Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ken Boothe: Inna De Yard

Ken Boothe



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UK release date 24.11.2017

It's something of a grand occasion in the Reggae world, to say the least, when this particular (and highly celebrated) artist releases a new album. Who hasn't shed a tear listening to probably the most touching Reggae love song of all "Everything I Own"? Yes, the "Otis Redding of Jamaica" is back in style with this rootsy sounding platter inspired by Jamaica's number one hobby - relaxed jam-sessions in Kingston's backyards!

Brought to you by the same people who did "The Soul Of Jamaica" which featured two tracks from our Ken way back in March 2017. It's fortuitous that with Chapter Two the record label has dedicated a whole album to this magnificent singer's imperious and heartfelt vocals. The man doesn't have a derivative bone in his body nor does he try hard to twist the song to fit into his style. He is simply interpreting the songs in his own way, straight from the heart, listen and weep!

Just take,for instance, the opening track “Speak Softly Love”, a cover of crooner, Andy Williams’s “Love Theme From The Godfather”. Funnily enough, Ken Boothe already released a Reggae rendition prior, back in 1974 but this one steals the show, lilting and lingering with gorgeous accordion blowing in the musical breeze - highlighting Ken's soulful voice that doesn't seem to have lost any edge at all in 50 years!

"I'm A Fool" another re-interpretation is up next... A woeful tale of love's triangle followed by the excellent "Black Gold & Green" brimming with Jamaican pride, spiritually charged Reggae at its best. "Artibella" another stone cold classic, becomes a jaunty Reggae ballad, again in a minor key highlighting the dolefulness of the track - oh dear, cash-strapped and love-struck still! All bound together by a subtle supporting texture in the music, a simple concept filled with a soothing backdrop of acoustic guitar, piano, trombone driven horns and the hallowed Nyabinghi drums keeping the pulse reverberating long into the night.

Bob Marley's "African Lady" sees some harmonic changes going on (i.e. it's in a major key) and offers a welcome respite to proceedings and Motown evergreen "You Just Keep Me Hanging On" is a real touch of class too.

The hymnal "Rastaman Chant" finishes off this sterling platter and typifies the unplugged, natural organic process "Inna De Yard" is all about. As Bob said "some people feel the rain others just get wet", so let this one pour over you and luxuriate in its tender, iridescent beauty.
Words Emrys Baird

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