70 million records, 29 years, political aggressors, dub warriors, UB40 were many things to many men.
It often appears though that those many men have become fewer and fewer as time moves onwards and tastes change. Some bands retain their importance over time, some slowly lose it.
For me. the Unemployment Benefit Form 40 were close relatives to fellow multi race, socialist, rebels the Specials. Perhaps also distant cousins of soul brothers Dexy’s Midnight runners.
Perhaps not as aggressively social with their lyrics or their sound, UB40 still found time to give a big finger to the political class. Theirs was spliffs over riffs; grass over class; 1 in 10 for example matched the journalistic narrative of Ghost town and the ferocity of Burn it down.
Signing off and Present Arms still remain state of the nation rallying calls, mixing sound systems with politically concerned lyrics about the rise of the far right and the Torie’s seemingly unconcern with rising unemployment.
Ultimate 40 provide a great memory of what it’s like to dance whilst singing anti establishment tracks.
Great band, great sound, great tribute to a great protest band.