Monday, 4 June 2018

Ali Campbell's UB40 - A Real Labour Of Love (2018)

How could I leave....


Released on 2 March 2018

Running Time 72:39

It is so sad that UB40, after all those years recording and touring together and producing so many great albums, have ended up splintered, as two separate groups, five of them in one group, three in the other - this one. As a fan, I have stuck with both of them. To be honest though, Ali Campbell is the real voice of the band, despite brother Duncan doing a more than acceptable job in the "other UB40". I have seen that version of the band, with saxophonist Brian Travers and Robin Campbell in it, live a couple of times and they're excellent.

Anyway, back to this album. Despite the criticism from many other reviewers, I find it a perfectly enjoyable listen. Nothing spectacular and certainly not covering the copper-bottomed reggae classics that the first three Labour Of Love's did. Volume Four not quite so much. Apparently these were not the 70s reggae songs they grew up listening to as covered on those albums, but stuff they listened to on the road while touring.

Stevie Wonder’s A Place In The Sun is obviously not a reggae original, and there are a couple of songs from the late 70s in Dennis Brown’s sublime How Could I Leave and Culture’s International Herb. The early 70s stuff that so dominated certainly the first two Labour Of Love's has gone, though. However, most of the tracks on A Real Labour Of Love are from the 80s, a decade that saw dancehall reggae enter the mainstream. Gregory Isaacs' Hush Darling and Once Ago are welcome inclusions. Hard Times is a favourite of mine and Moving Away has a nice dub-style backing. I also love In The Rain, which has a great laid back feel to it.

Ali's voice sounds a little older, maybe, but I don't accept any of the criticisms of the musicianship on this album.


1. Making Love

2. She Loves Me Now
3. Strive
4. Here I Come
5. Telephone Love/Rumours
6. How Could I Leave
7. Ebony Eyes
8. Hush Darling
9. Hard Times
10. Moving Away
11. International Herb
12. A Place In The Sun
13. Tune In
14. Once Ago
15. In The Rain
16. Under Mi Sleng Teng