Aswad

Aswad

Aswad has proven to be one of Britain's most influential and enduring reggae acts.

Artist: Aswad

Genre: Reggae

Label: Island

Release date:


Though later releases would find the group exploring more commercially oriented, r&b-flavoured reggae (and garnering crossover chart success as a result), their self-titled debut for mango is a satisfying set of straightforward roots music. For the most part, the album traffics in floating, downtempo grooves, as on the instrumental 'Red Up' and the surging 'Natural Progression'. In addition to their bright, guitar / keys interplay and air-tight rhythms, four of Aswad's five members sing, and the album is filled with strong solo and group vocal performances - the gospel-touched 'Can't Stand the Pressure', for example, and 'Back to Africa', Aswad's first single. The band also takes a cue from classic dub, as on the echoing soundscapes of 'Ethiopianrhapsody', in which harmonica and flamenco guitar wind through a heady rhythm vamp. While Aswad's lyrics address conventional rastafarian themes, and their commitment to roots reggae is unwavering, there are hints here of the jazzy instrumental flair and the influence of American soul (especially in the singing and phrasing) that would come to dominate their later work. in all, Aswad is a strong first statement from this high - profile outfit.

About the artist

Aswad are a British reggae group, noted for adding strong R&B and soul influences to the reggae sound. They have been performing since the mid-1970s, having released a total of 21 albums. Their UK hit singles include the number one "Don't Turn Around" and "Shine". "Aswad" is Arabic for "black".

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