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Peter Stenshoel reviews The Best of Horace Andy

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Fans of Massive Attack will already know about Horace Andy, but I found out about him from a cut-out reggae compilation series. United Artists put out several “Best of” albums on the heels of the success of Bob Marley and the Wailers. This American repackaging of original Jamaican hits was just what I needed to teach myself a bit of Reggae history.

My favorite LP of the bunch is Horace Andy’s. With Clement “Coxsone” Todd's crisp but airy engineering, these songs are light, but not lightweight. Horace Andy knows how to tell the stories with his plaintive voice. The example we provide, “Love of a Woman,” shows how the singer can inhabit the hurt, slightly bewildered, mind of a spurned lover. The object of his affections calls him “a little child.” He repeats the phrase and makes the hurt real while sounding like that child.

With electronic organ repetition of near-minimalist bent, and slightly out-of-time guitar licks ghosting in and out, “Love of a Woman” is a classic of 1960s reggae and puts Dodd in the same hallowed territory as legendary producers King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry. 

Coxsone Dodd also produced Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus, who were featured in this previous Album of the Week.

Thanks for listening.