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UB40 - signing off

Discussion in 'music' started by Dowser, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. Dowser

    Dowser Learning to bodge again..

    Wow - picked this up at a charity shop today, I loved food for thought when it came out (& bought the single) but quickly lost interest in them with their later music.

    Signing Off is stunning! It must have been way ahead of its time, recorded really well but with a very rough edge. Can’t believe I have missed this album for the last 37 years of my life :)

    Richard
     
    darrenyeats likes this.
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    There is another thread about it somewhere, but yes, a really great album. Their only good one IMHO. I bought it when it came out and it has been in fairly regular rotation ever since.
     
    darrenyeats likes this.
  3. venton

    venton pfm Member

    Absolute classic.
     
  4. mrclick

    mrclick pfm Member

    Cracking record that. I remember seeing them play support for Steve Gibbons just before this came out. They were unknown (to me) and absolutely brilliant. So fresh.
     
    darrenyeats likes this.
  5. Dowser

    Dowser Learning to bodge again..

    Just replaced the 2M Red cartridge on my TT with a freshly cleaned Linn Asaka, simply stunning music!
     
  6. Rob998

    Rob998 Scimmia Nordoccidentale

    Utter shite. It might be the best album UB40 ever made, but really, that bar isn't set very high.

    It's cod whiteboy reggae at best, despite its over earnest political polemic.

    Not to mention that with Ali Campbell singing it's about a tin of Kiwi away from being a minstrel show.

    One of the most over rated albums of the last 40 years, or ever. I fail to understand why anyone was ever taken in by it.
     
  7. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    Don’t hold back!:D

    Music is a very individual thing. I’ve not actually heard this album and have only ever really liked odd tracks from them but I’ll give it a try.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  8. Rob998

    Rob998 Scimmia Nordoccidentale

    It's to reggae what Trump is to draining the swamp.
     
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I assume you write the whole Two-Tone ska thing off too? How about the Stones, Cream, Led Zep etc etc with their repackaged blues, which one could easily argue was a direct lift/rip rather than anything even approaching an inclusive multi-racial movement? We’ll be losing a heck of a lot of interesting music, as you’d have to include any white soul such as Bowie’s Young Americans, Station To Station etc, plus whole rafts of ambient dub etc from anyone from PIL to The Orb, tons of jazz, fusion, funk disco etc etc.

    Bottom line is Signing Off was one of the great albums of its era, one that was inclusive and forward-looking at a time of real race violence and left a political mark. A proper protest album. Just because it all went downhill later doesn’t diminish it IMO.
     
  10. venton

    venton pfm Member

    It is odd I admit. I love Signing off and Present Arms, but after that I find them cringworthy. I was into Specials, Madness, Selector, Bad Manners etc at the time, and this stood out to me as a great record amongst its peers. It's beautifully recorded got me into the genre further.
    A lot of UK ska bands had black and white members, it was a positive thing to see.
     
  11. hixy

    hixy pfm Member

    Signing off is one of my favourite albums .uB40 were fantastic then and it all fell apart, and they became a cover band.Smoked to much weed spent all their money now look at them, Two shite bands trying to be something they aren't,i believe the one band even sings country music.WTF.I saw them last year on Jules holland well half of them and was embarrassed.
     
  12. Sloop John B

    Sloop John B pfm Member

    Great album I agree and it sounds wonderful but was practically a home recording if I’m correct which is such an indictment of how far we have come (fallen) in the interim wrt sound quality.

    There was a BBC 4 doc during the year, I think they were certainly the real deal at this stage, just a bunch of kids playing what they heard as that grew up.

    ,sjb
     
  13. audioq

    audioq pfm Member

    Very good album. I was probably more into the Punk/New Wave scene at the time but still listen to this from time to time.
     
  14. docp

    docp pfm Member

    Great album that stands the test of time.
     
  15. Rob998

    Rob998 Scimmia Nordoccidentale

    Perhaps because this album is from before I really got into music, I was 10 when it came out, and UB40 were already shite by the time I started listening seriously, my opinion is coloured. I'm prepared to concede that much. But I made a point of listening to Signig Off again the other day, and, really I can't get past the Ali Campbell minstrel thing. Maybe he's just singing it how he thinks it should be sung, given what he's been listening to growing up, but it really grates with me.

    FWVLIW, I did like Ska, and I do like the likes of The Stones, Zep etc that you mention, but you never had Jagger, Plant, Burdon or Mayall et al singing in a cod African American accent (ok, they deffo did an American accent at times...) or Dammers or even Suggs doing a West Indian accent.
     
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Ali Campbell just struck me as having a rather nasal Birmingham whine for a voice rather than being fake - you do realise all the rasta toasting stuff is Astro, not Ali?

    Some great live footage here:



    They are clearly a ‘crossover’ band and would have never claimed to be the pure Jamacian reggae outfit some seem to demand they be. To my mind they occupy the same basic ballpark as The Specials, The Beat etc, and I have no issue with that at all. It was a really positive area to be in at the time. I have no issue with borrowing styles at all to be honest, I’ve done plenty of dub-related electronica/ambient stuff myself and I’d not claim to have any cultural connection.

    PS I find Jagger’s accent hopelessly affected, kind of a mid-point between a Cockney (which he isn’t) and American (which he also isn’t). Doesn’t make it bad though - I’m no stones fan, but I like some of it (Exile On Mainstreet period mainly).
     
    Rob998 and darrenyeats like this.
  17. Rob998

    Rob998 Scimmia Nordoccidentale

    I really don't like it Tony. To my ears Campbell really did sing in something approximating a West Indian accent IMO, but he certainly didn't talk in one, which leads me to believe it was affected, unlike a lot of the current crop of white South London based rappers/Garage/grime/ R&B etc musicians.

    But, as always with these discussions, it's all subjective and it would be very boring if we all agreed on stuff all the time.
     
  18. timola

    timola pfm Member

    I was a teenager when I bought this and loved it, I didn't really understand the political or cultural good/bad things going on....I just loved the bass guitar playing and Tyler is Guilty was my fav. As a record, it was above average quality, interesting cover (I never knew what that was until much much later), I suffered from crackles and pops, perhaps it was static. I was a big Led Zep fan then and even their vinyl productions were mediocre.... Not the music...that was brilliant!
     

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