Monday, 4 June 2018

UB40 - Geffery Morgan (1984)

If it happens again....


Released on 16 October 1984

Running Time 39:00


1. Riddle Me
2. As Always You Were Wrong Again
3. If It Happens Again
4. D.U.B.
5. The Pillow
6. Nkomo A Go-Go
7. Seasons
8. You're Not An Army
9. I'm Not Fooled So Easily
10. Your Eyes Were Open              

UB40s first three albums of self-penned material (as opposed to “Labour Of Love” covers) were notable for their laid-back reggae rhythms merged with Brian Travers’ trademark saxophone. It was only these three albums that saw this more pure and authentic reggae sound. Yes, subsequent work was always underpinned by a reggae rhythm, but it was increasingly generated by synthesisers as opposed to skanking guitars and drum machines instead of traditional drums. Synthesiser swoops abound. The final track, “Your Eyes Were Open” perfectly exemplifies this. It is almost jazz funk reggae.

This was the first album to utilise the new sound. It is also far more horn-driven (trumpet, trombone and saxophone together), as opposed to just saxophone. The results are a far more “manufactured” type of sound. This is immediately apparent on the first two tracks “Riddle Me” and “As Always You Were Wrong Again”. The hit single “If It Happens Again” is made more notable by its killer hook of a chorus and “D.U.B” featuring Astro’s “toasting” is more rootsy and sounds it, more authentic, as does the instrumental “Nkomo A Go-Go”, to a certain extent. “The Pillow” returns to the previously mentioned sound. Drum machine to the fore. The nice saxophone bits are much lower in the mix than they had been in 1980.

“Seasons” has a staccato, dubby feel to it, but is still dominated by synthesisers. I would have preferred a more stripped back, roots style, but I guess it was 1984, and everything was synthesised, even The Rolling Stones. “You’re Not An Army” dabbles in reggae/rap and has a great rumbling bass line. The politicised lyrics are still there, so they haven’t strayed far there. The synth/reggae continues on the soulful tones of “I’m Not Fooled So Easily”. It is all quite listenable, but I am just imagining how good these songs might have sounded if they had been given the “Signing Off” treatment.UB40s sound would stay in this style for many years. Don’t get me wrong, its ok, and Ali Campbell’s voice remained unique, but I much preferred the sound of the first three albums.

Great front and rear cover too. Some grafitti from the time on a wall that said “Geffery (sic) Morgan loves white girls”. Good old Geffery.


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