on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2022 2 Sep

„Rockers & Scorchers“

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 3 Comments


The  best reggae album 2022 (in my ears, and no. 20 in my 33 parade; see blog entries on August 30, for the numbers 20 til 33). Horace Andy‘s „Midnight Rockers“, might only have one true rival, its own dub version, „Midnight Scorchers“, to be awaited in the second half of September. „Midnight Rockers“ reaffirmed Horace Andy’s regal reggae status, irrespective of his latter-day Massive Attack and Rhythm & Sound fame.

Its producer Adrian Sherwood will now complete the picture with Adrian‘s sound-system-style refashioning, breaking tracks open, resetting them in eerie dubscapes, as he did with Lee Perry not long ago. And, just go back in time to put it all in perspective: looked at as one of reggae’s most distinctive voices, vocalist Horace Andy has made fantastic albums. Andy’s 1977 album In the Light may be his strongest.

The album’s ten tracks found Andy’s quivering vocals floating in a dreamlike tension above tightly wound rocksteady rhythms, looming darkly on pensive tracks like „Problems“, exploding on fun jaunts like „Do You Love My Music,“ and lingering meditatively on the lighthearted anthem of self-awareness and cultural pride that is the title track. Understated synthesizers and a simmering rock & roll-minded production denote the evolution roots reggae was undergoing year to year by the late ’70s, showing up on the especially swaggering „Collie Herb.“

As razor sharp as the record is on its own, the  dub album mixed by King Jammy, „In the Light Dub“, offers even thicker versions of the tunes, swimming in psychedelic reverb and splintered echo effects, bringing instrumental contributors like Augustus Pablo more into the spotlight. About as nuanced and motion-heavy as dub albums get, In the Light Dub transcends mere companion-piece status and stands beside the original mix as an equally interesting (and on some tracks even superior) artistic statement. Compiled and reissued in 1995 by first-class reggae label Blood and Fire, the collection delivered one of Andy’s finest hour from the obscurity that poor distribution and shoddy manufacturing had hoisted upon the record in its time.

Skillfully remastered and even stronger with both originals and dubs occupying the same space, In the Light/In the Light Dub is a triumph of roots reggae and a necessary chapter for anyone even remotely enthusiastic about Jamaican music and culture, especially at this critical point of reggae’s evolution in the late ’70s.


(written by Fred Thomas and M. E.)


This entry was posted on Freitag, 2. September 2022 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Olaf Westfeld:

    Das erste Horace dieses Jahr habe ich ja verpasst leider…. „In the light“ & dub companion = genius!

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Ja, ich habe die beiden Schätze dann im Nachgang zu Midnight Rockers entdeckt. Nie zu spät für so ein gutes Kraut.

    Und was man an dem neuen Album auch bestaunen kann: mit welcher Klasse Stimmen mit dem Alter tiefer werden können.

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Another Reggae Memory and Farewell:

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