UB40 present Arms

In 1978 guitarist Ali Campbell, drummer Jimmy Brown and bassist Earl Falconer started to rehearse charting reggae songs including some of their own compositions. Then more friends joined the band: percusionists: Yomi Babayemi and Norman Hassan, saxophonist Brian Travers and keyboardist Jimmy Lynn. The last one to join was Robin Campbell (Ali's brother) on guitar. They decided to form a band named after the unemployed status of all the band members. Unemployment Benefit, form 40. UB40.
This line-up lasted long enough until their first live performance in February 1979. Then Babayemi and Lynn left the band. Lynn was replaced by Mickey Virtue. In March 1979 Babayemi was replaced by Astro who also did vocals. Astro was working for Duke Alloy's sound system before joining the band. Chrissie Hynde watched the band in a pub and gave them the opportunity to become the support act during the Pretenders tour. UB40's first single, "King"/"Food for Thought" was an immediate hit in the UK reaching #4. Their first album "Signing Off" indicates they signed off for their UB40 and now had a job.
Don't Let It Pass You By / Don't Slow Down - single 7 DEP 1
In 1981 they released their second album titled "Present Arms" which contained many socially and politically charged lyrics like their debut album. The anti-war song "Present Arms" to begin with. Sardonicus is about Risus sardonicus, which is a a medical condition featuring sustained spasm of the facial muscles that appears to produce grinning. The song was later linked to Ronald Reagan and was retitled "Kings Row" for the "Present Arms In Dub" album. Reagan was president (and former movie actor) at that time and a movie from 1942 was broadcast on TV where Ronald Reagan played Drake McHugh, who has both legs amputated by a sadistic surgeon. "One in Ten" was their response to Margaret Thatcher. "Lamb's Bread" and "Don't Walk On The Grass" for the legalisation of Cannabis. "Silent Witness" about poverty and protesting. More about poverty and lower social status in Don't Let It Pass You By" and "Don't Slow Down".
One In Ten - single 7 DEP 2
The album reached #2 in the UK. It was their first album to chart in the Netherlands at #20. "Don't Let It Pass You By" / "Don't Slow Down" was the first single to be released reaching #16 in the UK. The second single "One In Ten" reached #7. Soon after the release of the album "Present Arms In Dub" was also released including dub versions (instrumental remixes) which didn't include dub versions of "Don't Let It Pass You By" and "Don't Slow Down".
Present Arms is all about positive vibrations and the more of those we can get the better. 

Don't let it pass you by!
Original album cover
Present Arms (DEP 1)
Present Arms / Sardonicus / Don't Let It Pass You By / Wildcat / One in Ten / Don't Slow Down / Silent Witness / Lamb's Bread / Don't Walk on the Grass / Dr X
Original album cover
Present Arms In Dub (DEP 2)
Present Arms In Dub / Smoke It / B-line / Kings Row / Return Of Dr X / Walk Out / One In Ten / Neon Haze

dub version                   >>     Original version
Present Arms In Dub     >>     Present Arms
Smoke It                         >>     Don't Walk On The Grass
B-Line                            >>     Lambs Bread
Kings Row                      >>     Sardonicus
Return Of Dr X               >>     Dr X
Walk Out                         >>     Wild Cat
One In Ten                      >>     One In Ten
Neon Haze                      >>     Silent Witness

One In Ten - live at Pinkpop 1981 Netherlands

Don't Let It Pass You By - TOTP 1981
Silent Witness - live in 1982

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