A couple of weeks ago, I pulled together some words on Angel by Massive Attack.
It was only when Swiss Adam later left the comment about it being “like a late 20th c Joy Division with Horace Andy on vox”, did it hit me that I should have said something about the original version.
Horace Hinds was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1951. He was the younger cousin of Justin Hinds, one of the biggest recording stars in Jamaica in the 1960s. At the age of 16, Horace embarked on a recording career, but initially without much success. Some three years later, and taking the advice of a veteran producer that a change of name would be of benefit so that he wasn’t in his cousin’s shadow, the newly-christened Horace Andy had a hit single in his homeland, after which he was rarely out of the charts the rest of the decade, even after he moved to the USA in 1977, where he became a pioneer of dancehall reggae.
He’s long been a superstar in the Caribbean, but he really only became well-known in the UK in the 90s as a result of his collaborations with Massive Attack. The Bristol trip-hoppers didn’t just see Horace Andy as a voice for hire, involving him in the creative process. Angel, for instance, saw Horace Andy undertake a massive (pun intended) re-take of a song he’d originally written and released back in 1973:-
The lack of reggae on this blog over the years is an indication of how little I know about the genre, and indeed how little of it has crept into the collection. I have a couple more Horace Andy tracks on the hard drive, including one which is a cover of a song I only knew from the Associates version, many years after Diana Ross had taken it to #1 on the US Billboard charts:-
I think it’s fair to say that Horace’s version is a tad more faithful than the magnificently manic take on things offered up by Billy Mackenzie and Alan Rankine.