Horace Andy: Dance Hall Style

Like many casual reggae fans who came of age after 1980, I know Horace Andy from his exceptional work with Massive Attack. I picked up a few records over the years in hopes of learning more about him, but his catalog is erratic and I got some real stinkers.

I wish I had picked up Dance Hall Style before I gave up on buying his albums, because this is about as far from being a stinker as a record can get.

Music: 4 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
Every song is good, and the record is strong enough (and short enough) to be interesting from start to finish. I'm not sure when Dance Hall Style originally came out, but it's much closer to dub than it is to the dancehall sound that is associated with guys like Buju Banton and Shabba Ranks. The drums are rock solid, but the bass drives the entire recording in an unstoppable way. (Seriously, I can't turn a song off in the middle; when I listen to this in my car, I have to sit in a parking lot and wait for the song to end because the bass is mesmerizing.) Andy's voice is the real magic here, though. It is high pitched and urgent and oddly compelling. His voice is kind of tough to get used to at first, but he definitely has one of the most unique and powerful voices in all of reggae.

Packaging: n/a (Altered by EPFL)
From what I've seen, the packaging on the reissues of the albums from the Wackie's record label are fairly simple and straightforward, but still... all that's left here are the front and back covers. The artwork looks like cheap photocopies, which they probably were, given the time and place of the album's original release.

Listen if you like: Massive Attack, Gregory Isaacs, hypnotic basslines

If it were food, it'd be: Fried plantains. They're unusual at first, but after a few tries, you become addicted to their unique flavor.

1 comment:

The RIpple Effect said...

Great review. Horace Andy doesn't get enough credit in Reggae circles. Brilliant voice.