UB40 release ‘Message Of Love’, one of three collaborations with New Zealand’s roots reggae band House Of Shem, from their forthcoming album Bigga Baggariddim.
Since meeting the late House Of Shem front man Carl Perkins in NZ in 1981, UB40 have formed a close bond with the man and his band, forging a 40 year friendship. Like UB40, since the passing of their father Carl, House Of Shem is a band fronted by two brothers, and Te Omeka and Isaiah Perkins both write, sing and play instruments, just as their late father did.
‘Message Of Love’ features both brothers as well as the last vocal performance from their father. Footage of this is captured in the moving video. This archive footage is intercut with new footage of UB40 filmed in urban Birmingham, which is juxtaposed with footage of the House Of Shem brothers filmed in the stunning landscapes of rural NZ.
Speaking of his and UB40’s enduring friendship with House Of Shem, Robin Campbell said, “Carl was in Herbs, which was the first reggae band of any note in New Zealand.” Adding, “I remember the first time we went there in 1981, they met us at the airport with a big bag of weed. They were good as their name! Then after Carl formed House Of Shem, they toured with us regularly because they’re a great band. I get quite emotional when I listen to Message Of Love and the other songs featuring House Of Shem. They were literally Carl’s last-ever recordings, and he was such a lovely man.”
“We wrote and recorded them in the lounge at home because my father was very sick at the time, and this was only a month before he passed,” says Te Omeka. “What inspired me to write about having a good time was the happiness of the rhythm really. Also, the way I wrote the melody reminded me of Dad, and how he would have done it. My brother then put on the second vocals and harmonies which gave it that House Of Shem feeling, and we did the same thing with the other songs but UB40 were a major inspiration for us growing up. Dad’s band used to open for them and I remember being at these huge gigs as a kid thinking, ‘wow!’ And then seeing the brotherly vibe within the band as well, that was another thing.”
“They’ve got people who’ve grown up together and you can’t replace that,” says UB40’s Jimmy Brown. “That’s worth pure gold, and it adds something special to the sound of any band but we sent them three tracks to choose from and got three songs back! Every one of them was quality but they’re a talented bunch and know what they’re doing. They understand music and they understand reggae. It’s a beautiful thing.”
‘Message Of Love’ is taken from the Bigga Baggariddim, an incredible celebration of the genre they love and a seminal reggae collaborations album.
Based on the concept of their 1985 Baggariddim album, UB40 have reunited with artists who appeared on the that album and also collaborated with new, diverse reggae talent from around the world, who sing and deejay over cuts of the same rhythms.
A companion to their critically acclaimed 2019 album For The Many, Bigga Baggariddim features the same rhythms and guest artists from different parts of the world. In addition to New Zealand’s House Of Shem, the album includes artists from Jamaica, India and UB40’s home town of Birmingham.
From India, the Reggae Rajahs’ General Zooz adds more diversity to UB40’s most eclectic album yet and as the founders of Goa’s annual reggae festival, are a testament to India’s rapidly growing reggae scene. They perform on the ear worm, Roots Rocks Reggae.
Joining this selection of international talent are artists from reggae’s homeland of Jamaica, where a new generation of stars has emerged in the past decade, led by Protoje, Koffee and Chronixx. After UB40’s management heard a BBC 1Xtra session showcasing new Jamaican artists, BLVK H3RO and Leno Banton (son of legendary dancehall pioneer Burro Banton) were invited to appear on Bigga Baggariddim.
Veteran Jamaican reggae artists are represented by Winston Francis (whose long list of hits includes Mr Fix It, which UB40 covered on Labour Of Love III) and Inner Circle, whose overdubs on the track Rebel Love gives it their distinctive, platinum-selling Inner Circle Sound.
British talent is represented by London’s Tippa Irie who guests on On The Road, and UB40’s fellow Birmingham musicians: KIOKO who join UB40 on Bigga Baggariddim’s You Don’t Call Anymore, and MC’s Gilly G (Me Nah Leave Yet), Pablo Rider (Did You See That) and Slinger (My Life Action). Pablo Rider and Slinger both featured on the original Baggariddim album in 1985 and also made cameo appearances on For The Many. They and Gilly G are all expected to join UB40 on the Bigga Baggariddim tour which begins in November (see below for details).
UB40’s passion for reggae and belief in its cultural importance has led them to create an exceptional reggae collaborations album, which will remind the listener of reggae’s timeless and evolving power, whilst also introducing them to new, vital and emerging reggae talent.
Bigga Baggariddim tracklist:
- Good Vibes Tonight – UB40 / House of Shem
- On The Road – UB40 / Tippa Irie
- Gravy Train Is Coming – UB40 / BLVK H3RO
- Rebel Love – UB40 / Inner Circle
- Did You See That? – UB40 / Pablo Rider
- You Don’t Call Anymore – UB40 / KIOKO
- Me Nah Leave Yet – UB40 / Gilly G
- Love You Now – UB40 / House Of Shem
- Mi Life Action – UB40 / Slinger
- My Best Friend’s Girl – UB40 / Winston Francis
- Message Of Love – UB40 / House Of Shem
- I’m Alright – UB40 / BLVK H3RO
- Show And Prove – UB40 / Leno Banton
- What Happened To The Have Not’s? – UB40 / BLVK H3RO
- Roots Rock Reggae – UB40 / General Zooz (Reggae Rajahs)
UB40’S autumn tour dates (newly added venues):
FRIDAY 19TH CASTLEBAR Royal Theatre
SATURDAY 20TH BELFAST Ulster Hall
SUNDAY 21ST KERRY INEC
WEDNESDAY 24TH EDINBURGH Usher Hall
THURSDAY 25TH GLASGOW Barrowlands
SATURDAY 27TH ABERDEEN Music Hall
SUNDAY 28TH STOCKTON Globe
TUESDAY 30TH BLACKPOOL Empress Ballroom
WEDNESDAY 1ST NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate Hall
THURSDAY 2ND NORWICH UEA
SATURDAY 4TH MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
SUNDAY 5TH LIVERPOOL Eventim Olympia
MONDAY 6TH PORTSMOUTH Guildhall
WEDNESDAY 8TH LEEDS First Direct Arena
THURSDAY 9TH BRIGHTON Centre
FRIDAY 10TH CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
SUNDAY 12TH LONDON SSE Arena, Wembley
MONDAY 13TH CHELTENHAM Centaur
TUESDAY 14TH PLYMOUTH Pavillions
THURSDAY 16TH HULL Bonus Arena
SATURDAY 18TH BOURNEMOUTH O2 Academy
SUNDAY 19TH BRISTOL O2 Academy
MONDAY 20TH STOKE Victoria Hall
WEDNESDAY 22ND NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena