13 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The English reggae group UB40 makes the connection between reggae and country music more pronounced than many fans might expect. Whether it’s an authentic take on Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have to Go” (“put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone”) or a UB40 original such as “Just What’s Killing Me,” the result is the band’s own style taking a fascinating turn. The tonal color of a pedal steel guitar (played by professional Melvin Duffy, who was given free reign over the sessions) augments UB40’s usual sound so that songs like the George Jones title track and Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” (originally recorded by country legend Roy Acuff) flow perfectly alongside “Blue Bilet Doux,” hands-down one of the best UB40 originals in years. Singer Duncan Campbell, who replaced his brother Ali on UB40’s last album, sounds particularly inspired. The Depression-era “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” comes alive with pedal steel, horn, and keyboards on this most unlikely celebration. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

The English reggae group UB40 makes the connection between reggae and country music more pronounced than many fans might expect. Whether it’s an authentic take on Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have to Go” (“put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone”) or a UB40 original such as “Just What’s Killing Me,” the result is the band’s own style taking a fascinating turn. The tonal color of a pedal steel guitar (played by professional Melvin Duffy, who was given free reign over the sessions) augments UB40’s usual sound so that songs like the George Jones title track and Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” (originally recorded by country legend Roy Acuff) flow perfectly alongside “Blue Bilet Doux,” hands-down one of the best UB40 originals in years. Singer Duncan Campbell, who replaced his brother Ali on UB40’s last album, sounds particularly inspired. The Depression-era “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” comes alive with pedal steel, horn, and keyboards on this most unlikely celebration. 

TITLE TIME

More By UB40

You May Also Like