Friday, 17 July 2009

UB40 'Kingston Town'

Chart Peak: 4


From Labour Of Love II, the sequel to the covers album that spawned the two UB40 tracks on Now 1, 'Kingston Town' is a version of an original by Jamaican singer Lord Creator, and the good news is that royalties from this version apparently did the composer no end of good. Less so for us, though, smothered by a typically drab performance and production. Perhaps the band are too much in awe of the original to believe that any version of it could be less than brilliant, but they suck all life out of it, with a plodding beat and an arrangement so tacky it was copied for a Paris Hilton single.

The biggest problem is, I think, that we never believe for a moment that they believe in the premise of the song. Of course, we all know that Kingston isn't really their hometown, but they could have done a better job of capturing the sense of longing that's implied by the lyric, since they do by all accounts like the place. Instead we get another thin vocal performance from Ali Campbell. How many different ways are there to say "rubbish UB40 cover version"?

Also appearing on: Now 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 13, 18, 26, 41, 56
Available on: Labour of Love II

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