Inna De Yard ADD


Album Review: Inna De Yard - Family Affair


by Steve Topple

Album Review: Inna De Yard - Family Affair

Legendary Cedric Myton opens proceedings with Humanity, a classic originally by Prince Lincoln of the Royal Rasses. Myton and Inna De Yard’s interpretation honours the original, with a rich arrangement filled with soulful vocals. The new addition of a fluttering flute is a wonderful juxtaposition to the warm, early-style Reggae elements – including the keys’ choppy bubble rhythm which then breaks into additional riffs and runs at points. Myton’s vocal interpretation is glorious: more delicate than Lincoln’s original, making it powerful & compelling.

Rocksteady masters Keith & Tex reinvigorate their classic, Tonight. It keeps the same BPM as the 1960s original, as well as its wonderful chord progressions. But here, the arrangement has been filled out with an additional horn section playing pointed call and response passages, as well as additional embellishment across the keys. But that rapidly skanking guitar remains the same – and overall, Tonight works well for 2023.

Then, Winston McAnuff and Johnny Osbourne take on Baltimore, one of Randy Newman’s classics. The duo moves closer to the Tamlins’ interpretation though – with the overt Reggae elements taking centre stage. However, McAnuff and Osbourne also bring inspiration from the Nina Simone version, with a funky horn section taking centre stage (as opposed to the background role on the Tamlins’ version). However, the overall, jazzy arrangement is really one in its own right – as are McAnuff and Osbournes intense and moving vocal performances. Stirring, intelligent stuff.

Keith & Tex
are back for Down The Street, which they originally did for Derrick Harriot in 1968: a gloriously evocative and almost South American-tinged Lovers track. This version doesn’t stray too far from the original – albeit with some additional percussion, embellishment of the keys, and a well-placed electric guitar line. Then, Osbourne’s Studio One standard, Truth and Rights, is redone by the man himself – showing he’s lost none of his spirit and talent over the years. The arrangement is not dissimilar to his original (bar the inclusion of a flute) – but it doesn’t need to be, as the track is a classic and Osbourne rightly maintains its dexterity.

Kiddus I
reworks his 1970’s Rockers hit Fire Burn with its clever horn arrangement and sparse instrumentation; once again, proving when something is good, it doesn’t always need messing with – here, actually stripping back the instrumentation and quickening the BPM to create an evocative piece. Then, Stephen Newland reinterprets the Bob Marley classic Touch Me – not an easy thing to do, however Newland is faithful to the original, while putting his own stamp on it. The lightness and airiness of the original is maintained, as is most of the original instrumental arrangement. Newland’s vocal is warm and rich – and the track is a fitting tribute to Marley.

Derajah brings us Africa, originally by the Gaylads and produced by Clement "Coxsone" Dodd. The haunting, provocative arrangement and forward-moving rhythm has lost none of its power, and Inna De Yard have done a sterling job of reworking it. Derajah’s version feels more poignant, more imposing, and more ominous – although the rudimental parts are the same. This is partly due to the excellent production and engineering, as well as a key change downward.

Myton is then back with Days Chasing Days, originally performed with his former band the Congos in 1980. It’s jazzy and meandering: the flute is prominent once again, with the keys running additional riffs compared to the original, and instruments throwing in blue notes for good measure. Myton is at his skilled best, here – the track is the same key as the original, and he still managed to hit the dizzying falsetto heights of his original. Powerful works.

Keith & Tex
revisit another one of their own songs with the funky Lovers Rock, Trojan cut Stop That Train. Here, the depth of kHz and instrumentation has been enhanced, making the rich Soul sound even richer. The pace has quickened slightly, and the role of the percussion (including a prominent shaker) is more involved – helping the momentum. Keith & Tex are great here, too – channelling the Funky Soul feel of the original and expanding it perfectly. McAnuff does similar on Sun Is Setting In The Sea – a pleasing, fresh, and breezy reworking of his own track where the pace has quickened just slightly, the instrumentation embellished – but it doesn’t deviate too far from the original, which is a good thing.

Then, Kush McAnuff provides Come Away Jah Jah Children. It’s a little-known track by the Black Survivors, originally recorded for producer Jack Ruby in 1975. Here, Kush and Inna De Yard have produced something moving, thought-provoking, and memorable. The arrangement has broadened out versus the stripped-back original, with a focus on lower kHz instrumentation, additional percussion, and a filled-out horn and flute line. Wonderful stuff – with McAnuff’s vocal being particularly impressive.

Keith Rowe originally recorded Groovy Situation for Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Here, Family Affair concludes with his updated version: jazzy, smoky, and wholly sensuous – a great conclusion to the album.

Release details

Inna De Yard - Family Affair

Inna De Yard - Family Affair

DIGITAL RELEASE [Chapter Two Records, Wagram Music]

Release date: 06/02/2023


01. Cedric Myton - Humanity
02. Keith & Tex - Tonight
03. Winston McAnuff & Johnny Osbourne - Baltimore
04. Keith & Tex - Down The Street
05. Johnny Osbourne - Truth & Rights
06. Kiddus I - Fire Burn
07. Stephen Newland - Touch Me
08. Derajah - Africa
09. Cedric Myton - Days Chasing Days
10. Keith & Tex - Stop That Train
11. Winston McAnuff - Sun Is Setting In The Sea
12. Kush McAnuff - Come Away Jah Jah Children
13. Keith Rowe - Groovy Situation