DAVID ASHER BAND
* * *2021 - Temple Gong Recordings TEM- studio - discs:1
The troubled year 2021 is closing in a few days and finally I'm here to drop some lines about an American Reggae band that, frankly, I was not aware about: David Asher Band. I was approached very kindly by Mr. Asher himself via email last January, so long ago. He informed me about this set asking if I would add it to Yardie-Reggae's collection with my comments. He sent me the CD, so finally here we are, and I do really apologise for being so late. Here are a few informations that I gathered online. DAB is the new Roots Reggae band formed by David Asher, the former frontman/songwriter for the legendary Detroit Reggae Rock group "The Process", founded thirty years ago in 1991. The David Asher Band is the culmination of years honing the sounds and soul of island music that has been embraced by music fans across the globe for decades. David is a twelve time ASCAP award winner (popular division) who has won numerous Detroit Music Awards. His band mate are all seasoned players (Derrick L. Davis is a long time Reggae musician of the Atlanta Reggae scene). David Asher in his own words: “We planned on doing a cover album and I hadn’t written much in quite some time, but then I got bit by the writing bug and we decided to mesh the originals with the covers. As Jah intended, the project happened the way it was supposed to happen and, all of a sudden, inspiration fell into my lap". So let's see and hear what we have here. The album opens with "Keep On Moving", a cover - in Jamaican lingo it's called version actually! - of Bob Marley's hit that was based on The Impressions (the vocal group where Curtis Mayfield started his career) hit from 1964. A very interesting start. Follows the smooth and sweet "Give A Hand", a track from the great "Cool Ruler" Gregory Isaacs, here rendered with great smoothness and gentleness. Musically speaking, the third track called "47 Shots (The Ballad Of Milton Hall)" offers an unxpected shift. This is a great track about the shooting of Milton Hall, who was a mentally ill black man that was shot 47 times after being unable to pay for a cup of coffee. Not being Reggae at all I must avoid any comments because of the purpose of this web site. Follows a version of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door". A nice Reggae rendition of a Classic. For sure I missed something but for me this is the first time that I hear Dylan through Reggae. Reggae vibes continue with "Keep A Little Faith", with a heartfelt message of hope. The six track is called "Deputy Dawg And The Marshall", but again it's really on the outer edges of Reggae, so it feels a bit too far from Yardie's field. Follows "There's A Fire", a powerful groovy funkysh track that unfortunately is out of our interest here. the eighth track is called "Donkey Jawbone". Fortunately we are back to Reggae, with what I understood is a originally song recorded by The Process back in 1992 on their "Baldhead Vex" album. This is indeed the best song of the album. Deep, sulphurous, sung with emotion, full of vibes, perfectly played; musically speaking it is what I was expecting from the beginning. Reminds me of the best late tracks from Burning Spear or Israel Vibrations. A beautiful track. Well done! The album closes with some Lovers Rock style track called "Love Ballad". These two last track plus the two CD bonus were mixed by the great Adrian Sherwood. The bonus are "Donkey Dub" and "Love Ballad Instrumental". No need to introduce Sherwood, of course His mixes are great. Just reminding that he was called by The Genius of Jamaican Music, Lee "Scratch" Perry to work with him, says it all. DAB David Asher Band are: David Asher (vocals, guitar, piano, clavicord, bass, synth and alto sax), David Ivory (guitar, clave), William Petzold (bass, organ, guitars, backing vocals) and Derrick Davis (drums). The album was recorded at Fire Hyena Studios (Saginaw, MI, USA). and engineered by Christopher Lewis. Tracks 1 - 7 mixed by Christopher Lewis. Tracks 8 - 11 mixed by Adrian Sherwood at On.U Sound Studios, Ramsgate, United Kingdom. So that's the album. I am so puzzled, really I am. I must say that this is an extremely professional production with great work done at the recording and mixing board. The proficiency of the musicians involved is out of questions. They play in a wonderful way. They are great musicians, same thing with the beautiful background female voices as with "Love Ballad". There Miss Mikki Sounds, on vocals, is gorgeous. So great "nuff nuff respact", as we a say inna Jamaica. But...
The gentlemen here clearly prove that they are able to deliver some good Reggae music, here and there. In my modest opinion the set lacks some continuity of "vibes". Reggae and some Roots Rock, well they can deliver that! Again, "Donkey Jawbone" proves indeed that DAB is able to offer great Reggae. Such a track! They should stick on that and follow from there.
01. Keep On Moving
02. Give A Hand
03. 47 Shots (The Ballad Of Milton Hall)
04. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
05. Keep A Little Faith
06. Deputy Dawg And The Marshall
07. There's A Fire
08. Donkey Jawbone (On.U Sound Mix)
09. Love Ballad (On.U Sound Mix)
10. Donkey Dub (On.U Sound Mix) - Bonus CD only Track
11. Love Ballad Instrumental (On.U Sound Mix) - Bonus CD only Track