Released today in 1982: Love Is All Is All Right

DEP International DEP4

DEP International DEP4

The UB40 Story Part 2

In the summer of 1981, two singles released a few weeks apart stood out, both from ska and reggae-influenced bands. The Specials’ hauntingly downbeat Ghost Town went to #1, capturing something of the despondent mood in the country both socially and politically at the time; UB40’s One In Ten joined it in the Top 10, the title a reference to the unemployment rate in the West Midlands where the band was based (9.6%). “Nobody knows me, but I’m always there. A statistical reminder of a world that doesn’t care,” they sang. But the following year something happened to the political opinion of the British public: by the end of the year, the incumbent Conservative government was gearing up for the most decisive win at a General Election since the end of the Second World War. UB40 continued to address their social, economic and political concerns in their music with their album that year, UB44 (another unemployment benefit form number, this one indicating a missed ‘signing on’ appointment) but this time their success was limited, despite the progress they were making in their musical professionalism. Their eponymously-titled first album was recorded on a tight budget in a bedsit in Birmingham, some of it was even recorded out in the back garden; trombonist and percussionist Norman Hassan said that birdsong could be heard in the background of some of his parts. Follow-up Present Arms (1981), their first album for their own label DEP International and the one that One In Ten was taken from, had been a step forward, with more assured performances and prominent use of the brass section. The minimalist artwork on the cover of that album was replaced by a vivid cover painting on UB44, and initial quantities were presented in a hologram sleeve. But despite the band’s progress over their five years together, the three singles from the latest album (including Love Is All Right) were the band’s least successful to date: this time there were no big hits. DEP International’s distribution deal with CBS came to an end at the same time, causing concern about how the label’s music would reach its audience. There was a sense that the group was treading water at this point in their career, but their next album would change their fortunes, even bringing them success in America.

NEW SINGLES on sale from May. 7
ABC The Look Of Love (Neutron NT103)
Adam ANT Goody Two Shoes (CBS CBSA2367)
China CRISIS Scream Down At Me (Virgin VS495)
SOFT CELL Torch (Some Bizarre BZS9)
UB40 Love Is All Is All Right (DEP International DEP4)
SEVENTH AVENUE (Big Fun) Ending Up On A High (Record Shack SOHO42)


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