Former Black Uhuru frontman Michael Rose lets loose with another solid lineup of pop and reggae-infused tunes on his latest solo release, Never Give It Up. Well-known for his performances on such Black Uhuru hits as "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "Sinsemilla," and "Shine Eye Girl," the prodigious singer/songwriter continues to demonstrate that he has not lost his mellifluous sense of phrasing and relaxed vocal style. On "Big Ting," a song that celebrates love in the face of a modern world's woes, Rose flows in and out of choruses easily, stretching his range without compromising his laid-back vocal power. The CD's title track, "Never Give It Up," also highlights the singer's wide-ranging vocalizations, this time with lyrics concerned about wayward youth. A tasteful quartet of backup singers complements the reggae star's efforts in many choruses on the album. The actual music was digitally created by Karl Pitterson and Doctor Paul. Their musical creations, with their electronic and sample-saturated mixes, are far removed from the indefatigably grooving days when drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare played with Rose. Though most of Pitterson and Paul's creations have a reggae air, many standard pop elements come through loud and clear. Nonetheless, keenly placed percussion samples on such songs as "Small World," along with some catchy horn lines and interesting variations on song forms, make the music engaging. All in all, Never Give It Up, Rose's eighth CD solo release for Heartbeat, demonstrates the singer's skill in writing moving lyrics and his dexterity in performing behind the microphone. It's a fine addition to the Rose discography and a testament to the artist's resolute determination to keep making conscientious music.
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AllMusic Review by John Vallier