Who You Fighting For?
Rhino Records-Dep International
February 18, 2006

Track list
  1. Mama's Portrait
  2. In Heaven
  3. Gallis
  4. Jump Off
  5. Crazy
  6. The One For Me
  7. Out Of My Head feat. Spragga Benz
  8. Bring It On (Hey Baby)
  9. Grown Man Cry
  10. Gal Yu A Murda
  11. Chill
  12. Weh She Want
  13. Love Will Show Me The Way
  14. All My Life feat. Marcia Griffiths
  15. She
  16. Baby Blue
  17. Skit (For My Grade)
  18. My Grade
  19. Can't Fight This Feeling
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Mention pop-reggae band UB40 to any true reggae fan and most likely you'll get a strong disapproving reaction, mainly due to the fact that they gained fame with their releases of polished poppy covers of Jamaican originals.

Named after a British unemployment benefit form, UB40 debuted in 1980 with their noteworthy first full length album "Signing Off", which contained tunes that tackled political issues such as racism and unemployment appealing to dissatisfied youth in England. Musically their earliest work was definitely unique with a heavy influence of analogue synths, psychedelic rock guitar, saxophone and Dub Reggae producer techniques.

In September 1983, UB40 released the top selling "Labour Of Love" album, their first direct tribute to the Jamaican artists who had inspired and influenced them. With this set UB40 reached a broad audience and from then their music started to become more polished and poppy. Despite of what you think of their commercial pop-reggae music, it can't be denied that UB40 have played a major role in popularising reggae around the globe.

Almost three decades after the band was formed in Birmingham, England, they're still performing for large crowds and producing albums. Their latest offering, entitled "Who You Fighting For?", is a surprisingly good and inspired sounding album which brings back memories of their earliest work. The listener is treated to a fine mixture of original tunes and covers of classic 70's era soul and reggae.

The original tunes featured on this albums are infused with political, spiritual and romantic messages. Truly worth of hearing are the title track, "Who You Fighting For?", "Plenty More", "Sins Of The Fathers", "One Woman Man", and the excellent "War Poem".

On the cover front we're treated to The Jamaicans' wonderful rock steady tune "The Things You Say You Love", The Manhattans' 70s soul classic "Kiss And Say Goodbye", Matumbi's "After Tonight", a pivotal song in the history of British reggae, "I'll Be On My Way", a Lennon-McCartney tune which they recorded for a BBC session in 1963 (and was not released until 1994), and Gene Chandler's 1970 hit "Good Situation" aka "That Girl"

"Who You Fighting For?" features a rich, dark and warm sound, tight arrangements and, of course, frontman Ali Campbell's heartfelt, distinct vocal delivery. All in all this collection of tunes can rightly claim its place amongst UB40's best album releases!