Sunday, December 11, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: UB40 - UNPLUGGED
It's two, two, two albums in one. You get the brand-new Unplugged version of the group's favourites, and then as a bonus, there's a generous, 20-track best of the originals, for you to compare them all. It's worth buying just as a greatest hits.
The unplugged versions are certainly stripped back. It's pretty much keyboards, acoustic guitars, bass, light percussion and hand-claps. That's particularly striking on the group's cover of Many Rivers To Cross, with the desired campfire feel in full effect. Lead singer Ali Campbell still has the exact same voice we've known since the 80's, so these versions sound strong and confident. Included for the first time on a UB40 album is a reggae version of Prince's Purple Rain, which Ali Campbell originally sang on a collection by Radio Riddler from 2014, called Purple Reggae, and it works really well with that beat. Chrissie Hynde's famous part on I Got You Babe is handled by Ali's daughter, Kay Campbell, and she's almost a dead ringer for the Pretenders star. With the ease and warmth of these versions, I'm having a hard time choosing between the originals and this set.