The long-standing reggae-pop group UB40 could play it smooth and silky long before they had a hit with their cover version of "Red Red Wine," but that cut became so massively successful it evolved into an annoyance for some. It's the same curse Bobby McFerrin experienced after "Don't Worry Be Happy" pigeonholed him as a sweet, novelty hit curio, but like Bobby, UB40 always deserved better, so anyone claiming this "reggae country album" is garish or desperate just hasn't put the needle to groove. Besides, country songs have long found their way into reggae music, from Toots & the Maytals taking John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads" to West Jamaica to UB40 backing Robert Palmer on "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," plus, it's had more to do with the song itself than the genre.
Aptly titled, Getting Over the Storm (their 18th studio album) finds UK reggae/pop stalwarts UB40 aiming to prove that not even bankruptcy and internal squabbles can keep a good band down. Kicking things off with a reggae-ified cover of the Allman Brothers Band's "Midnight Rider" confirms that original lead singer Ali Campbell has opted to sit this one out — solo career and all that — and that brother Duncan continues to be a good, if not great replacement. Here, they pull back from their signature politically charged numbers — outside of a track like "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" — and focusing on covering and reinterpreting country music ditties from genre artists like George Jones and Vince Gill.
Cover versions more than often attract much scorn, occasionally even anger, as original records are completely reworked or, worse still, hardly changed at all, adding very little – if anything – to the originals. Birmingham’s UB40, however, have made a career out of successful covers since their formation in 1978. The Labour Of Love series, most recently added to in 2010 with the fourth such offering, has achieved sales galore, most notably from the first album: containing a Number 1 single – their version of Neil Diamond’s Red, Red Wine – it included other memorable moments such as Cherry Oh Baby and Please Don’t Make Me Cry, thus creating one of the best-selling covers albums of all time.