UB40 – Bring Me Your Cup

Release Date: Dec 93

Chart Position: 24

Mehggae. That’s what this is.
We’ve all had off days and this was one of theirs – maybe they recorded this after a late night buying yoplait, curly-wurlys and chicken tikka ginsters pasties from the Hansdworth Esso 24-hour station. I love UB40, but this sounds like they’ve had enough of being on the road and want to kick back for a bit (which is exactly what they did).
Can’t fault the production which has the usual UB clarity, and it’s a standard vocal performance from the Campbell brothers. The horns are pleasing but come in too late for me, and the melody doesn’t go anywhere. The only decent thing about it is the bassline, and they nicked that off of The Jam’s Strange Town. The bit after the bridge. You know, this bit.
The song is chock full of euphamisms and metaphors that all say the same thing – Ali’s tired and he wants to get home and make a mess with his missus. It’s Stir It Up revisited, just not as good.
Score: A Finbarr Saundersesque 4/10

Bring me your cup love, I get you drunk, you take a sup…. Pretty romantic stuff from Ali Campbell and company and I wouldn’t expect anything less from the Birmingham lads.
It’s another offering the masters of the synthesizer and negg-slash-brum vibes.UB40-Bring-Me-Your-Cup-546772The overly heavy synthetic bassline gets a little monotonous after a minute or so and I hate to say it but I’m starting to find UB40 a little boring. In football terms, would it be wrong to compare UB40 to the likes of Gary Mabutt and Paul Mcgrath? They were both extremely steady and reliable but lack the flair and creativity to really excite the crowd like a Roberto Carlos or even Julian Dicks. I think I’ve strayed from the neggae path a wee bit but I’m starting to yearn for some cheesy island Neg.
As I’ve said before, no video for UB40 is a good thing – they really shouldn’t have bothered turnin the cameras on with this effort.
Score: A very steady and underwhelming 4/10 – I really would like to see Shabba’s take on this song, at least it would be amusing! Do we have anymore Chaka Demus anytime soon? I bloody hope so.

Back to UB40, their neggae output has been of variable quality and I’m afraid this one sounds like the Inland Revenue were back on their case. The intro is nice, not sure what instrument it is but that sound is pretty cool, unfortunately this song has reached it’s nadir by 5 seconds and like Liverpool FC is already on the slow descent to mediocrity. The production is UB40 by numbers, not terrible but a bit formulaic and nowhere near the required level of bostin’. The lyrics I think are written from the perspective of a nurse who collects samples in a sperm bank, either that or it’s a clever metaphor for banging. I prefer the first interpretation.
Ali Campbell delivers his usual high standard but again this is the least you’d expect from the Yowbs, it sounds like they’re just going through the paces and the toasting effort is a little bit embarrassing. Overall the song sounds like it was written for a Jamaican coffee advert, Carte Njah.
Having been blacklisted as a security guard due to him constantly filming neggae videos at the sites he’s supposed to be guarding it seems Ali hasn’t learned his lesson in his new role as bus conductor as the group have simply taken a video camera aboard Ali’s route, I hope he checked their tickets. The video is rumoured to be a tribute to Brinsley Forde and his breakthrough role in ‘Here come the Double Deckers’, nice moves Brins and if we’re going with the 1 in 8 statistic I’m chucking the mortgage on Michael Audreson.
Score: It’s not bad and it kept the wolf from the door for a bit longer – 5/10

Recently I watched the Dan Akkroyd movie Blues Brothers 2000. It reminded me massively of UB40 in the 1990’s, there are many comparisons which can be drawn.

  • Same line up as the 80’s version bar one very important key member.
  • Same ethos/ Same plot line.
  • Slightly older audience and therefore slightly less raw and hungry form of art.
  • Adoption of schmaltzy modern day production values which serves to lose some of the original charm.

The UB40’s were an amazing reggae band in 1980’s Britain. They continually produced decent music and developed a huge army of followers as a mainstay and commentator of British Society. Much like the BB 2000 movie, the Neggae era was good for them financially but I don’t think it won them a great deal of major recognition from critics or peers.
You cant knock the UB40s for trying. Looking back over the last 10 weeks of the Neggae chart, 7 of those entries have been covers. The only really decent one being Twist N Shout. Of the 3 original pieces of music, two have come from Ali and the boys.
They are always a breath of fresh air but they’re just not as infectious as they used to be. They’ve opted for a spiritual message on this one, Ali Campbell singing to his loved one about how his heart aches for her and how he looks forward to getting home to fill up her cup. Its all very nice stuff, no one in ten though.
The video is the same, unnerving to begin,  slightly unsettling but not earth shattering or life changing. It soon descends into Ali Campbell falling asleep on a bus. zzzzzzzzz.
Nothing more to write on this one I’m afraid.
Score: 6 out of 10 for being UB40 and churning out a new piece of music.

When this first came on I immediately thought of all the positives and that it was UB40 doing what UB40 do best; however a few mins in and it starts to grate on you. Although it’s pretty catchy it gets a bit repetitive after not long and the feelgood factor of the intro seems a world away. This is UB40’s fourth of no fewer than seven appearances in the Neggae hot 90, and it might be the most forgettable to date. The biggest positive I can think of is that the middle line of the chorus is delivered in an amusing style fashion to that of Vic and Bob’s club singer style.
At first I couldn’t find the video however after a second search I found what just about passed as one. A bit weird, a load of close ups of them mincing about doing I’m not sure what? Unfortunately nothing here to recover a score.
Score: 4/10 from me, not their finest hour.


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