Review Summary: UK Reggae legends put out their first effort, probably one of their best!
When Reggae went international in the 1980s a few band bands in the UK emerged and remained icons of the genre until today. To name a few : Steel Pulse, UB40 and of course Aswad. The latter was recognized in the 1980s with their album A New Chapter
(1981) although their most interesting work is for me their first album Self Titled
(1976). Coming from London, the band was formed of descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean. Their work was distinctively different from Jamaican acts especially since they talked about issues that UK youth would run into.
The album starts off on a powerful Reggae jam of electric guitar solos backed by a perfectly executed drum line and later by an intense off-beat rhythm guitar. The lyrics on this song are those of a rebel hence the name of the song "I A Rebel Soul", which is also the highlight of this LP. The rest of the album would never reach that level of implication from the band but will still be an outstanding record of reggae jams. Apart from "Ethiopian Rhapsody" and "Red Up", the rest of the album is a collection of fined played reggae with awesome solos for lead guitars and harmonica. It is very clear that the band has a huge Dub influence (as most of Reggae acts does) and this is shown in songs like "Ethiopian Rhapsody" which is a Dub song filled with Harmonica and Acoustic Guitar solos. "Red Up" on the other hand is a straight up Reggae instrumental that contains some very interesting riffs.
The Band released a total of twenty-one albums, the latest one being City Lock - Bubblin
in 2009. This a must hear for any Reggae fans out there as it is one of the best UK Reggae record released. In fact this band has some very interesting LPs, one would be the next record Hulet which is filled with experimentation of Jazz-Reggae and Soul-Reggae.