At the beginning of 2008, Ali Campbell decided to leave the band in order to pursue a solo career. With a minimum of fuss, he was replaced by another Campbell brother, Duncan, who has a voice that’s virtually indistinguishable from Ali’s. Duncan had been invited to join the band at their inception, but declined. However, some thirty years later alongside the other UB40 vocalists he has made his presence count on the latest album “TwentyFourSeven,” which received widespread acclaim on its release during the summer of 2008. Following on from “Who You Fighting For,” “TwentyFourSeven” was again recorded “live” in the studio, and thus showcases UB40 at their best. Not for the first time, the choice of material was dominated by the kind of searching, political messages they’d long been famous for. Songs like “Rainbow Nation,” “End Of War,” “Oh America” and “Securing The Peace” rank alongside their best-ever reality tracks, except with guest singer Maxi Priest taking over lead vocals on “Dance Until The Morning Light” and a cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff,” the mood is celebrationary as well. Freed of the need for hit singles (if not hit albums), UB40 sound rejuvenated, as if they’ve rediscovered the creative spark that inspired them in the first place. The results make essential listening, reaffirming their reputation as the world’s most successful reggae band as they continue to reach out to audiences that are impossible to categorise by race, age or nationality. This year UB40 have had yet another busy tour schedule including such places as, USA, Italy, Germany, Spain and Slovakia to name a few. In between this extensive touring schedule they have also been having a great time recording “Labour of Love IV,” which they have now completed and it is due for release in February 2010. Along side this they have also made time to do a benefit gig at the Rainbow pub in Digbeth, Birmingham. The gig that took place on the 3rd of November was to help the Rainbow raise money to sound proof their roof as they had a noise abatement order slapped on them by Birmingham Council. Needless to say this was a resounding success and not only raised a lot of money for an extremely good cause, it gave around 500 fans an opportunity to see the band up close and personal for the first time in many years. UB40 are now currently in rehearsals for the much anticipated UK tour which begins in Killarney on the 19th of November.
- John Michael Ferrari
- Abby Gough