Album Review: Inna De Yard – Inna De Yard [Wagram / Chapter Two; April 2019]

Bridging de generations, Inna De Yard were formed when reggae stars Ken Boothe, Cedric Myton (of the legendary Congos), Winston McAnuff and Kiddus I came together to record the album Soul of Jamaica in 2017. Now, two years later, they are back for another puff of da chalice with a brand-new album (a film, directed by Peter Webber, documenting how the new album was made, is also due for release in the coming weeks). 

For those with a love for classic reggae, Inna De Yard will be a treasure of beauty. A cursory scan of the track-listing confirms its mainstream attraction: ‘Row Fisherman’; ‘Everything I Own’; and ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ are good examples of old tunes given reworkings but maintaining the soul which was such an important part of the original recordings. Luscious singing from Judy Mowatt and the ultra-sexy vocals of Jah 9 on ‘Black Woman’ demonstrate that the ladies are well able to kick ‘balls’ among the male reggae fraternity, if necessary. 

One could quite easily imagine a dad, say, in his mid-50s, listening to this with his 20-year-old son, both enjoying the sounds – bridging da generations, splicin’ up di years! Mellow vocals with pleasantly recorded instrumentation characterise these recordings. ‘Rebellion in Heaven’ is a perfect example of this. Like so much that’s good about reggae, Inna De Yard uplifts and has a feel-good atmosphere running throughout each track.

So, this can only be recommended unreservedly. No synthesised, overtly commercialised sounds here (despite the impression you might get from all the media publicity surrounding Inna De Yard’s formation a few years back). Understated and genuine, like all the best in music. So, as summer arrives, it’s time to go out to da back yard and listen to Inna De Yard. This is not a dance recording – it’s soul from start to finish, and as such, don’t expect to be skankin’ to these tunes. A delicious piece of work nonetheless, which ought to be heard and enjoyed as the sun makes its way outta da clouds.