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UB40 announce new line-up


Story by Jack Foley

REGGAE act UB40 have announced two new vocalists who will be joining UB40 to collaborate on their forthcoming live concerts.

Duncan Campbell, brother of Robin and Ali Campbell, will join the band along with reggae stalwart Maxi Priest. Both artists will collaborate on future live concerts and recorded albums.

The announcement brings to an end the speculation surrounding who would replace former lead singer, Ali Campbell and marks the first in a series of collaborations by the Birmingham band on what is set to be an exciting new chapter in their musical legacy.

Musical collaborations over the past three decades have already included the likes of the late Robert Palmer, as well as Chrissie Hynde, Afrika Bambaataa, 808 State, John Holt, Toots Hibbert, Gregory Isaacs and Beenie Man to name but a few.

The band has also announced details of their long awaited album Twentyfourseven, which will be released on Monday, June 16, 2008.

The album will be the band’s final recording with former member and lead singer Campbell.

Maxi Priest has collaborated with UB40 on two songs for the new album. He sings with UB40, his son Marvin Priest and DJ Beniton on the timeless Marley classic I Shot The Sheriff while also providing lead vocal on Dance Until The Morning Light (the double A-sided single) which features an infectious sample loop taken from Desmond Dekker and the Aces’ groundbreaking 1968 hit Israelites.

Duncan Campbell, meanwhile, comes from a long standing and talented musical family, with both brothers Robin and Ali forming UB40 30 years ago and their father, the renowned folk singer Ian Campbell, whose band the Ian Campbell Group established themselves as a highly proficient live act.

After being unveiled to the press, Campbell commented: “I’ve long admired UB40 as a band and always had a great respect for what Robin and Ali have contributed to the band with Astro, Brian, Earl, Norman and Jimmy.

“UB40 are the biggest and most successful reggae band in the world, so I was absolutely delighted and a little stunned of course to be asked to come and work with the band.

“Of course, it’s a hugely daunting task to undertake and make sure that I do justice to the songs that I perform on. I’m not about to start jumping into Ali’s shoes, he has made an incredible contribution to the band that nobody could ever replace with such a distinctive sound.

“I will, of course, be giving it my all and contributing my own style of vocals and performance, I hope I can do justice to their great songs and that the fans will like what they hear.”

Commenting on the collaborations band member Brian Travers added: “UB40 have had a long tradition of working and collaborating with various artists over the years, Maxi Priest came out on tour with us last year and after his performance of I Shot The Sheriff it was a natural and logical progression to work together, Maxi has worked on two tracks for the new album with us.

“Duncan, who is the third Campbell brother, also has a gifted voice like his two brothers. He came into the studio one day and started singing over some tracks with Robin and we were just struck by his voice, the relationship just evolved very naturally.”

Maxi Priest commented: “I’m thrilled to be working with UB40 who I have always held in high regard as my brothers in reggae music. UB40 are one of the greatest bands in the world, to have lasted three decades is an amazing testament to their success.”