Inspiration Information 2
Horace Andy & Ashley Beedle
Strut Records
February 23, 2009

Track list
  1. When the Rain Falls
  2. Watch We
  3. Seek It
  4. Rasta Don't
  5. Hypocrite Dog
  6. The Light
  7. Angie
  8. 2 Way Traffic
  9. Babylon You Lose
  10. Hot Hot Hot
  11. Festival Song
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
For the first installment in their "Inspiration Information" series aimed at bringing together current artists with their heroes, UK-based Strut Records paired the legendary Jamaican riddim twins Sly & Robbie with Detroit soul/funk maverick Amp Fiddler. Although the results of this collaboration weren't all that great, the release of the album was quite successful.

For the second release in the series the label brought together legendary reggae vocalist and Studio One veteran Horace Andy with house DJ, remixer and producer Ashley Beedle of X-Press 2/Ballistic Brothers fame. Collaborating with people outside the reggae circuit is nothing new to Horace Andy as he has worked with Bristol's trip-hop godfathers Massive Attack in the early nineties. Before teaming up with Massive Attack he was one of Jamaica's most prolific singer/songwriters, but it was not until he started working with Massive Attack that he finally received the wider recognition he truly deserves.

"Inspiration Information Vol. 2" features 11 tracks created off-the-cuff, actually the final result of a 5-day jam session that took place in London in the fall of 2008. Riddimwise Ashley Beedle has incorporated Funk, Soul, House, and Rock, but retained elements of Reggae and Dub. However it's not the musical backdrops that make the best impression, but Horace Andy's highly distinctive, unusual voice. Even if some of the riddims, in particular the House oriented tracks, don't fit his vocal tones, it's still a joy to listen to one of the greatest voices in Reggae music. Also lyrically he's on good form, providing songs full of wisdom and positive energy.

The finest moments of this set are the haunting "Watch We", the dancehall flavored "Rasta Don't", the wonderful "Babylon You Lose", and "Hypocrite Dog", a very fine reworking of the Bob Marley classic. But unfortunately this album also features a few let downs. Tracks such as "The Light", a cover of the Rolling Stones tune "Angie", "Hot Hot Hot", and "Festival Song", are real disappointing efforts and thus deservedly get the skip treatment.

If you're a real big Horace Andy fan it's worthwhile to add this album to your collection. However if you're a purist, it's probably better to spend your money on a pure reggae album of Horace Andy.