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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Apr-18 > KEEPING IT REAL

KEEPING IT REAL

BEFORE THEIR BITTER SEPARATION, UB40 WERE BRITAIN’S MOST CELEBRATED REGGAE OUTFIT. NOW, WITH TWO ACTS ADOPTING THE MONIKER AND A DIVIDE TOO DEEP TO RECONCILE, UB40 FEATURING ALI, ASTRO & MICKEY, TELL CLASSIC POP ALL ABOUT THE SOUR SPLIT, THEIR NEW ALBUM AND WHY REGGAE IS A REAL LABOUR OF LOVE…

Four decades after UB40 helped propel reggae into the mainstream, two incarnations of the Birmingham band now lay claim to the name. While UB40 are planning a 40th anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall in the summer, UB40 Featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey, pay further homage to the sound that originated in Jamaica with a new album called A Real Labour Of Love.

“Our 40th is not until 2020,” says Astro, the rapper, toaster, trumpeter and integral part of UB40 Featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey. “Our first release was in 1980 and the band was only getting together in 1979. That’s why I do laugh at UB40 [featuring Robin and Duncan Campbell] having their 40th birthday bash at the Royal Albert Hall this year. The whole band wasn’t there in 1978. They’ve jumped the gun because they know we’re going to be doing something for the proper 40th and we’ve also been gaining traction with this new record. I just think it’s stupid having an anniversary two years before the band even became recording artists.”

Perhaps this situation is all a little puzzling for fans of the beloved outfit who, with the exception of Bob Marley, have arguably done more to put reggae on the global map than any other group.

A Real Labour Of Love sees UB40 Featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey explore the songs that defined reggae in the 80s
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