In 1983 the live-album Live And Direct by Aswad was released. A glorious reggae album that’s worth your time.
Aswad (meaning ‘black’ in Arabic) is an English group that was founded in 1974. Originally the band comprised five musicians. Quickly the band was slimmed down to a core, that would dominate the band’s face and sou8nd for years to come: Brinsley ‘Dan’ Forde (vocals, guitar), Angus ‘Drummie Zeb’ Gaye (drums) and Tony ‘Gad’ Robinson (bass).
Form the start, the band had its own distinct sound. Reggae was supplemented with influences from soul, jazz and funk. The band got signed to Island Records in 1976. Aswad was the first English reggae band with a record deal. The same year their debut album (Aswad) was released.
The band stood out, particularly amongst reggae artists. They were asked for shows and recordings by, amongst others, Burning Spear, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. The latter even called Aswad ‘the young Wailers’.
After a number of singles and albums the band left Island Records and signed with CBS, where album New Chapter was a great artistic success, one year later followed by Not Satisfied. Both the band and CBS were hoping for more: the band left CBS.
This is Live and Direct! Live and Direct!! You know what Live and Direct mean? It mean Live and Direct.
Opening to the live album Live And Direct
Live And Direct
At the end of 1982 the band released the classic single Roots Rockin’ on their own label Simba and subsequently signed with Mango, an Island Records sublabel.
On August 28th and 29th the yearly Notting Hill Carnival was organized in London. On one of those two days Aswad performed there with a horn section. they played their won songs and other favorites.
The show was recorded and released as Live And Direct. It turned to be a truly exciting album. The concert itself is great and the band is on fire. The reggae swings and is highly contagious.
it’s a classic album within British reggae, which produced a surprisingly large number of good reggae albums. Steel Pulse’s Handsworth Revolution, Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Bass Culture and UB40’s Signing Off are just a few in that list. Next to reggae, the British ska revival (ska is closely related to reggae) at the end of the 1970’s/early 1980’s was a vast source of fantastic music.
- Not Guilty
- Not Satisfied
- Your Recipe
- Roots Rocking
- Drum & Bass Line
- African Children
- Soca Rumba
- Rockers Medley
- Ease Up
- Your Love’s Gotta Hold on Me
- Water Pumping
- Love Fire
After Live And Direct
The band wanted more and grew ever more poppy. Their early fan base wasn’t too happy about the change of course, but it did deliver results. In 1988 the band scored a major hit with Don’t Turn Around. In 1994 the band made the album Rise And Shine, which was successful. The band even received a Grammy nomination for best reggae album.
Since Forde’s leaving in 2000, the group continues as a duo.
Live And Direct was a great document of the band on a beautiful summer’s day in London. Sometimes all the stars align. One of those times was the day that Aswad recorded a reggae classic.
What do you think of Aswad? Let me know!
Aswad – Notting Hill Carnival 1983 image: unthoughtofthoughsomehow.blogspot.com
Aswad – Aswad image: allmusic.com
Aswad – Live And Direct image: pandora.com
Aswad image: telegraph.co.uk