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Download A Real Labour Of Love

by Astro, UB40, Ali, Mickey
  • Release type: Album
  • Year: 2018
  • Tracks: 16
  • Duration: 72:32
  • Size, Mb: 167.8
  • Bitrate: MP3 320
  • Genre: Pop/Rock, Reggae, International

Review

Only fans who follow UB40 closely will be aware that, as of 2013, there have been two different bands performing under the name UB40. The UB40 who perform with no caveats attached to their appellation are fronted by Duncan Campbell, the brother of Ali Campbell, who led the band through its peaks in the '80s and '90s. Ali acrimoniously left the group in 2008, soon followed by fellow vocalist Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue, leaving the remaining UB40 to be something of an upscale Reggae Sunsplash act, churning out reggae-fied covers of old pop and rock standards. All three former members reunited in 2014 for an album called Silhouette -- confusingly billed to Ali Campbell the Legendary Voice of UB40 Reunited with Astro & Mickey -- which helped establish these refugees as a distinct entity from the UB40 that kept performing under the household name, but the 2018 album A Real Labour of Love is where the trio make a stab for the crown they vacated. The three now call themselves UB40 featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey -- all the better to draw in unsuspecting punters -- and the project and its title are a swipe at the former colleagues who have drifted toward easy listening island sounds. The content of A Real Labour of Love is a call to arms, too. Where the first three Labour of Loves were records drawing upon a rich reggae legacy, A Real Labour of Love by and large concentrates on reggae songs originally released in the 1980s -- meaning, songs that were written and recorded when the group was an active concern. There's a Stevie Wonder song here, but it's "A Place in the Sun," a chestnut from 1966, not a good-time oldie, and that suits the vibe of a record that is designed to establish Ali, Astro & Mickey's UB40 as a genuine reggae band. That the trio succeed in this goal is something of a quiet triumph. While the group is clearly middle-aged -- taking things a little bit softer and slower, happy to ease into a groove instead of push it -- that is also the appeal of A Real Labour of Love. Not only do Ali, Astro & Mickey have the chops of veterans, they have the taste, so they know how to populate A Real Labour of Love with songs that signal their deep knowledge and love for their chosen genre, and then execute them with smooth, stylish flair. It's laid-back enough to be associated with the UB40 that had crossover hits in the '80s, but the content and approach pay respect to their roots, not the charts, and that means A Real Labour of Love draws a real division between this UB40 and the other eager-to-please outfit performing under an identical name.

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