If you haven’t already do watch the aptly named UB40 documentary ‘Promises and Lies’ on the BBC iPlayer. If you haven’t seen it **SPOLIERS!**
It’s extraordinary viewing – unlike most other BBC4 docs it’s not really a celebration of their music. In fact what is startling is just how good the early stuff is, and just naff it gets as they get into Labour of Love series and basically make it their business to water down classic reggae hits for mass consumption. However, as the music gets slicker and more Cod-Reggae the more globally huge they become and therein lies the problem.
Both sides of the UB40 divide contribute so we hear from the ‘official’ UB40 led by Robin Campbell and then Ali’s ‘UB40’ which now includes Astro and Mickey Virtue who have defected to his side. In spite of global megastardom and years of selling out enormodomes and selling gazzilions of LPs and CDs everyone concerned is in seriously reduced circs. Nobody seems to know where the UB40 millions went and both sides of grown men in their late 50s (brothers and lifelong friends) are at each others throats very publicly over who has the right to be » Continue Reading.