Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Inna De Yard
Kiddus I (ft. Chinna Smith, Ras Michael Jr & Kush MacAnuff)
Inna De Yard
CD + DVD
April 7, 2005

Track list
CD
  1. Prayer
  2. Where Are You Going
  3. No Salvation Until
  4. Economical Woes
  5. The World Should Be A Better Place
  6. Reached Their Peaks
  7. Better Equity
  8. Troubled Time (Summer Version)
  9. Take Good Care Of Me
  10. Troubled Time (Winter Version)
DVD
  1. Interview with Kiddus I
  2. Session Inna De Yard
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 4 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 4
"Inna The Yard" is a powerful, intense, focused and meditative collection of strictly acoustic music -- no digi beats, not even any electric guitars/bass. It's all binghi driven tunes, but with a conventional hard rimshot Rockers drum pattern added on a few of the tracks played by Ras Kush, Winston MacAnuff's son. On the Binghi drums, playing hard and tight, are Ras Michael's son, Ken Bob, Jah Youth and Emmanuel I.

Kiddus I's vocal style may surprise some roots followers -- His style is far more in the vein of classic soul / jazz singers than JA roots chanters. Terry Callier and Bill Withers come to mind, and at points, he sounds like a more reflective , introverted Gil Scott Heron. He also sounds a little similar to Willie Williams from his Coxsonne period, and at times, surprisingly, there is even an edge of "psychedelic folk" to some of the compositions.

Chinna approaches his guitar like a slowed down, sparser Richie Havens, or perhaps at times, even sounding like Ali Farka Toure. This is by no means the conventional Chinna style we have got used to over the years from his work with Pablo's Rockers label or Bertam Brown's Freedom Sounds, though he did sometimes play in this sparse acoustic style for Pablo on albums like "Blowing With the Wind" (See tracks like "Drums to the King" for a style very similar to this album ).

The DVD is powerful -- For those of you into Binghi music, this really is as good as it gets -- a live session in Chinna's yard! What more could you ask for?

The DVD also features an in depth interview with Kiddus I discussing his life and spiritual reflections.

This is a commendable, very personal and original project, giving the dedicated roots follower a chance to learn more about these "Reggae supers", men like the legendary Chinna Smith and Kiddus I. Watching them play in this relaxed manner -- in their own homes as opposed to in an impersonal concert or studio situation -- gives a real insight into their motivations and personalities.

These are heavy, spontaneous sessions -- it would be a pleasure though, in the future, to see both Kiddus and Chinna take this acoustic, meditative project into a studio to work off the rough edges, ultimately to produce a carefully prepared, well produced album like Bim Sherman's "Miracle."

Now that would be worth waiting for. This rough and ready "backyard session" does work well on its own terms -- but it is surely a taster for a deeper, more polished project just waiting to be released.

This release is recommended for the DVD alone -- the audio CD is a bonus, with focus on Kiddus I's commendable poetry which emphasises detachment from politricks and a rejection of the relentless competition that sets man against man.

"So you who are thirsty,
I say don't drink any of ( Babylon's ) waters --
(Instead) you should drink of life's living waters.
Let it fill you and guide you : Babylon can't quench.
This holy flame is burning. Burning.
(Yet Babylon) wants more, more and more." ( Kiddus I : "They Reached Their Peaks." )