Horace Andy

Wicked Dem a Burn: Best of Horace Andy

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Like so many artists, Horace Andy initially found success at Studio One, with label head Coxsone Dodd overseeing a deluge of sublime singles and a slew of hits, including Andy's 1972 chart-topper "Skylarking." Even so, and following in the footsteps of so many of the singers that came before him, once his star had risen high enough, Andy struck out for fresh pastures, cutting singles for myriad producers before linking up with Bunny Lee in 1975. Although Lee had been unleashing excellent productions since the rocksteady age, it was the roots era where he truly left his mark, reigning supreme in the dancehalls across much of the '70s. His distinctive riddims were ubiquitous during this age, and he recorded many of the island's top talent with great success. This, of course, included Andy, and Wicked Dem a Burn: Best of Horace Andy draws heavily from that pair's work together. Lee encouraged his stars to re-record earlier hits, and Andy eagerly obliged, cutting new versions of a shelf-full of his Studio One hits -- "Money Money," "Love of a Woman," "Something on My Mind," "Just Say Who," and, of course, "Skylarking" among them. Lee also had Andy cut a stream of covers of Jamaican hits -- including Delroy Wilson's "Riding for a Fall," Bob Marley's "Natural Mystic," and Tappa Zukie's "Better Collie," as well as versions of American standards including "Sea of Love," "Riding for a Fall," and "Ain't No Sunshine," the latter a particular standout. Of course, there were new numbers as well, like the cultural classic "Zion Gate," the sublime "You Are My Angel," the bright and bouncy "Nice and Easy," and the equally irresistible "Collie Weed."

Andy would recut many of these numbers again in later years, for so timeless were the songs that they sounded fresh in any and every era. Lee's productions are superb, Andy is magnificent, and this set is a sheer delight.

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