Jamaican roots reggae band The Abyssinians capture the heart, soul and spirit of the genre better than any other. The vocal trio’s heavenly close harmonies, dark melodies, and Rastafarian themes, all delivered with a deep spiritual feeling, were instrumental in defining and refining the genre.
They released four hit singles in 1971 after their breakout success with Satta Massa Gana: “Declaration of Rights”, “Jerusalem” and “Let My Days Be Long” completed the quartet. Over the next few years, the trio continued releasing excellent singles, both on Clinch, as well as for other producers.
Following 1972’s “Leggo Beast,” a simmering blend of deep roots and soul, and the deeply religious “Yim Mas Gan,” excellently produced by Lloyd “Matador” Daly, the trio finally cut its debut album, Forward Onto Zion. Produced by Clive “Azul” Hunt in 1976 it included hits, re-recordings of older classics, and new material. The record remains a roots masterpiece and brought the group international acclaim.
The original line-up reunited in 1998 and has since recorded the singles “African Princess” and “Swing Low” and the album Reunion.