Nora Dean – Angie La La (Ay Ay Ay) {1970}

It’s always a good sign if you can’t find the right words describing music or any kind of art. If you would want to paint Nora Dean’s “Angie La La (Ay Ay Ay)”, it would probably be an expressionist painting with surrealistic elements. But I’m not an art historian so I could be wrong. It would be challenging to make a photograph that could express the atmosphere of Nora Dean’s classic. In my mind, I sometimes I compare instrumental music with abstract or at least not figurative paintings. I think a photograph lacks the freedom of expression a painting can achieve.

For me this is psychedelic music in the best way possible, it lets your mind free to find associations. Come to think of Jamaican psychedelic music, (dub-) reggae comes immediately in mind. “Angie La La” expands the genre and becomes something unique while using typical tape echo effects and the Nyabinghi-like percussion. It’s imaginative, creative, sensual, sexy and exotic music that manages to avoid the most terrible male sex stereotypes from the early 1970s. The track was produced in 1969 or 1970 by Duke Reid. Sadly Nora died a month ago on 29 September 2016 in Connecticut, USA, aged 72, may she rest in peace.

“First of all, this is not Nyabingi reggae, even though it’s included on a Nyabingi compilation. Second of all, the song is not even reggae. The only thing I’ve ever heard that is similar is Frank Zappa’s 1966 track, “Help, I’m A Rock” from his debut album, Freak Out. Some of the vocal effects are reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s 1968 track, “Julia Dream“. Ay Ay Ay is perhaps the strangest song with the most creative and colorful vocal in the history of Jamaican music.” says Michael Garnice on his in-official Nora Dean homepage, also mentioning her in his book The Ultimate Guide To Great Reggae.

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