Aswad – Aswad (LP)

Format LP
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Black Story Tells The History Of Our Iconic UK Black Musical Icons. UMR Want To Celebrate Not Only The Culture; But The Scenes, The Sounds And The Artists Which Shaped UK Music, Giving Flowers To The Incredible Black Artists In Our Archives.
We Seek To Deliver These Influential (And Sometimes Little Known) Black Artists From Our Repertoire To An Audience Who May Never Have Experienced Them Before, To Elevate Their Music, Share Stories And, In Turn, Gain New Fans To Preserve The Legacy Of Black Music.

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

1. I A Rebel Soul
2. Can’t Stand The Pressure
3. Ethiopian Rhapsody
4. Natural Progression
5. Back To Africa
6. Red Up
7. Ire Woman
8. Concrete Slaveship
9. Three Babylon – Dub mix


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