Ali Campbell's Running Free is a great mixture of songs featuring some equally as talented artists. What a brilliant CD to be given.
"' Why this CD?'"
I have been a big fan of UB40 since the age of 14yr and own some of their orginal albums on vinyl. For those too young to remember - those black things that came in 2 sizes 45" and 33" and when put onto a turn table played crackling, sorry cracking, sounds.
I was given this Album by one of my daughters who (due to being weened on the greatest Reggae bands of all time) is also a big fan.
We were both interested to see whether Ali's voice could be complimented by the featured artists as well as his fellow UB4O members.
The CD has been produced & mixed by Ali, who also sings lead vocals on all tracks (plus much of the backing vocals)
WOW ! - what a line up.
Beverley Knight, Lemur, Bitty McLean, Smokey Robinson, Katie Melua, Mick Hucknall, Robin Campbell and finally Aston 'family man' Barrett & Don Yute.
'" Tracks '"
Beverley Knight's clear harmony works magically around the octaves of Running Free with Ali reflecting both perfect pitch and fast rhythms.
What a beautiful version of this classic. (4 mins)
Ali's solo of Hold Me Tight is one of my favourites of the whole CD. For all UB40 fans this is the 'real good old stuff' that take you back to when the gang appeared on Top of the Pops. Reggae beats keeping that constant flow with interjections of Ali's powerful harmony pleadings and 'baba babas'. (4 mins)
I have never really thought of Ali and Lemur singng together as a great match. How wrong I was. Their voices almost sound as one during the fabulous 'I'll Be Standing By'. 3.30 miins of total chill out stuff.
Ali sings solo again for Bacharach's classic Don't Go and does it fair justice with a style reminiscent of the 70's.
I was never a big fan of 'Would I lie to you' but found this version featuring Bitty McLean ok listening and even found myself jigging along for just over 3 mins.
Track 5 - Ali alone again and brilliant. ' I want One of Those'. The drum beats and string arrangements are exceptional and fast flowing, while keeping that light hearting, happy atmosphere. (3.14 mins)
Smokey Robinson joins Ali in 'HALLELUJAH TIME.' The drum and bass keeps that wonderful beat and rhythm flowing like a summer breeze 'flowing over rocks & mountains'. Smokey's vocal's are unbelievable throughout this track. What a winner lasting 3.50 mins.
I love Katie Melua so was really looking forward to this next track - 'Don't Try This At Home' where Ali and the sultry songress delight your ears for 4.05 mins. The echoing fading in and out of Katie's voice is highlighted by the haunting sounds of the strings and keyboard. Both voices are clear and lyrics easily heard with a quick tempo to tap along to.
Flex was written by Ali & Travers and we hear a softer tone to Ali's talents. He still retains clearness in his delivery of the words and adds quick a little skip to the whole performance. The drums play a fairly dominate part in this great little number.
Mick Hucknall and Ali perform a Smokey Classic next with 'Being With You' and do this knocked out smoochie 100% justice. The sax belting out a harmony reflects the professional peaks of perfection from both artists.
Gotta Get Away follows in the same great style as the previous Campbell and Travers creation.
Devoted to You featuring Robin Campbell hints of the echoing sounds of the oldie 'one in ten' but not as great as this.
Village Ghetto Land hears a cocktails of voices from young childrens to the experienced reggae artists of Yute & Barrett. A sad story hidden under a happy beat of drums, bass, strings and keyboard.
To complete this CD Ali goes solo for a fantastic finale 'Cold Around My Heart'. This has many aspects of early pieces with UB40 but Ali has put a little something of his own into this and all performances on this album.
'"What more would I like to hear after this?'"
I would love to hear Ali teaming up again with Katie and Smokey.
Their voices compliment each other so well. The use of strings and sax has been outstanding and very well produced.
ALL IN ALL A GREAT CD TO TANTALISE THE EAR DRUMS.
thanks for reading
(also on ciao)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Running Free (featuring Beverley Knight)4:05
2 Hold Me Tight 4:00
3 I'll be Standing By (featuring Lemar) 3:29
4 Don't Go 3:05
5 Would I Lie To You (featuring Bitty McLean)3:05
6 I Want One of Those 3:14
7 Hallelujah Time (featuring Smokey Robinson) 3:50
8 Don't Try This At Home (featuring Katie Melua)4:05
9 Flex 3:52
10 Being With You (featuring Mick Hucknall)3:59
11 Gotta Get Away 3:34
12 Devoted To You (featuring Robin Campbell) 3:02
13 Village Ghetto Land (featuring Aston `Family Man' Barrett and Don Yute)4:48
14 Cold Around My Heart 3:58