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Earl 'Chinna' Smith and Idrens: Inna De Yard Vol. 2

Earl 'Chinna' Smith and Idrens: Inna De Yard Vol. 2

Earl 'Chinna' Smith and Idrens: Inna De Yard Vol. 2

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A smoother edged effort from the yard but with the same impressive results.

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Earl Chinna Smith and Idrens Inna De Yard Vol.2

The second instalment of Earl Chinna Smith’s groundbreaking reggae-unplugged compilation series Inna De Yard shows a definite progression from part one. The rough edged single-take nature of the previous volume’s recordings has given way to a smoother professionalism, with more studio polish, more guest backing vocals, and a wider range of instruments used.

Another difference is that the lesser-known names on the project supply some of the collection’s finest contributions. These include Be Careful, a mature-beyond-his-years vocal performance atop a solemn, marching rhythm by chip off the old block Matthew McAnuff, and Emmanuel I’s anguished, lyrically deep meditation, Greater.

But the big guns have their moments too. Kiddus I’s re-interpretation of his biggest tune Graduation In Zion proves that the least worldly voice in reggae hasn’t aged a bit; whereas Chinna’s mellow reimagining of Fade Away turns Junior Byles angry warning into a dreamy dismissal. The latter also features the familiar dog barking in the background from Cedric Myton’s Congo Ashanty on Yard I, one of the few raw elements carried over from the first disc.

How much the slight shift in production values will affect your enjoyment will depend on what you valued most about the Inna De Yard concept. Granted a little of the DIY “spontaneity” (if such a thing can really exist on a recording designed for public consumption) is gone with the fluffed notes and carefree mic-placement. But overall we have another enjoyable summary of this subsidiary label’s work, which could well reach a larger audience than the first.

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