Aswad - Aswad - Island - 1976
Although The Cimarons, The Undivided, Greyhound and Matumbi, all came before them, Aswad were more or less marketed as the first major reggae band in the UK, by Island Records. They weren't. What they was, was the first UK reggae band to be given the treatment - only reserved for rock bands at that time. And it worked. Aswad did become the major reggae band in the country. And yet it only worked becaused the band were talented in the first place. This their debut album is a very impressive set from such a young band.
Aswad - New Chapter - CBS - 1981
Aswad's departure from Island was a surprise. For them to be then signed to CBS was a shock. How would a roots bands like Aswad come to terms with a major like CBS? Like Island before them CBS were more interested in marketing the band, then trying to alter their sound. The result was one of the best roots album ever made in the UK. Produced by Mikey Campbell, it includes a recut steppers version of 'Natural Progression' plus two new classics 'African Children' and the very advanced 'Love Fire'.
Aswad - To The Top - Simba
In terms of quality 'To The Top' must rate as their most accomplished LP to date, with plenty of innovation which the band are reknowned for. Yet all contained within the heavy discipline of the reggae rhythm. Lyrically a mixture of roots, lovers and reality. Plus a touch of dance hall in the form of 'Bubbling' that would make any sound bwoy, get up and skank. Rootswise 'Wrapped Up' is a favourite, although every track as a consciousness. 'To The Top' is a fitting title for this LP. A band on the right track.
Aswad - Distant Thunder - Mango - 1988
'Don't Turn Around' was a long overdue success for Aswad. Everyone seems to agree about that. Not so the follow up album. 'Distant Thunder'. Yet it's certainly as good as the last album 'To The Top'. 'Distant Thunder' pulls together the bands three different directions. Roots - here represented by 'Justice' and 'Set Them Free'. Lovers with 'Don't Turn Around' and 'Feelings', and 'Dance Hall with 'Smokey Blues'. They have the Aswad sound to them. A nice surprise comes on the LP with 'Feelings' sung by Tony Gad.
Aswad - Too Wicked - Mango - 1990
Following the success of 'Distant Thunder' should have been reasonably easy for a band of Aswad's capabilities. To record in Jamaica at Music Works was and still is a great idea. To borrow Gussie Clarke's production style is a fundemental mistake. 'Too Wicked' is a great album, but it sounds too much like a Gussie Clarke album rather than an Aswad album which is what it should be. Afterall they are a band, not a vocal group. The Hopeton Lindo song, the soapy 'Old Fire Stick' is the best track on the album.