Love Island captures a moment in 1978 when Eumir Deodato was on top of the world. This was his maiden release under Warner Bros. since his departure with MCA, and top notch session players are at the fore once again with warm melodies riding on phat basslines, sumptuous synthesiser waves and the presence of the legendary George Benson soloing in the centre section in the title track.
Only fans who follow UB40 closely will be aware that, as of 2013, there have been two different bands performing under the name UB40. The UB40 who perform with no caveats attached to their appellation are fronted by Duncan Campbell, the brother of Ali Campbell, who led the band through its peaks in the '80s and '90s. Ali acrimoniously left the group in 2008, soon followed by fellow vocalist Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue, leaving the remaining UB40 to be something of an upscale Reggae Sunsplash act, churning out reggae-fied covers of old pop and rock standards. All three former members reunited in 2014 for an album called Silhouette – confusingly billed to Ali Campbell the Legendary Voice of UB40 Reunited with Astro & Mickey – which helped establish these refugees as a distinct entity from the UB40 that kept performing under the household name, but the 2018 album A Real Labour of Love is where the trio make a stab for the crown they vacated.
A classic moment from Frederick "Toots" Hibbert – a set that's maybe his equivalent to some of the key Island Records albums of the 70s from Bob Marley & The Wailers! Like those, the production here is top-shelf – handled partly by Joe Boyd, who brings a very respectful vibe to the set – and perhaps even goes for more of the soulful currents in Toots' vocals than before – at least in ways that might cross over more to American and British audiences than in the early days. Hibbert really seems to take to the spirit of the moment, and rises up with these beautifully expressive passages – of the sort that he may never have hit this well again!
As iconic in 2014 for her timeless beauty and stage appeal as she is for her artistic versatility, Freda Payne remains among music’s and show business’ brightest shining star survivors. Her latest album, Come Back To Me Love (her first for the Artistry Music imprint) marks not only a return to the big band and stringsladen classics from her mid-`60s beginnings with Impulse! but also marks a return to her hometown of Detroit. That makes this 14-song album featuring Grammy® award-winner Bill Cunliffe’s musical arrangements—from the vibes-kissed Kenny Rankin waltz “Haven’t We Met” to the lonely evening fireplace musings of “Lately”—a beautiful homecoming.