Thursday, October 16, 2014

UB40 - Geffery Morgan

Today (October 16th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Geffery Morgan, the fifth studio album from UB40. The album charted at number 49 in Sweden, number 27 in New Zealand, number 9 in the Netherlands, and number 3 in the UK. Here in the US, it spent twenty-six weeks on the Billboard Album chart with a top spot of 60.

Side one begins with “Riddle Me”, a hybrid of reggae and synth-pop dance styles. The lyrics question authority and political polices that hamper the citizenship. As the second single, it hit number 59 in the UK and number 34 in the Netherlands.

The music flows freely with its mid-tempo swing into the next track “As Always You Were Wrong”, another social commentary on government policies.

“If It Happens Again”, the first single, reached number 56 in Canada, number 55 in Australia, number 28 in New Zealand, number 9 in Ireland and the UK, and number 8 in the Netherlands. I hear this one played a lot on Sirius XM’s First Wave channel.

The B-side to the second single was “D.U.B.”, a celebration of the reggae subgenre the emphasized instrumentals, bass and drumbeats.

“The Pillow” was the B-side to the third single. The music is light and sunny, accentuated with a soft saxophone. The lyrics, in contrast, focus their attention on a troubled young prostitute who goes from taking drugs to taking her own life.

Side two opens with the instrumental “Nkomo-A-Go-Go”, which was chosen for the B-side to the first single. I like how the horns play off the percussion.

“Seasons” slows things down with a reflective look at a romantic relationship that changed over time.

With a bouncy schoolyard chant and rhythm, “You’re Not an Army” points out that the true power comes in the hands of the masses.

The synths again are prominent on the next track. “I’m Not Fooled So Easily”, as the third single, went to number 79 in the UK.

The album closes with “Your Eyes Were Open”, a sad but very danceable pronouncement of the fate of the human race (as seen by those living amidst the Cold War era of the early 80’s).

I had not heard most of Geffery Morgan until the summer of 2013 when I bought a digital box set of five of the early 80’s UB40 albums. This one was the last of the group. I have listened to it all the way through about a half dozen times, so far, and I get more out of it each time.

For more UB40, click here.

No comments: