Horace Andy

Say Who

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Roots reggae singer Horace Andy was riding a creative hot streak in his mid- to late-'70s career, ranking among the most popular vocalists in his field with consistent hits featuring his haunting, sometimes whispery vocals. His vocal presence was so distinct and formative that he would be called upon later by Massive Attack to lend his trademark croon to some of their strongest tracks, moving from influential figure to collaborator. Some of his best-known productions are included on this 16-track collection, focusing on a brilliant run of late-'70s singles recorded at legendary Jamaican studios such as Channel One and King Tubby's. Kingston Sounds, the U.K. reggae reissue label responsible for this and many other fantastic roots compilations, has a definite ear for picking out only the brightest examples of often obscured original reggae tracks, and Say Who is no exception. While Andy had a series of solo LPs, he's better known by most for his crystalline singles such as the cautionary mysticism of "Skylarking," the spooky slow burn of "Man Next Door," and the breezy heartbreak of "Just Say Who," all included here. Also included are lesser-known but completely blazing tracks like the proverbial Rasta groove of "Something on My Mind," Marley tribute "Natural Mystic," and a molasses-thick cover of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," adapted with skanking guitar twitches and watery yet rock-solid rhythms. All of the tracks come from Bunny Lee-produced sessions and sparkle with a rare combination of laid-back rhythms, Andy's ghostly delivery, and an understated urgency and hunger that don't always make themselves immediately known, but peak out at the apex of the best tracks. While Horace Andy made a longer run of staying relevant and busy than many of his early contemporaries, Say Who captures the essence of what made him so great in his beginning days, and shows how some of the magic that made his biggest hits also touches the majority of his work from that time.

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