Aswad – whose name means ‘black’ in Arabic – formed in 1975 in West London’s Ladbroke Grove and built their early reputation on four LP’s spanning 1976’s eponymous debut to 1982’s Not Satisfied plus singer Brinsley Forde’s spectacular performance in 1980s gritty reggae flick, Babylon (Forde had appeared as a child actor in the children’s TV series Here Come The Double Deckers).
But it was the Live And Direct album, their 1983 performance at the Notting Hill Carnival, that captured the then trio – Forde, Tony ‘Gad’ Robinson and Angus ‘Drummie Zeb’ Gaye – at their sunny best, delivering a greatest hits set backed by a blistering horn section featuring legendary soul trumpeter Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton.
Aswad’s commercial success (following 1988’s Don’t Turn Around) saw them take a more flexible musical approach, as demonstrated by the group supporting English pop icon Cliff Richard at his 1989 Wembley Stadium concerts.
Their first US tour came in 1991, following the release of their cover of The Eagles AOR classic, Best Of My Love.
Angus ‘Drummie Zeb’ Gaye
Tony ‘Gad’ Robinson