Michael Rose

Happiness: The Best of Michael Rose

Heartbeat has harvested a nice selection from the career of former Black Uhuru front man Michael Rose. First off is one of Rose’s earliest recordings, which recycles the title and thrust of the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner into a two and a half minute allegory. Recorded in 1975, this original would be reworked by Sly and Robbie in 1979 to become a hit for Black Uhuru. Works from the Uhuru years follow, as the CD progresses chronologically into Rose’s solo years. Like Sly and Robbie, Rose has explored different styles of reggae, but this set remains cohesive, due mostly to Rose’s focus on sociocultural concerns. For example, “Short Temper” reminds wannabe gangsters that “a federal sentence is hard and heavy.” The last song, “Rough Life”—recorded nearly 30 years after his first—is an excellent 2003 reproduction of the vintage dancehall sound and proof that there are still roots in modern reggae. Also included on the enhanced portion of this CD is the video, “Short Temper (Performance Edit).”