resonate deeply with listeners. His vocal style influenced countless root singers and the combination of his timbre with Massive Attack’s spartan hip hop beats still inspires legions of fans and copyists all over the world.
Horace Andy is also a true personality, a man you never forget: a warm, friendly man who combines consciousness with an open mind, and who almost always seems to be smiling. It isn’t hard to believe that his ability to doze off at any time and in any place garnered him the nickname “Sleepy” over 40 years ago. But once the man is up on a stage he commands his musicians with an authority and dynamism that makes him stick out among all the hungry, up-and-coming young singers. He is one of the most influential, widely-travelled and famous singers of his generation and his career has proved to be blessed with an exceptional longevity, despite the occasional ups and downs.
Horace Andy was born in Jamaica in 1951 as Horace Hinds. He recorded his debut, “This Is A Black Man's Country“, in 1967 for Phil Pratt, but his true breakthrough came with “Skylarking”, which became number one hit and a classic track in Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio 1 discography. It was followed by “Money Is The Root Of All Evil” (for Phil Pratt) and “Zion Gate” (for Bunny Lee) and other songs heavily influenced by Horace Andy’s Rastafarian faith. Songs like “You Are My Angel” (which was later reworked as Massive Attack‘s “Angel”) or his well-known version of “Ain't No Sunshine” showcased another side of his voice: that of the soul singer and seducer. In 1977 Horace and his wife moved to the US, where his recordings included the album “Dancehall Style” for the New York label Wackie's, before relocating to London in the mid-80s. The 80s were a difficult period in his life, but that all changed when Massive Attack recorded “One Love”, “Five Man Army” and “Hymn of the Big Wheel” with him, restoring his voice to well-deserved prominence. Horace Andy is the only singer to feature on every Massive Attack album.
Although his merits as a roots reggae singer go back to the 70s, Horace Andy has always loved experimenting: he recorded two albums with the British dub master Mad Professor (who also transformed Massive Attack’s “Protection” into “No Protection”); for a track on the “Inspiration Information” series by Strut Label he let house master Ashley Beedle work with his voice.
Echo Beach has now picked up on this tradition – and the much older tradition of versioning – by asking friends of the label to rework Horace Andy’s classic tracks in their own sound outfit. But this time the label hasn’t trawled old Studio One tapes for historic vocal snippets – that would sooo nineties; no, Horace Andy personally put in an appearance to sing new versions of his classic tracks on top of timeless and contemporary riddims.
Age may have deepened his voice, but it is by no means weaker, as can be heard on this album, on which Echo Beach welcomes old friends and new faces: there’s Rob Smith, who as part of More Rockers and Smith & Mighty was just as crucial for Bristol’s musical reputation as Massive Attack or DJ Krust & Roni Size. Today, he ensures continuity by working under the label and producer name
RSD and he dubs side by side with young steppers such as Pinch and Peverelist. With “Bad Man” he has chosen a track in which Horace Andy makes clear what he thinks about stress and good-for-nothings. The Viennese musicians from Dubblestandard have in the past collaborated with Echo Beach to produce riddim versions for Ari Up, Lee Scratch Perry and Mikey Dread; their version of “Money Money” picks up where a long list of legendary cuts of this song left off, all of which were based on “Money is the Root of All Evil” on Phil Pratt’s Sun-Shot label.
Well, we do have also the first recordings from Noiseshaper since 2009. The decided to do a remix of Skylarking and it is a masterpiece of their special and unique Viennese coffeehouse trippy reggae style. Black Star Liner from Leeds and their mix of Asian style inna vibe of Sitar and Tabla “Tings” going on well merched with Dance and Dub on DOU YOU LOVE MY MUSIC… !
Dub Spencer & Trance Hill are the jack-of-all-trades of versioning, capable of even twisting a dreadlock into the hoary beards of classic Metallica tracks. Together with wily studio fox Umberto Echo they have declared war on Babylon again in the shape of a dub treatment pock-holed with weird delay effects.
In addition to this European all-star posse, there is also a Berlin connection: the name Oliver Frost should be familiar to friends of the lounge gods of Jazzanova and Daniel Best‘s Berlin reggae forge Best Seven, where he released a wide range tracks and remixes together with Adrian Wagner. The mix of Eva B pulse in the intersection between Berghain hypnosis and Yaam relaxedness. Dreadzone from London are specialists to combine trippy notes and beats with Roots. The Money Money Remix is an killer as well as the New Yorker set up Subatomic Sound System and their remix of Cuss Cuss - but the focus – as for all the other musicians featured here – is always on the spiritual identity of the songs and the deep respect they have for the 40-year career of an exceptional artist. The beats may be broken, but the voice most certainly isn’t. This album will ensure that this incredible voice is never forgotten.
The first King Size Dub compilation was intended as a conclusion. Back then, in 1994, Nicolai Beverungen worked for EFA as On-U Sound / Crammed Discs label manager and had the fluffy idea to put together a compilation with bands like the Disciples, Zion Train, among other things, that he had cared for at the time for distribution . In the Mid-90s there was a moderate boom in terms of NeoDub and also by the support of the Spex met the sampler the nerve of time and sold well. Thus, from what should be a conclusion, curiously a start, Nicolai says, looking back. The spectrum of artists, one of which is now already published titles, ranging from Seeed, Tackhead feat. Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Simply Red, Nick Manasseh, Templeroy, The Clash, KLF, Stereo MC's, Apollo 440, about Mad Professor, Lee Perry, Horace Andy, Shabba Ranks, Augustus Pablo, to King Tubby and The Congos.
Unexpected encounters with eg the absolute beginners, Toten Hosen, Mick Jagger, Fanta 4 and Sharam are possible. This suggests the question of where in all the variety, the common denominator is? "The common denominator is reggae. This was always clear to me. The aforementioned people are either pure reggae or they have a taste for reggae, such as Mick Jagger. I find it interesting when people are not pure purists and create with their possibilities a crossover potential. This is the common line for me. And that's why I have to ask, no problem, Mick Jagger next to King Tubby. Since it has fallen, an often verschmähtes word crossover. The trailer hear the pure styles do not like, closed raise the index finger on the lookout for fixed categories and left the field to the more free-thinking minds of time. Good thing, because in the variety of styles, there is a lot to discover and complainers bother because only.
Another term that is often used to characterize his label program by Nicolai again and again is "Future Dub". What's the link in between Mick Jagger, Stereo MC's, Grace Jones, Simply Red, Massive Attack, The Clash, KLF, Die Toten Hosen, Sharam, Seeed and Fanta 4 on the one hand and Shabba Ranks King Tubby, Lee Scratch Perry, Big Youth, Sly & Robbie, Horace Andy, Gregory Isaacs, Augustus Pablo, Glen Brown, I-Roy and The Congos? Exactly. HOWEVER, For Those of you with a quizzical squint in your eyes: All of the above have shown off Their artistic prowess on various releases by label group ECHO BEACH Themselves laying open to the label's motto: "In Dub We Trust."