Gifted with one of the most distinctive voices in reggae music, Horace Andy is perhaps best known to mainstream audiences for his work since the early '90s as a guest vocalist with Bristol hitmakers, Massive Attack. He is also widely venerated as an all-time great by hardcore reggae aficionados and his eerie, haunting style has been imitated endlessly by scores of lesser talents over the years.
Born Horace Hinds in Kingston, Jamaica in 1951, Andy came on the reggae scene as part of the second generation of great singers who followed in the footsteps of seminal reggae vocalists such as Ken Boothe, John Holt, and Delroy Wilson. He recorded his first single in 1967 for producer Phil Pratt. ‘This is a Black Man's Country’ failed to make an impact, and it would be 1970 before he made his first significant breakthrough. After unsuccessfully auditioning at Coxsone Dodd's Studio One as a duo with Frank Melody, he successfully auditioned on his own a few days later. Dodd decided that Hinds should record as Horace Andy, partly to capitalize on the popularity of Bob Andy, and partly to avoid comparisons with his cousin, Justin Hinds, with whom his singing style at the time showed a resemblance. ‘Got To Be Sure’, the song he had auditioned with, became his first release for Studio One. The following two years saw the release of further notable singles such as ‘See a Man's Face’, ‘Night Owl’, ‘Fever’, and ‘Mr. Bassie’. One of Andy's most enduring songs, ‘Skylarking’, first appeared on Dodd's ‘Jamaica Today’ compilation album, but after proving a sound system success, it was released as a single, eventually topping the Jamaican chart.
The next few years saw Andy regularly hit the charts with further singles for Dodd such as ‘Something on My Mind’, ‘Love of a Woman’ and ‘Every Tongue Shall Tell’, as well as singles for other producers including ‘Lonely Woman’ for Derrick Harriott, ‘Girl I Love You’ for Ernest and Joseph Hoo Kim, ‘Love You To Want Me’ and ‘Delilah’ for Gussie Clarke and ‘Money Is The Root of All Evil’ for Phil Pratt. Although he landed a second Jamaican number one single for Pratt in 1973 with ‘Children of Israel’, Andy's most successful association with a producer took shape with Bunny Lee during the mid-‘70s. This era produced a series of singles now regarded as classics such as a re-recorded ‘Skylarking’, ‘Just Say Who’, ‘You Are My Angel’ and a new version of ‘Something on My Mind’.
In 1977, Andy moved to Hartford, Connecticut, United States, with his first wife, Claudette, where he recorded for Everton DaSilva. DaSilva gave Andy the latitude needed to craft his own records, leading to the recording of Andy's signature work, the revered ‘In The Light’ album and its associated dub version. Andy set up his own Rhythm label, which became an outlet for his work with DaSilva, before DaSilva was tragically murdered in 1979.
Andy's 1978 album ‘Pure Ranking’ had anticipated the rise of dancehall reggae, and he is recognised as a key figure in the early development of the genre, confirmed by 1982's ‘Dance Hall Style’ album. Andy continued to record with a variety of producers in the first half of the 1980s. In 1985, with his second wife Caroline, he relocated to Ladbroke Grove, London, and he recorded in the United Kingdom as well as regularly visiting Jamaica for further recording work.
1990 saw Andy's profile further raised when he began collaborating with Bristol trip hop pioneers Massive Attack, going on to contribute to four of their albums, most notably with ‘Angel’ (a new version of ‘You are My Angel’). In the mid-1990s he also worked with Mad Professor, releasing the albums ‘Life Is For Living’ and ‘Roots And Branches’. He released his own ‘Living in the Flood’ album in 1999 on Massive Attack's Melankolic record label, featured on the world music project, ‘1 Giant Leap’ for Palm Pictures, and on the successful Easy Star All-Stars 2006 album, ‘Radiodread’.
Andy continues to tour and record with Massive Attack and in his own right as a solo artist. In the Summer of 2007 he released an album on the Taxi Gang label with Sly & Robbie and a live album, ‘On Tour’ for Trojan Records which featured Horace at his best. He has just completed an edition of the Strut Records Inspiration Information series with producer Ashley Beedle, releasing in January 2009.
Selected solo album discography
Skylarking (Studio One, 1972)
You Are My Angel (Trojan, 1973)
Earth Must Be Hell (Atra, 1974) with Winston Jarrett aka The Kingston Rock
Earth Must Be Hell - Dub (Atra, 1974)
In The Light (Hungry Town, 1977)
In The Light Dub (Hungry Town, 1977)
Pure Ranking (Clocktower, 1978)
Bim Sherman Meets Horace Andy and U Black Inna Rub a Dub Style (Yard International, 1980)
Natty Dread a Weh She Want (New Star, 1980)
Unity Showcase (Pre, 1981) with Errol Scorcher
Dance Hall Style (Wackies, 1982)
Showcase (Vista Sounds, 1984)
Confusion (Music Hawk, 1984) Music Hawk
Sings For You and I (Striker Lee, 1985)
Clash of the Andy's (Thunderbolt, 1985) with Patrick Andy
Elementary (Rough Trade, 1985)
Reggae Superstars Meet (Striker Lee, 1986) with Dennis Brown
From One Extreme To Another (Beta, 1986) with John Holt
Haul & Jack Up (Live & Love, 1987)
Fresh (Island In The Sun, 1988)
Shame and Scandal (1988)
Everyday People (Wackies, 1988)
Rude Boy (Shanachie, 1993)
Jah Shaka Meets Horace Andy (Jah Shaka Music, 1994)
Dub Salute 1 Featuring Horace Andy (Jah Shaka Music, 1994)
Seek and You Will Find (Blackamix Int’l, 1995)
Seek and You Will Find - The Dub Pieces (Blackamix Int’l, 1995)
Life Is For Living (Ariwa, 1995)
Roots and Branches (Ariwa, 1997)
See and Blind (Heartbeat, 1998)
Living In The Flood (Melankolic, 1999)
Mek It Bun (Wrasse, 2002)
From the Roots: Horace Andy Meets Mad Professor (RAS, 2003)
This World (Attack, 2005)
Livin' It Up (Medium, 2007) with Sly & Robbie
On Tour (Sanctuary, 2008)
Selected guest appearances
Dr Alimantado – Best Dressed Chicken In Town (Greensleeves, 1978)
Massive Attack – Blue Lines (Virgin, 1991)
Massive Attack – Protection (Virgin, 1994)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Virgin, 1998)
Massive Attack – 100th Window (Virgin, 2003)
Dub Pistols – Six Million Ways To Live (Distinct’ive, 2003)
Various Artists – Two Culture Clash (Wall Of Sound, 2004)
Easy Star All-Stars – Radiodread (Easy Star, 2004)