Various Grass Yard Productions Vol. 1

Guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith has, over the last few years, enjoyed a career resurgence, thanks to his ingenious Inna de Yard series of mostly acoustic home recordings of some of reggae's forgotten legends. This release focuses on full-band productions and aims for the same organic vibe as the previous albums, but is uneven in its success. Tracks that feature foundational ska and rocksteady artists like Johnny "Dizzy" Moore, Bob Andy and Ken Boothe achieve easily live up to the "grass yard" promise. The album benefits from the addition of several up and coming artists ― Derejah Youth's "Spot Di 50" is the best here ― but when Smith turned to producing some of the newer artists, he evidently wanted a more contemporary sound. As such, the keyboard, bass and synth all over Israel Voice's "Bad Man" clash with the roots vibe and sound out of place, even though the song itself would fit well on a different album. (Naya)