Friday, 21 June 2019

UB40 - Unplugged/Greatest Hits (2016)

   

Released on 18 November 2016

This album is a double mix of firstly, “unplugged” versions of UB40 classics performed by singer Ali Campbell’s breakaway triumvirate of toaster Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue. (Virtue has subsequently left) and a second CD of the original group’s greatest hits. Funnily enough, despite Campbell’s acrimonious split from some of the other original members of the group (who now carry on also claiming to be UB40) he seemingly has no qualms about pairing these new unplugged versions with the work of the original group.


Anyway, enough of all that nonsense. On to the music. We all know the greatest hits, so it is the “unplugged” material that is of interest. It is certainly not all unplugged i.e. stripped back and acoustic. Many of the tracks have a beat to them and a reasonably full instrumentation. While it is always a bit strange listening to new versions of songs you have become so familiar with over the years, there is, for me, always an interest in seeing what they have made of them. There are certainly some intriguing interpretations on offer here. A quirky, Eastern-sounding “One In Ten”, an acoustic “Food For Thought” and a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” for starters. “Tyler” gets a good makeover too and “Baby Come Back” features some classic Booker T-style organ.

Most of the tracks are tinkered with quite a bit, enough to justify their new existences. A bit of new percussion here and there, a new bass line, some new backing vocals, a riff played on acoustic guitar instead of saxophone, a more rhythmic drum backing. We get all of that and the new versions are worth listening to for that. The sound quality is good - full and bassy and it is nice to hear Ali’s unique, iconic voice again. For many, he is UB40. It is such a shame what has happened.

The new track “That’s Supposed To Hurt” is a good one, and quite appropriate really.

TRACK LISTING

UNPLUGGED

1. Kingston Town
2. Red Red Wine
3. Many Rivers To Cross
4. Baby Come Back
5. Can’t Help Falling In Love With You
6. Purple Rain
7. I Got You Babe
8. One In Ten
9. Homely Girl
10. Please Don’t Make Me Cry
11. Food For Thought
12. Cherry Oh Baby
13. Rat In Mi Kitchen
14. Tyler
15. You Could Meet Somebody
16. That’s Supposed To Hurt                                

GREATEST HITS

1. Red Red Wine
2. I Got You Babe
3. Can’t Help Falling In Love With You
4. Kingston Town
5. Food For Thought
6. Cherry Oh Baby
7. Don’t Break My Heart
8. Homely Girl
9. The Way You Do The Things You Do
10. Please Don’t Make Me Cry
11. Many Rivers To Cross
12. Higher Ground
13. One In Ten
14. Rat In Mi Kitchen
15. Breakfast In Bed
16. Here I Am (Come And Take Me)
17. King
18. If It Happens Again
19. Bring Me Your Cup
20. Sing Our Own Song

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