Aswad (band)

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Aswad
Aswad.jpg
Aswad, 2007
Background information
OriginLondon, England
GenresReggae
Years active1975–present
LabelsIsland, Grove Music,
CBS (UK), Simba, Mesa,
Ark 21, PROTV
MembersAngus Gaye
Tony Robinson
Past membersBrinsley Forde
Donald Griffiths
George Oban
Courtney Hemmings
 
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Aswad
Aswad.jpg
Aswad, 2007
Background information
OriginLondon, England
GenresReggae
Years active1975–present
LabelsIsland, Grove Music,
CBS (UK), Simba, Mesa,
Ark 21, PROTV
MembersAngus Gaye
Tony Robinson
Past membersBrinsley Forde
Donald Griffiths
George Oban
Courtney Hemmings

Aswad ("Black" in Arabic) are a long-lasting British reggae group, noted for adding strong R&B and soul influences to the reggae sound.[1] They have been performing since the mid-1970s, having released a total of twenty-one albums.

History[edit]

The members of Aswad are UK descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean. They attended John Kelly/Holland Park School.

The original members of Aswad were Brinsley Forde, Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye, Donald Griffiths, George Oban, and Courtney Hemmings.[2] Aswad were the backing band of Burning Spear's 1977 Live album, recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London. Other contributors included Vin Gordon, and Karl Pitterson.[3]

They became one of the UK's top reggae bands in the 1980s, following the departures of Hemmings (in 1976), Oban and Griffiths (both in 1980), and the arrival of Tony "Gad" Robinson (as a replacement for Oban).[2] They were distinctly different from Jamaican reggae acts, in that they wrote songs that dealt with the issues surrounding the experiences of black youths growing-up in the UK;[2] such as "Three Babylon" and "It's Not Our Wish", and the powerful jazz-influenced instrumental "Warrior Charge".

Aswad gained a wider audience with the New Chapter album (1981). "Love Fire" gained wide recognition when it was used as the backing rhythm for Dennis Brown's "Promised Land".

Among Aswad's catalogue of hits is "Don't Turn Around", a UK No. 1 hit in 1988, originally recorded by Tina Turner as a B-side to her "Typical Male" single. They followed this up with UK No. 11 hit "Give A Little Love", and a reggae flavoured rendition of "Best of My Love", first popularized and written by The Eagles. In 1989, they contributed the single, "Set Them Free" to the Greenpeace Rainbow Warriors album. In the same year they performed together with Sir Cliff Richard the song "Share A Dream" recorded the previous year, at Wembley Stadium as part of The Event (16 and 17 June 1989). Their next hit, "Shine", was released in 1994. Another track was the upbeat 1998 remake of The Police's "Invisible Sun", performed with Sting.

The band also hold the distinction of having played with each one of the ex-Wailers.

The band has toured extensively, playing in diverse locations from London's Royal Albert Hall and Montego Bay's Reggae Sunsplash, to gigs in West Africa, Israel and Japan.[4]

Brinsley Forde left Aswad in 1996 for spiritual reasons.[5]

Aswad released their most recent material in 2009, with the album City Lock. They released singles "What Is Love?" and "Do That Thing" in the same year.[6]

Members[edit]

Current members
Former members
  • Brinsley "Dan" Forde - vocals, rhythm guitars (1975-1996)
  • Donald Griffiths - lead guitars (1975-1980)
  • George Oban - bass (1975-1980)
  • Courtney Hemmings - keyboards (1975-1976)
Additional musicians
  • Stanley Andrew - lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, vocals
  • Clifton "Bigga" Morrison - vocals, keyboards, melodica
  • Martin "Tatta" Augustine - lead guitars
  • John Kaipye - guitars
  • Jimmy "Senyah" Haynes - lead guitars, acoustic guitars
  • Michael "Bammie" Rose - saxophone
  • Vin "Trommie" Gordon - trombone
  • Eddie "Tan Tan" Thornton - trumpet
  • Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie - keyboards
  • Jimmy "J-Slice" Neath - trumpet
  • Paul Garred - guitars
  • Michael Martin - keyboards
  • Patrick Tenyue - trumpet
  • Henry 'Buttons' Tenyue - trombone
  • Brian Edwards - saxophone
  • Trevor Edwards - trombone
  • Perry "Lion" Melius - drums
  • Kenrick Rowe - drums
  • Paul Slowley - drums

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Aswad, playing live at Magic Summer Live July 2013.

Singles[edit]

YearSinglePeak chart positionsAlbum
UK
[9]
BEL
[10]
GER
[11]
IRE
[12]
NED
[13]
NZ
[14]
1984"Chasing For The Breeze"51Rebel Souls
"54-46 (Was My Number)"70
1988"Don't Turn Around"1629451Distant Thunder
"Give A Little Love"1158166925
"Set Them Free"70
1989"Beauty's Only Skin Deep"3157Crucial Tracks (Best Of Aswad)
"On And On"25
1990"Next To You"24461831Too Wicked
"Smile"53
1991Best Of My Love Too Wicked EP6149
1993"How Long" (with Yazz)3152One On One - (Yazz Album)
"Dancehall Mood"48Rise And Shine Again!
1994"Shine"5173971728
"Warriors"33
"We Are One People"96
1995"You're No Good"3588
"If I Was"58Big Up
1998"Invisible Sun" (with Sting)97Roots Revival
2002"Shy Guy"62Cool Summer Reggae

Production work[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Snowden, Don (1985-07-14). "Reggae--brit Style". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Moskowitz, David V. (2006) Caribbean Popular Music: an Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall, Greenwood Press, p. 16. ISBN 0-313-33158-8
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998), The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9
  4. ^ Aswadband.com
  5. ^ Davina Morris, "Aswad reunites for Island's 50th anniversary", The Gleaner, 17 May 2009.
  6. ^ Aswadband.com/index
  7. ^ Roots Rocking Discogs
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 32. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  9. ^ "Aswad UK Singles". chartstats.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  10. ^ "Aswad Belgian Singles". Ultratop.be. ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  11. ^ "Aswad German Singles". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  12. ^ "Aswad Irish Singles". IRMA 2006 - 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  13. ^ "Aswad Ducth Singles". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  14. ^ "Aswad New Zealand Singles". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 

External links[edit]