Day 14. A song you like that’s instrumental only

“Dance With The Devil” — UB40*

DanceWithTheDevilLet me start by saying that, on the whole, I like instrumentals. While some people may think that a song with no words is a cop-out, as if the songwriter is only doing half the work, I think that to write a song that holds your interest without vocals is a challenge. Well-done instrumentals are worthy of your attention.

Now that I’ve bored you with that (always a smart move when trying to keep people reading), I’ll move on to the rest of the post.

My introduction to UB40 was in 1985 when they released the cover of “I Got You Babe”they did with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. I didn’t pay much attention. Not really my thing.

In 1988 my friend Mark was my ride to school. Then he got a girlfriend and I got relegated to the back seat. Perfectly understandable, but I was nonetheless unimpressed to be stuck back there. I really don’t like riding in the back seat, even today.

To her credit, however, she introduced him to some new music, including Bob Marley. That was my first real introduction to reggae, and I kind of liked it.

One morning we were listening to something that, in my ignorance, I thought was Bob Marley. Turned out it was UB40. “Red Red Wine”was climbing the charts, no doubt to the simultaneous joy and dismay of UB40, since “Red, Red Wine” was five years old at that point and they’d recently released a new album that wasn’t getting much attention at all.

Because of that, I started paying attention to UB40. That year they toured, with one of the stops being Springfield at the then recently reopened Paramount Theater. We went to the concert, even though my only exposure was still only Labour Of Love.

After Ipso Facto (the opening act) finished, we waited. After what seemed like a very long time, some music started. The riff repeated for, again, what seemed like a long time before the band actually took the stage and the horns started. I like horns. So despite the wait, the band got my attention, and kept it throughout, even though I didn’t know many of the songs. It convinced me I needed to get more of their music.

Shortly thereafter I got their recently-released UB40album. (The one I mentioned before that hadn’t been getting attention.) I immediately recognized the first track on the album as the song that had started (and ended) the concert. If you’re paying attention (and if you’ll recall I told you to pay attention way back on Day 1) you should be able to figure out that song was today’s entry, “Dance With The Devil”

It’s a horn-infused instrumental (with reprise at the end of the album) that may very well be the best song on UB40. It was the start of a journey that culminated in my acquisition of a dozen albums, a bunch of singles, and a bootleg or two. (Ssshh. Don’t tell.)

So after all that, can I say that relegation to the back seat was worth the discovery of a band that has provided me who-knows-how-many hours of enjoyment?

No. No it wasn’t.

* Another change from the original choice last year. The original was “Charm” by Tony Banks. I love that song, but since no one but Genesis fans know that Tony Banks exists, I decided to go with an artist that was at least a little bit mainstream. I’m also trying to use songs and artists that you can actually get easily, thus the links to Amazon, and Tony Banks doesn’t fall into that category. Most of his stuff is available on CD, but not digitally. That said, if you still use CDs, I’d encourage you to check him out.