As the frontman of UB40 with a very distinctive voice and style, Ali Campbell was used to both original songs and covers, and there were a few of both on Running Free, his second solo album but his first without his bandmates in 12 years. He wasn't on his own, however, recruiting some friends and well respected musicians to duet with him on several of the tracks; most of them are namechecked on the album cover. Johnny Nash had already put a light reggae beat to his original hit "Hold Me Tight" as far back as 1968, and Campbell does not change much on his version 39 years later. Charles & Eddie didn't appear on this version of "Would I Lie to You," a song they took to number one in 1992, but the claim that this is a duet with Bitty McLean is rather dubious, as Campbell's nasally vocals dominate the song, as they do on "Hallelujah Time" with Smokey Robinson. Perhaps Robinson should have been asked to guest on the song "Being with You," which he'd originally taken to number one in 1981, but instead that honor went to Mick Hucknall, whose voice was clear enough to be heard alongside Campbell's. At least Katie Melua gets a couple of verses of her own on "Don't Try This at Home." As for the rest of the songs, there's not much that can be said for them, perhaps UB40's time had already come and gone, but one of the most poignant songs from Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life, "Village Ghetto Life," was given a lilting lovers rock beat but the whole song was spoiled by a pointless rap in the middle by Aston "Family Man" Barrett and Don Yute.
Worth The Wait
It's been a while since we heard from the UB40 boys, so it's a real pleasure to hear this. Ali sounds reassuringly familiar and some of the tunes are old favourites but given a new spin on this album. The new stuff is very easy on the ear. A must buy for old fans but enough on here to interest a whole new younger fanbase not familiar with this fabulous reggae vibe.
Oh my G0d!!...
Half way through the album and goosebumping and tearing like crazy already. Admittedly so a die hard UB40 fan, but this album takes smooth uplifting reggea swing to a totally new level... can't stop groovin..
Runnin Free -
Loved it!! Especially Hold me tight!!
Born: 15 February 1959 in Birmingham, England
Years Active: '00s, '10s
Top Albums and Songs by Ali Campbell
||Out from Under||Flying High||3:51||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Many Rivers to Cross (Live)||Many Rivers to Cross (Live) [With Ladysmith Black Mambazo] - Single||5:41||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Hold Me Tight||Running Free||3:59||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||She's a Lady (feat. Shaggy)||Flying High||4:31||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Hold Me Tight||Hold Me Tight - Single||4:29||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Everways (feat. Craig David)||Flying High||5:02||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Many Rivers to Cross (Live With Introduction)||Many Rivers to Cross (Live) [With Ladysmith Black Mambazo] - Single||5:58||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Baby Come Back||100 Hits 90s Anthems||3:51||£0.99||View In iTunes|
||That Look In Your Eyes||Pure 90S||3:58||£0.99||View In iTunes|
||Don't Go||Running Free||3:05||£0.79||View In iTunes|