Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 13:19 UK

UB40 singer replaced by brother

By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Duncan Campbell (left), Robin Campbell (centre) and Maxi Priest
Duncan Campbell (left) and Maxi Priest (right) join Robin Campbell in the band

Former UB40 singer Ali Campbell is to be replaced in the band by his brother Duncan, with reggae singer Maxi Priest also bolstering the line-up on tour.

Ali Campbell, who fronted the group for 30 years, quit in an acrimonious fall-out earlier this year.

Duncan, a former professional spoon player, will join his other brother, guitarist Robin Campbell, in the group.

He said he asked for Ali's blessing before stepping in, but stressed they were not otherwise on speaking terms.

"I told him if he objected strongly, I wouldn't do it," Duncan said.

'Fresh wounds'

Ali replied that he was "disappointed but didn't object", according to Robin.

"But I haven't spoken to him since," Duncan added. "The wounds are fresh."

In January, Ali said he left the group because he was unhappy with the management of the band's financial and business affairs.

He's my kid brother and I felt dumped, as did every other member of the band
Robin Campbell on Ali

The remaining band members say he quit to go solo.

"He left to pursue a solo career for the financial benefits that that brings," Robin said. "That's what he told me."

Robin Campbell said the brothers' relations with Ali would "take a lot of healing".

"He's my kid brother and I felt dumped, as did every other member of the band," he told the BBC News website. "We felt deeply hurt and those things take time to heal.

"Obviously things are difficult, but he's my baby brother so it doesn't stop me loving him. I wish him all the very best.

"I'm just still disappointed and sad about the way it's happened, but life goes on and the band goes on."

UB40 with Chrissie Hynde and Ali Campbell on Top of the Pops in 1988
UB40 enjoyed hits like Red Red Wine, Rat In Mi Kitchen and Breakfast In Bed

The band are giving away a version of their new album, Twentyfourseven, with the Mail on Sunday newspaper this week.

The 10-track CD is the last work recorded with Ali Campbell.

An extended version with seven further tracks recorded since Ali's departure will go on sale in June.

It includes contributions from Maxi Priest, who will also perform with the band on tour in the UK, Europe and US later this year.

Priest is best known for his late-1980s and early-1990s hits such as Close to You and Wild World.

UB40 formed in Birmingham in 1978.

Professional spoon player

Duncan Campbell sang in a harmony group with his brothers when they were children and has performed with their father, Scottish folk singer Ian Campbell, on stage.

He said he had also recorded a reggae album in Jamaica for Ali's record label, but it was never released.

"I was the only professional spoon player in the country registered with the Musicians' Union - until they registered me as a vocalist," he added.

"I have suggested playing the spoons in UB40 but they don't seem very keen."

Discussing his previous jobs, Duncan said: "I opened and managed the first casino in Barbados, I ran a fish and chip shop in Perth, Australia, and I've been an actor on and off."

In a statement to the BBC News website, Ali said: "I wish 'Newbforty' - as the fans have dubbed them - well, and hope that Duncan gets a chance to feature his spoon-playing abilities!"


SEE ALSO
UB40 dismiss Ali Campbell claims
28 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
UB40 star felt compelled to quit
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Anger at Prince free CD giveaway
30 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
UB40 sign on with rugby anthem
02 Dec 03 |  Breakfast
UB40's concert for Sri Lanka
13 Dec 02 |  South Asia
UB40 go home for birthday concert
13 Sep 01 |  Entertainment

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