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4.8 out of 5 stars96
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 11 December 2011
There is a lot of criticism, not entirely justified, that UB40 became the reggae band for people who don't like reggae.Well, you pays your money and you takes your choice,but in my humble opinion, some of their most commercial stuff is very very good indeed. Before that however, there was this. A truly mighty, accomplished and extremely defiant debut album.Post punk, this identified with black britain in a similar way that the Clash had done for white disaffected teens.It challenges the norm socially (Eight black guys and one white guy in one band) Politically (more of which in a moment) and musically (reaching into deep Jamaican dub at a time when it certainly wasn't fashionable)and quite frankly redefines the idea of british protest music. Tyler ("is guilty. The white judges said so")King ("where are your people now? Chained and pacified.") Madame Medusa, Food for thought, the list goes on.A veritable feast of in your face direct challenge to the establishment.All set to a terrifyingly good dub/sax/reggae backing of a quality rarely seen or heard even now, and even more so back then. (There were other Bristish Reggae acts but none had the impact, the confidence, the sheer musical nerve of this band.)To think this was a debut is unimaginable. After 30 years it sounds as fresh and innovative as ever it did.Just breathtaking, and brilliant.
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on 28 April 2001
This is my favourite UB40 album, it sounds as though they're playing in your living room, very rootsy and Earl on Bass in pumping it very loudly. I truely believe that this album ranks alongside all-time reggae classics from Marley, Dennis Brown. This album opened up the way for a lot of artists in the UK to follow suite. Ali's voice sounds excellent and the band as a whole sound raw and full of genuine energy. There are so many highlights on this album (every instrumental for instance), but if I was forced to pick just one, it would have to be the fantastic King - a moving tribute to Martin Luthur King.
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on 12 May 2007
before they settled into a blander niche, ub40 were a mighty british reggae band with the avowed intention of bringing dub into the charts and the mainstream. how they succeeded! tyler, king, food for thought and burden of shame were heartfelt political statements of their time set to infectious grooves,weird echoey dubs and ali`s unique vocals. the standout track has to be "madam medusa" which is the finest anti-thatcher record ever(they encored with it at glastonbury 1983 a few days after the tories election victory, introducing it as more relevant than ever), almost 13 minutes long with one of the longest and most atmospheric dubs ever committed to record- simply outstanding and worth the price of the cd on it`s own. signing off is simply one of the finest reggae albums ever made,totally unique and never bettered- buy it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 January 2003
The first album, complete with the contents of the free ep record that was slipped in with the original LP.
A reminder of what a great band this was before it became the Reggae equivalent of Status Quo.
Fabulous songs beautifully presented. All that lush saxaphone riffing and passion.
A mighty rhythm machine. The only UB40 album you need.
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on 13 June 2009
Fantastic musical start to the Eighties, lyrics so relevant at the time, echo today's current political mess, this was a brilliant 1st album, brings back many great memories, PUNK, then Ska & 2 tone, wow
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on 24 March 2014
This is by far UB40's best album. I bought this album when it was first released on vynal and brings back happy memories. The CD starts off with the superb Tyler which sets the standard for the rest of the set. The extras include 12 inch versions of the hits and tracks not included on the original album (Dream a Lie, The Earth Dies Screaming). The DVD is a bonus as this includes a 45 minute live set from televisions Rock Goes to College and the group perform the songs with energy and enjoyment.
I already had an old copy of Signing Off on CD but decided to buy this Deluxe Edition because of the extras included and I am very glad that I did. I cannot recommend this highly enough and if you have an old copy of Signing Off, sell it and buy this Deluxe Edition - you won't be disappointed.
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on 4 December 2010
UB40'S Signing Off has always been one of my favourite albums of all time, with classic songs such as "King", "Food For Thought", "Tyler", "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" amongst others. This 30th Anniversary Edition is an excellent package, containing the original album remastered, a 2nd disc of B-sides, 12" Mixes and BBC Radio 1 Sessions and a DVD featuring the videos to the singles, debut appearance on BBC'S "Top Of The Pops" T.V show and the "Rock Goes To College" concert. Also inside is a booklet with the story behind the making of the album and comments from the band members. This is a fantastic collectors item.
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on 12 August 2012
I was fortunate to see one of their first gigs in London. Shared bill with other ska/reggae cross over bands. They were good if a little finding their live feet. What they lacked in dance sound they made up for in an ability to carry an improvisation and the political message they delivered was loud and clear. The release of this album in 1980 did not disappoint and I had seen them live again, where they were turning into the live monster they were to become. Reggae, beats, toasting and lots of effort to ensure the audience goes home having had a good time and been politicised a bit. So thirty two years on this is still a great album. It has a softness that hides the political bite and a unique style that UB40 carried as their own for so long. Vocals and dub and heart beat songs that move effortlessly from one to another. My copy of the CD has the great Thatcher polemic "Madam Medusa" which was out on 12 inch. It has survived much better than first albums by their compatriots "The Beat", "Selector" or "The Specials" and only "Steel Pulse's Handsworth Revolution" matches it. Summat in the Brummie wata at that time?
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on 25 February 2012
I have just been listening to this again after a long time away and feel compelled to add my five star review alongside the other connoisseurs of fine reggae assembled on this page.

This is UB40 at their edgy best - before the cover versions - combining knock -out tunes with spot-on lyrics. Many songs are political and reflect the tensions of the late 1970s' but the boys are playing like they mean it and many of the subjects they talk about are still relevant today. If i was to pick the best songs I'd go for Burden of Shame, I Think It's Going to Rain and the all-time classic Food for Thought. The album is also interspersed with a number of catchy dub numbers - some upbeat, some more dark but all first class.

I have to agree with another reviewer here who rates this among the finest reggae albums ever - up there with Bob's best.
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on 12 January 2014
I'm not a massive fan of the genre but this album was and will always be a favourite, so many classic tracks, King ,Tyler etc but one that often gets overlooked is their cover of 'Strange Fruit' which is completely haunting and other worldly. Sublime.
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