Friday, 24 May 2019

UB40 - CCCP Live In Moscow (1987)


Recorded live in Moscow in 1986

Running Time 58:22

This was UB40's second live album and, while it doesn't have the fantastic sound that "UB40 Live" from 1982 had, it provides an interesting document of their live show from 1986, recorded, surprisingly, behind the iron curtain in Moscow. The material is mainly derived from their latest "Rat In The Kitchen" album - six songs plus four from "Labour Of Love". The sound is a bit low and unremastered, so you need to turn it up a bit and it is a bit muffled compared to the clarity of "UB40 Live". There is a vibrancy to it though as the band romp through track after track that all seem to follow straight into each other. It is interesting to hear the Russian announcer translate the names of some of the songs as Ali Campbell introduces them. Apparently after Robin Campbell told the crowd that "Watchdog" was about governmental surveillance, the translator repeated the words as being about censorship in capitalist countries...


1. All I Want To Do
2. Cherry Oh Baby
3. Keep On Moving
4. Watchdogs
5. Don't Blame Me
6. Tell It Like It Is
7. Please Don't Make Me Cry
8. Johnny Too Bad
9. I Got You Babe
10. Don't Break My Heart
11. If It Happens Again
12. Rat In Mi Kitchen
13. Sing Our Own Song                    

It is good to hear the "Rat In The Kitchen" tracks played with such enthusiasm, particularly "Watchdogs", "Don't Blame Me" and the infectious "Tell It Like It Is". There is an energetic and addictive feel to this album. The band seem to be really enjoying themselves (despite the associated tensions of Russian heavy-handed crowd control and the annoying translator's interjections) and it comes across in the performance. "Please Don't Make Me Cry" has a big, warm bass line and a great atmosphere to it. It was always a favourite of mine. You can never get too much of "Johnny Too Bad" either. Fair play to UB40 for agreeing to play in the old Soviet Union, although in retrospect they probably wouldn't have done it.

It is  good to have set list without the "usual suspects" from the first few albums, they can be enjoyed on "UB40 Live", this offers us some different material and it is all the more enjoyable for it.


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