Natty Dread A Weh She Want
Horace Andy
Trojan Records
June 21, 2006

Horace Andy - Natty Dread a Weh She Want Track list
  1. Ragga Muffet
  2. Natty Dread A Weh She Want
  3. If I Wasn't A Man
  4. Love Me Baby
  5. Treasure Of Love
  6. Jah Rainbow
  7. Freedom
  8. This Must Be Hell
  9. Run Babylon
  10. Brutality
  11. Easy Come Easy Go
  12. Ragga Muffet (12" Mix)
  13. Natty Dread A Weh She Want (12" Mix)
  14. If I Wasn't A Man (12" Mix)
  15. This Must Be Hell (12" Mix)
  16. Stop Your Brutality (12" Mix)
  17. Got To Be Sure (Of A Woman's Love) (12" Mix)
  18. Close To Me
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 3/4 Sleeve : 3
In our apparently never ending search for the rarest, the roughest, the hardest, the most spiritual "holy grail" roots records -- we may miss out on the beautiful gems right in front of our noses.

Such a case can be made for this Horace Andy/Tappa Zukie album.

It is not, neither has it ever been especially rare. Probably it is not high on the list of records relentlessly hunted for particularly heavy mixes of this or that rhythm.

But make no mistake, this is a strong album featuring many moods, and not just heavy Rockers, though there are good examples of that style here too.

The other worthy point is the inclusion here, of no less than eight rarer discomixes/7" tunes -- We get the full 12" version to Horace Andy's interpretation of "Take Five", here entitled "Earth Must Be Hell."

Do we really need to hear yet another version of this by now much overdone, often corny rhythm? In this case, yes -- This version stands head and shoulders over many of the other gratuitous mixes with its Tito Puente Afro Cuban timbale snare and Deadley Headley solo.

Also essential is the soul jazz mood of (the strangely titled) "If I Wasn't A Man", replete with its fusion of hardcore, taut yet spacious reggae dynamics with a jazz horns section. We get two different versions here, a shorter cut with a different horns refrain, and the full spaced out discomix. Both are unmissable, and are considered by some to be amongst Horace's best moments in the jazz/dub style.

The title track too, is often overlooked -- most likely because it was so popular, accesible, and so available back in the late 70's -- and we reggae heads perhaps too often tend to scorn the popular and the easily available! However, it is an outstanding composition, with its sweet vocal, timbale snare beats, and melodic bass line. Another plus regarding this tune is, the ladies always seem to enjoy it, which as we know, can't always be said for roots and dub music!

"Jah Rainbow" is immaculately peaceful and sedate, ideal for the oncoming summer with its nature - conscious lyric.

On a final note, the production/engineering is typical of Tappa's Stars label -- harsh, abrasive and percussive with lots of brutal taut, snare work. Also worth noting -- the version of "Got To Be Sure" here is not the original Studio One cut, but a strict digi version, sounding reminiscent of Horace's early 80's digi cut to "Cuss Cuss."

Horace Andy represents a period when reggae vocalists were so individual, so difficult to hold down and pigeonhole into stereotype -- and when listening to this album, one can't help but wonder who has really come along since the 70's and 80's (besides unusual chanters like Luciano) to truly rival the expressiveness, the talent of men like Horace Andy and his contemporaries.