‘Labour of Love’, UB40’s first covers album from 1983, remains one of the band’s best selling albums. While political purists may sneer at the accessible selection of covers found on the record, the album should be applauded for bringing a few well-known (and more overlooked tunes) to a wider audience. These were clearly tunes the band loved in their formative years, and in the case of The Slickers’ ‘Johnny Too Bad’ and Eric Donaldson’s ‘Cherry Oh Baby’ in particular, these tunes presented the best of the band’s capabilities at that time.

The album has been pressed on CD three times. Firstly, in its original pressing dating from some time in the late 80s, as a two CD set with 1989’s ‘Labour of Love II’ and, later still, as disc one of the three CD anthology ‘The Platinum Collection’ – a budget priced box set containing the first three volumes of the ‘Labour of Love’ series. It has never appeared in any expanded form. This is a particularly frustrating considering the wealth of extra material from the period; material currently sat gathering dust in the record company archive.

In addition to the ten track album, there are several b sides, alternate versions and even a non album single (yet to appear on CD), but in most need of reissue are the two VHS releases that promoted the album. The thirty minute concept movie containing mimed musical performances (also used as music videos) was reissued on a strictly limited DVD with a near pointless ‘Best of Labour of Love’ compilation that was only ever really purchased by the band’s biggest fans (and subsequently disappeared quickly). Also, a sixty minute video of the band performing at Hammersmith Odeon near the end of the ‘Labour of Love’ tour is still unavailable on any official digital medium. The VHS release is notoriously hard to find, only ever having been issued in a large sized, ex-rental style box, copies of which change hands for reasonable money on the rare occasion they appear for sale. It is a great pity this gig has been overlooked for re-release in a digital format, since the UBs are in top form throughout.

With only UB40’s debut, 1980’s ‘Signing Off’, having been released in an expanded format and no plans for any future reissues, it’s a travesty this release (or similar) is unlikely to ever appear. There’s a more than big enough gap in the market for it…


Disc 1 (The Studio Material)
Cherry Oh Baby
Keep On Moving
Please Don’t Make Me Cry
Sweet Sensation
Johnny Too Bad
Red Red Wine (Full Version)
She Caught The Train
Version Girl
Many Rivers To Cross
Red Red Wine (7” version)
I’ve Got Mine (7” version) [*]
Dubmobile [*]
Frilla [*]
Sufferin’ (w/Mikey Dread) [*]
Johnny Too Bad (Unexpergated Version) [*]
Cherry Oh Baby (Dub Mix) [*]
I’ve Got Mine (Extended Version) [*]
[* Previously unavailable on CD]

Disc 2 (Live at Hammersmith Odeon, October 1983)
Nkomo A-Go-Go
One In Ten
Red Red Wine
Keep On Moving
Don’t Let It Pass You By
Love Is All Is Alright
I’ve Got Mine
Johnny Too Bad
Sweet Sensation
Cherry Oh Baby
Please Don’t Make Me Cry
Present Arms
[all previously unavailable on CD]

Disc 3 (The DVD)
Labour of Love [Short Film, 30 mins]
Live at Hammersmith [60 mins, tracklist as above]