‘A Real Labour Of Love’ is the new album from UB40 Featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey, to be released March 2nd on UMC.
Lead single ‘She Loves Me Now’ received its exclusive first play on BBC Radio 2, and will be available to stream and download as an instant grat with album pre-orders.
As founding members of Britain’s biggest reggae band UB40, singer Ali Campbell, second vocalist Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue topped the UK singles chart on three occasions and sold 70 million records as they took their smooth yet rootsy musical blend to all corners of the globe.
Now with ‘A Real Labour Of Love’ the trio give us a fresh take on the legendary series of albums, putting the focus primarily on reggae tracks from the 1980s.
Between 1983 and 1998 UB40 produced three ‘Labour Of Love’ albums, bringing hits such as Eric Donaldson’s ‘Cherry Oh Baby’, Lord Creator’s ‘Kingston Town’ and Johnny Osbourne’s ‘Come Back Darling’ to a new, global audience. They also topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with their reggae cover of Neil Diamond’s ‘Red Red Wine’.
And now 20 years later Ali, Astro and Mickey are revitalising the concept by exploring the tunes of a later golden age, ‘A Real Labour Of Love’ sees the group explore the songs that defined reggae in the Eighties.
The new album builds confidently on the momentum gathered in the five years since Astro rejoined singer Ali and keyboardist Mickey in 2013.
They have released two acclaimed albums, ‘Silhouette’ (2014) and ‘Unplugged’ (2016), their first acoustic album and their first release with new label UMC.
‘A Real Labour Of Love’ was produced by Ali, whose instantly recognisable voice is augmented by the ‘sing-jay’ vocal style of Astro. The latter takes the lead on six of the album’s 16 tracks, placing the two singers at the helm of an 11-piece band.
Sadly, ‘A Real Labour Of Love’ also marks the passing of long-serving trombonist John Johnson. A former member of Simply Red who joined forces with Ali seven years ago, John played on the album but passed away the night before the rest of the group were due to play a benefit concert to raise money for his cancer treatment. The album is dedicated to him.
The group are now looking forward to taking their new album on the road, with UK festival appearances lined up for the summer and a UK arena tour in the pipeline for 2019.