UB40 - Signing Off (1980)

«So ubiquitous is UB40's grip on the pop-reggae market today, that it will be difficult for younger fans to comprehend just how their arrival shook up the British musical scene. They appeared just as Two Tone had peaked and was beginning its slide towards oblivion. Not that it mattered, few but the foolish would try to shoehorn the band into that suit. However, the group were no more comfortable within the UK reggae axis of Steel Pulse, Aswad and Matumbi, and not merely because you can't have four bands in an axis. Their rhythms may have been reggae based, their music Jamaican inspired, but UB40 had such an original take on the genre that all comparisons were moot. […] Both sides of their debut single – the roots rocking indictment of politicians refusal to relieve famine on "Food for Thought" and the dreamy tribute to Martin Luther "King" were included, as well as their phenomenal cover of Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" off their second single. The new material was equally strong. The moody roots fired "Tyler," which kicks off the set, is a potent condemnation of the US judicial system, while it's stellar dub "25%" appears later in the set. The smoky Far Eastern flavored "Burden" explores the dual tugs of national pride and shame over Britain's oppressive past (and present). If that was a thoughtful number, "Little by Little" was a blatant call for class warfare. Of course, Ali Campbell never raised his voice, he didn't need to, his words were his sword, and the creamier and sweeter his delivery, the deeper they cut. Today, the group have moved far from their radical past, but there's no mistaking their militancy here. The music was just as revolutionary, their sound unlike anything else on either island. From deep dubs shot through with jazzy sax, to the bright and breezy instrumental "12 Bar" with its splendid loose groove, that is transmuted later in the set to the jazzier and smokier "Adella," "Food" slams into the dance clubs, "King" floats to the heavens. It's hard to believe this is the same UB40 that topped the UK charts with the likes of "Red Red Wine" and "I've Got You Babe"." Their fire was dampened quickly, but on Signing Off it blazed high. Still accessible to the pop market, but so edgy, that even those that are sure there's nothing about the group to admire will change their tune instantly. A timeless masterpiece.» (AMG)

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Radu said...


Anonymous said...

Superb album, of course no relation to "red red wine" and tra la la songs...
I bought the vinyl 20+ years ago and is still one of the most political lp's i have
Good work Radu for introduce this masterpiece to they who dont know it!!

Anonymous said...

Hybridation isn't a word, did you mean hybridisation? Also, Babel and Babylon are not the same. Babel was a tower, Babylon a city.
I have an original of this record from 1980, perfect condition.

Anonymous said...

Hello radu,

superp music, makes many happy!!

UB 40 signing off is a great record but inactive, please get it rollin again if you find a few spare moments,

best regards and thanks!

Radu said...

Hi, Peter,

the file is still available from one of the hosts, so please try again.


Anonymous said...

i had this record back then but found it totally boring, or rather, completely missed what the point about it might have been.

still missing the point, because it's copyrighted....