Michael Rose – Warrior (2006) / Warrior Dub (2007)

michael rose warrior 2006
“Over the course of a long and storied reggae career, Michael Rose has really never made a bad album, and some of his strongest recordings have been the recent ones he’s made in collaboration with bassist and producer Ryan Moore (who records on his own under the name Twilight Circus Dub Sound System). So one approaches Warrior with high hopes, and if those hopes aren’t entirely borne out, that’s not to say that this isn’t a completely serviceable and very enjoyable album. The problem is that Rose doesn’t sound completely engaged with the music — his lyrics are as roots-wise and hortatory as ever, but in many cases they sound halfhearted and too often they fall back on familiar tropes and clichéd phrases. The rhythms over which he sings are as powerful as you’d expect, given the producer and the presence of such A-list sessioneers as Dean Fraser, Chinna Smith, Skully Sims, and Sly Dunbar. But without the sharp, keening edge of righteous indignation that animates Rose’s best work alone and with Black Uhuru, the result is just very good roots reggae. Highlights include the encouraging ‘Little Bit More’ and the lovely ‘Dangerzone’ (which features a gloriously rich one-drop rhythm and subtly complex horn charts), and the rest varies between pleasant and really very pleasant. A must for Rose’s many fans, but others may want to start elsewhere.”

YouTube: Warrior 41:19
00:00 Warrior – 04:00 Freedom – 07:35 Youth Nowadays – 12:14 Zion – 16:29 Longtime – 20:31 Them A Look – 25:22 Dangerzone – 29:00 Solid Ground – 34:13 A Little Bit More – 38:30 Nature

“One of the quietest but most exciting developments in reggae music since the turn of the new century has been bassist and producer Ryan Moore’s decision to branch out from his usual solo work — creating one-man band instrumental dub albums of spectacular quality — and work as producer and accompanist to some of roots reggae’s top talents, including Black Uhuru alumnus Michael Rose. The only thing surprising about this album, a dub version of the Warrior release from 2006, is the fact that it took a year for Moore to mix and release it. As one might expect, though, it was well worth the wait. Moore has the good sense to leave generous swaths of Rose’s vocal in the mix, and on tracks like ‘Zion Dub’ and ‘Long Time Dub’ that voice floats in and out in a ghostly manner, while the instrumental backing tracks (provided by such A-list sessioneers as Sly Dunbar, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Dean Fraser, and Moore himself) echo and decay around him. It’s a rare producer who can both channel the sounds of ’70s Jamaica so accurately and also maintain the modern listener’s interest, but Moore has been doing just that for more than 20 years now. Vintage reggae fans shouldn’t hesitate to snap this one up, along with its companion vocal album.”

YouTube: Warrior Dub 38:43
00:00 Warrior Dub – 03:23 Zion Dub – 07:41 Freedom Dub – 11:27 Youth Dub – 15:15 Them A Dub – 19:33 – Longtime Dub – 25:14 Solid Dub – 27:45 Danger Dub – 30:52 Stepping Dub – 34:10 Nature Dub – 37:14 Nature Dub – Reprise


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