While Skylarking is really the second Horace Andy album by this name, the 1997 release is actually a compilation of tracks from throughout his formidable career, put together for release on Melankolic (the label run by British trip-hop trio Massive Attack). Skylarking stretches from 1970 Studio One cuts such as "Fever" and "Every Tongue Shall Tell" to some of his Massive Attack highlights, like the eerie pulse and creep of "One Love" and "Spying Glass," which actually appears in two versions. The original was a notable cut from Andy's stay in New York in 1981; it's an excellent blend of spooky synth and echoing drums to lead off the collection. The Massive Attack version closes it out with a deeper bass pulse and gentle bell samples -- a fascinating combination. In between is a full dozen of Andy's hits, collectively showing exactly why his long-standing cult appeal is as strong as it is. Known for his haunting high tenor, Andy is no slouch as a songwriter as well. Tappa Zukie, Bunny "Striker" Lee, and Coxsone Dodd are just some of the legendary performers who appear on this compilation. In the liner notes, the lengthy biography, punctuated with numerous interview comments from Andy himself, as well as the track-by-track detailing of the origin of each song, provides much insight into Andy's work both as singer and songwriter -- a perfect complement to the music. Add to that the excellent sound throughout, and Skylarking is a must-have.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett