It's hard to keep from gushing about Horace Andy's Skylarking LP. It's one of my favorite LPs, in any genre, reggae or otherwise. Not only because it's Horace Andy, but also because it's his first LP, it's on Studio One, and it's from what many consider (myself included) the golden age of reggae. Released in 1969, it contains primarily singles released earlier in the year. Horace Andy's distinctly sweet voice, which remains much the same today, is one of the voices most perfectly complemented by the bubbling organic sound of Studio One. (If you compare the two versions of Skylarking below, you'll see what I mean.) So, I've got some good news, and bad news. The bad news is that it's almost impossible to find Skylarking, on LP or CD (I've ordered it from two online dealers that had it listed, and got the same response: out of stock and out of print.) Now, put on your damn happy face. The good news is that I found a download on the blog You and Me on a Jamboree (link below). Get it while you can.
Here's a rundown on the other stuff I managed to gather. The first three below are covers of, in order, Paul Simon, Bill Withers and Al Wilson. (The cover of Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine," I know is Studio One.) The next three are mid-career Andy; great, in a more roots way. The next two are from what reggae fiends might refer to as his current WTF period. "Airbag," a Radiohead cover, was recorded with the Easy Star All-Stars, a band responsible for three reggae cover albums (including Dark Side of the Moon, Sgt. Pepper's, and Radiohead's OK Computer), all featuring different reggae luminaries. The next one from his surprisingly extensive run of collaborations with Massive Attack. Then there's two audio only YouTube links, to two versions of the song "Skylarking," followed by the main event, the LP. Again, get it. (Download ludites: it's in zip form, but worth the effort of a few extra steps.) After that, there's 10 other LPs at another site, also in zip format. On to the videos. The first video link down there is to a series of 17 clips at DailyMotion, documenting a Sly & Robbie session at Harry J's, featuring Horace Andy. (Chorus of "what if?"s can start now.) The last one is a more recent clip, of him performing "Skylarking," if only to illustrate that his pipes are still remarkably intact.
Horace Andy with the Mellotone HiFi 1986
~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~Listen:
Horace Andy - Mother & Child Reunion mp3 at Everybody Taste
Horace Andy - Ain't No Sunshine mp3 at Fat Berri's
Horace Andy - Show and Tell mp3 at Funky 16 Corners
Horace Andy & King Tubby - Free Africa mp3 via 4Shared* at Fortal Reggae
Horace Andy & Prince Jammy - Reggae Rockers Dub mp3 via 4Shared*
Horace Andy - Mr. Wicked Man mp3 at Raslogan
Horace Andy w/Easy Star All-Stars- Airbag mp3 at Music Is My Radar
Horace Andy w/Massive Attack - Girl I Love You mp3 at Rraurl
*At 4Shared click on blue "Download Now" button.
Contrast & Compare:
Horace Andy - Skylarking, original Studio One version (audio only video) at YouTube
Horace Andy - Skylarking, later version (audio only video) at YouTube
Skylarking LP Download:
Horace Andy - Skylarking (zip via Megaupload) at You and Me On a Jamboree (Studio One 1969 debut: HIGHLY recommended)
Alternate download links can be found following the link on the above blog. Annoying pop ups abound.
Skylarking LP song samples can be heard at ReggaeRecord.com
Horace Andy - 10 later LPs (via Mediafire) at Horace Andy (download blog)
Sly & Robbie w/Horace Andy - 17 part documentary of a recording session at Harry J's
Horace Andy - Skylarking (live) at YouTube
Horace Andy at Wikipedia
Horace Andy at MySpace
Other reggae related posts here