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Inspiration Information by Horance Andy and Ashley Beedle

Inspiration Information by Horance Andy and Ashley Beedle

Inspiration Information by Horance Andy and Ashley Beedle

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Strut’s collaborative series gets back on track.


Throughout a career that has spanned five decades Horace Andy has achieved both impressive mainstream success and stayed true to his roots. The best known of reggae’s plethora of honeyed voices, he’s cut killer sides for big producers including Coxsone, Striker and Bullwackie, and crossed over via his work with Massive Attack into markets most Jamaican singers miss.

Yet his image as the old school reggae artist non-reggae fans will love is a deceiving one. He has been outspoken in his criticisms of the static nature of roots music and the expectations of his followers. His previous studio outing 'On Tour' had a dancehall feel, and was censored by Trojan for anti-gay content.

So the chance to work with London electronic producer and re-mixer Ashley Beedle on Strut records’ second Inspiration Information album is one he must have jumped at. It was devised and recorded in just 5 days and the slightly sketchy quality to some of the original material shows. But unlike Sly & Robbie and Amp Fiddlers’ soporific first volume to the series, there is a clear synergy between Andy and Beedle, and the project yields respectable results.

Beedle’s music beds are minimal and, like Massive Attack, manage to sound mechanical and rootsy at the same time. The tracks with simple repetitive bass lines such as Watch Me and Babylon You Lose suit Sleepy slightly better than descending jazzier ones like When The Rain Falls. Seek It castigates politicians with the scathing line, “they only speak when Caucasians are dying”. Single Rasta Don’t is a vegetarian polemic where KFC is dubbed “Kenf**kry” and McDonalds “McDutty” illustrating the earthy levelling humour of dread word sound power. Surprisingly the duo’s renditions of the WailersHypocrites and The Rolling Stones Angie are also standouts, their time honoured songcraft giving the album some vital hooks.

On the downside a few backings vacillate between being danceable and atmospheric while falling short of both. Overall, though, this is a gamble that has paid off – letting Horace explore the sort of uncharted territory his traditional fare doesn’t permit.

Copyright Angus Taylor 10th March 2009 ©

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