Saturday, May 3, 2014


Oh, the curse of Red Red Wine. No, not drinking it, it's apparently good for you in moderation. I mean the cover version UB40 did, giving them their biggest hit, way back in the 80's. The trouble was how much it overshadowed their own writing, and still does to this day. Every time they have come close to being forgotten, they have gone back to the covers well, releasing another Labour Of Love collection, trying to find that level of popularity again.

Too bad, because this collection, which takes us into the mid-2000's shows, they can write good reggae, and remain a solid bunch. It's the covers that lapse into schmaltz. Elvis? A minor hit with (I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You, ska-lite. How about a reggae-fied version of the spiritual Swing Low (Sweet Chariot)? Pointless and bland. In the meantime, their own numbers languish. Listening through the double set, it becomes clear they work well on their own merit. The best tracks are predictably the earliest: Food For Thought, If It Happens Again, Rat In Mi Kitchen, Riddle Me. The good news is their latest album was pretty darn good, so there's more than hope, and maybe no more covers collections.

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