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Life Is for Living

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Album Review

Life is For Living represented the first fruits of Horace Andy's collaboration with reggae traditionalist/futurist Neil "Mad Professor" Fraser. Having recorded for the top producers of reggae's first (Clement Dodd) and second (Keith Hudson, Bunny Lee) generations, Andy's selection of the Ariwa record owner for this 1995 set seemed a logical step. The singer's contributions to Massive Attack's critically acclaimed Blue Lines and its underrated follow-up Protection seem to have given him the confidence to produce his finest set of all-original material in some time. As usual, the singer's highly distinctive, aching vocal style is well suited to the sort of pained meditations on death, love, faith, and the harshness of daily living found here. The opening title track finds him stretching out in a discomix style past the seven-minute mark. Though the track is most notable for Mad Professor's mixing work rather than the subdued vocal, the singer hits his stride three tracks in. "Must Be Jah" finds him in top form again, milking the lyric in classic Andy style. "Zion I" and "Dem a Fraud" with their traditional, nyahbingi flavored rhythms represent new territory for the singer. Andy closes the former with a spoken word coda while Mad Professor brings the dub elements of the latter to the forefront on the satisfying version excursion "Dub is Bad." Though the material hardly surpasses the singer's classic In the Light, which was re-issued by Blood and Fire the same year, Life is For Living is a solid set with many of the same merits.


Born: 19 February 1951 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of Jamaica's most distinguished and beloved vocalists, Horace Andy is blessed with one of the most distinctive voices on the island and his emotive delivery just adds further weight to his reputation. His classic recordings from the '70s remain crucial listening, while his more recent work with trip-hop heroes Massive Attack has introduced the singer to an entire new generation of devoted fans. Indeed, Andy's work has been of such consistently high caliber over the years that there's never been...
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Life Is for Living, Horace Andy
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