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Posts from the ‘UB40’ Category


UB40 – UB40 Live (1982) – Lp

UB40 are an English reggae and pop band, formed in December 1978 in Birmingham.  The ethnic make-up of the band’s original line-up was diverse, with musicians of English, Irish, Jamaican, Scottish and Yemeni parentage.













Artist:  UB40
Title:  UB40 Live
Year:  1982
Format:  LP
Label:  DEP International
Catalog#  205292-320

The set catches them live in 1982 with material from the no-nonsense first three albums. It’s bursting with excellent, hook-laden tunes, recorded superbly. The band is on top form, playing chilled yet thrilling rhythms as if their lives depended on it.
UB40‘s “Live” is an excellent way to show how to record an impressive live performance record. It’s not just about the hectic joy of the audience and/or unexpectations during a random live performance, it’s the (brass) instruments and especially that sweet, sweet saxophone which gives birth to dozens of excellent melodies! This is what UB40 is all about! Just look at the front cover! Frankenstein’s monster listening to music from his earphones at a studio! I think i have never seen anything like this on the album front covers. I think i have never seen Frankenstein’s monster on a front cover! Simple colours, simple realization! Just like how old reggae releases were done.

“Live” has two live shows which each of them is seperated in their own side. Side A works well, it includes many great songs such as “Sardonicus”, “Don’t Slow Down” and “Tyler”, but i think the best songs are in side B. Side A also took me more time to memorize the songs. I really love it how “One In Ten” starts and gets even wilder during the end till the lead guitar starts changing from reggae to rock. I also love it how UB40 utilizes other music styles during the show. “Present Arms” is an amazing starter which adds a massive amount of brass elements and “Burden of Shame” sounds like somebody recorded someone’s snoring. The politic message in this song is very present: “As a nation we’re following blindly, no-one stops to question why, our money’s supporting an army, and a boy in Soweto dies. I’m a British subject, not proud of it, when i carry the burden of shame”. It really makes you think. These three songs must be the best songs from this live album.


Side one
1.  Food For Thought  (4:40)
2.  Sardonicus  (4:57)
3.  Don’t Slow Down  (3:20)
4.  Folitician  (5:45)
5.  Tyler  (6:18)

Side two
1.  Present Arms  (4:52)
2.  The Piper Calls The Tune  (4:00)
3.  Love Is All Is Alright  (5:10)
4.  Burden Of Shame  (6:20)
5.  One In Ten  (4:38)


UB40 – UB44 (1982) – Lp

UB40 are a British reggae and pop band formed in December 1978 in Birmingham, England.  The ethnic make-up of the band’s original line-up was diverse, with musicians of English, Irish, Jamaican, Scottish and Yemeni parentage.













Artist: UB40
Title:   UB44
Year:  1982
Format:  LP
Label:  DEP International
Catalog#  205039

UB44 is the third album by UB40, released on the DEP International label in 1982. The album reached No. 4 in the UK album chart and the early release of the packaging had a hologram cover. UB44 was the Department of Employment form letter sent to British unemployment benefit claimants when they missed their ‘signing on’ appointment.

This album was effectively the last one in their early musical style, again mixing heavy, doom-laden reggae soundscapes with politically and socially conscious lyrics. In particular, “I Won’t Close My Eyes” and “Love is All Right” use reverb, echoes, and stereo positioning for a shimmering, three dimensional feel indicated by the 3D cover. Droning rhythms- the 4th dimension of time- induce a trance, evoking reggae’s substance behind the muse. “Love is All Right” is a slow number with close sounding, harmonised vocals. Sax and trumpet echo in a huge hall, sounding like some Caribbean band of long ago. A funky, effected, simple guitar twang adds to the old and new feel. The lyrics challenge the listener that “a little more hate” may be needed in polarised racial and class conflicts.


Side one
1.  So Here I Am   (3:54)
2.  I Won’t Close My Eyes [Remix]   (3:46)
3.  Forget the Cost   (4:22)
4.  Love Is All Is Alright [Remix]   (4:57)
5.  The Piper Calls the Tune   (3:50)

Side two
1.  The Key   (5:05)
2.  Don’t Do the Crime   (4:12)
3.  Folitician [Remix]   (4:10)
4.  The Prisoner   (5:57)


UB40 – Present Arms (1981) – Lp

UB40 are a British reggae and pop band formed in December 1978 in Birmingham, England.  The ethnic make-up of the band’s original line-up was diverse, with musicians of English, Irish, Jamaican, Scottish and Yemeni parentage.

ub40 - presents arms












Artist:  UB40
Title:  Present Arms
Year:  1981
Format:  LP
Label:  Epic Records
Catalog#  EPC 85126

The band members began as friends who knew each other from various schools across Birmingham. The name “UB40” was selected in reference to the signing-on document issued to people claiming unemployment benefit from the UK government’s Department of Employment at the time of the band’s formation. The designation UB40 stood for Unemployment Benefit, Form 40. The UB40 no longer exists, although the term is still well understood to refer to unemployment claims in the UK. Following a serious assault on Ali Campbell, he received a hefty compensation package which he put towards funding musical instruments for the fledgling band members

Present Arms is the second album by UB40 and was released in 1981. It spent 38 weeks on the UK album charts, reaching number 2. An album of original songs, it spawned two top 20 hits in ‘One in Ten’ and ‘Don’t Let It Pass You By/Don’t Slow Down’.

Like their first album Signing Off, Present Arms contained many socially and politically charged lyrics, from the anti-militant title track to ‘Sardonicus’ which was linked to both President Ronald Reagan and Risus sardonicus, an ironic smile on tetanus victims’ faces, The UK top-ten hit “One in Ten” was an attack on Thatcherism. The album also touches on a subject very dear to UB40’s heart: ‘Lamb’s Bread’ and ‘Don’t Walk On The Grass’ are written as part of the band’s longstanding campaign for the legalisation of cannabis. Musically, the album continued in the heavy, reverb-drenched, mellifluous style of the debut.


Side one
1.  Present Arms    (4:08)
2.  Sardonicus    (4:29)
3.  Don’t Let It Pass You By    (7:45)
4.  Wildcat    (3:04)

Side two
1.  One in Ten    (4:32)
2.  Don’t Slow Down    (4:28)
3.  Silent Witness    (4:15)
4.  Lamb’s Bread    (4:48)

With the original 1981 release was a 12″ single (7″ single in some countries) containing two instrumental tracks.

1.  Don’t Walk on the Grass  (5:07)
2.  Dr X  (5:20)

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