Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Three former UB40 members team up for album

Silhouette, the new album from Ali Campbell, the voice of UB40 with Astro & Mickey, is due out Oct. 14.

Recorded in London’s renowned RAK Studios, it is a mix of new songs and reggaefied covers by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Chi-Lites and others.

The title track was originally a 1957 hit for American doo-wop group The Rays, though this new, yearning take, owes more to an early 1970s version by reggae's late Dennis Brown.

As founding members of UB40, Ali (pictured), Mickey and Astro helped to define reggae music for a generation. The Birmingham reggae troupe topped the UK singles chart on three occasions and sold 70 million records.

Campbell left the band in 2008 after 29 years and has since released four reggae-themed solo collections, with Mickey, who left UB40 soon after Ali, joining him on keys. Astro remained with the band until November 2013, when he left to team up again with Ali and Mickey.

“He’s a genius in the way he can work a set of lyrics around a great melody,” says Mickey about
Ali. "His voice remains as strong as ever - rich, melodic and instantly recognizable.  Any song he sings could easily be a UB40 tune.”

With Astro lending vocal support and Mickey’s keyboards to the fore in a new band that includes a three-piece horn section, their sound should delight fans old and new. Having reiterated their credentials as consummate live performers with gigs this year in Nigeria, South Africa and Papua New Guinea and elsewhere, the trio have a quartet of UK festivals dates this summer and will embark on a headline tour in December. In April next year, they will play Brixton Academy followed by a huge homecoming show at Birmingham NIA.

“When we play live now, it feels like a real group,” says Ali. “The musicians in our band have all played with other reggae acts, so they love what we’re doing. And the fact that Astro is back with us after six years speaks volumes about the music we are making.”

Track listing:

Any Time At All
Cyber Bully Boys
Reggae Music
I'm Missing You
Who Will Remember Them
Fijian Sunset
Sha la la
Tomorrow On My Shoulder
Our Love
I Want You
Yes I'm Ready

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