Present Arms (album)

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Present Arms
Standard vinyl/CD cover art
Studio album by UB40
Released 29 May 1981
Genre Reggae
Length 47:09
Label DEP International
Producer Ray Falconer, Bob Lamb, UB40
UB40 chronology
Signing Off
Present Arms
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Robert Christgau A− link

Present Arms is the second album by UB40 and was released in 1981. It spent 38 weeks on the UK album charts, reaching number 2. An album of original songs, it spawned two top 20 hits in 'One in Ten' (number 7) and 'Don't Let It Pass You By/Don't Slow Down' (16).

Like their first album Signing Off, Present Arms contained many socially and politically charged lyrics, from the anti-militant title track to 'Sardonicus' which was linked to both President Ronald Reagan and Risus sardonicus, an ironic smile on tetanus victims' faces, The UK top-ten hit "One in Ten" was an attack on Thatcherism. The album also touches on a subject very dear to UB40's heart: 'Lamb's Bread' and 'Don't Walk On The Grass' are written as part of the band's longstanding campaign for the legalisation of cannabis. Musically, the album continued in the heavy, reverb-drenched, mellifluous style of the debut.

The title track has been used to open UB40 concerts from the mid 1990s onwards, usually with the blasting horn section beginning the concert.

As with Signing Off, Present Arms was critically acclaimed and commercially successful in the UK.

A dub version of this album called Present Arms in Dub was released soon after.

Track listing LP[edit]

Disc One (Album)[edit]

Side 1

  1. "Present Arms" – 4:08
  2. "Sardonicus" – 4:29
  3. "Don't Let It Pass You By" – 7:45
  4. "Wildcat" – 3:04

Side 2

  1. "One in Ten" – 4:32
  2. "Don't Slow Down" – 4:28
  3. "Silent Witness" – 4:15
  4. "Lamb's Bread" – 4:48

Disc Two (EP)[edit]

With the original 1981 release was a 12" single (7" single in some countries) containing two instrumental tracks. These were added to the CD album.

  1. "Don't Walk on the Grass" – 5:07
  2. "Dr X" – 5:20

Track listing CD[edit]

  1. "Present Arms" – 4:08
  2. "Sardonicus" – 4:29
  3. "Don't Let It Pass You By" – 7:45
  4. "Wildcat" – 3:04
  5. "One in Ten" – 4:32
  6. "Don't Slow Down" – 4:28
  7. "Silent Witness" – 4:15
  8. "Lamb's Bread" – 4:48
  9. "Don't Walk on the Grass" – 5:07
  10. "Dr X" – 5:20

Please note when the Present Arms CD was created an obvious labelling error had occurred and in reality the music tracks "Don't walk on the Grass" and "Dr X" have been reversed with the wrong track label assigned to each other's song. ( Example Track 9..Written As Don't Walk on the Grass Is Actually DR X and vice-a-versa).

2015 CD Release[edit]

On 25 January 2015, Present Arms Deluxe Edition (3 Discs) shall be released. Track listing is unavailable as at November 2014.


  • Astro – Trumpet, Vocals, Toasting
  • Jimmy Brown – Drums, Vocals
  • Ali Campbell – Vocals, Guitar
  • Robin Campbell – Vocals, Guitar
  • Earl Falconer – Bass Guitar
  • Norman Hassan – Percussion, Trombone
  • Brian Travers – Saxophone
  • Michael Virtue – Keyboards
  • Ray "Pablo" Falconer – Producer

External links[edit]