Showdown Inna Bloody Town
Since the early ‘90s, formidable raspy-voiced roots singer Michael Rose has undergone a slight change of name; he feels the spelling Mykal reflects his spiritual roots in Ethiopia. Rose’s lifelong preoccupation with Ethiopian culture has taken an interesting turn on Showdown Inna Bloody Town. Recorded in California by up-and-coming roots producer Siahvash Dowlatshahi, Showdown Inna Bloody Town boasts a unique blend of traditional-sounding roots textures, punchy drumming that sounds more suited to funk than the languorous rhythms of reggae, and, most surprisingly, sinuous horn and keyboard arrangements whose sinister, minor-key melodies recall the glory days of Ethiopian jazz and funk. That this unexpected blend of elements is successful is due largely to Rose’s skill and conviction as a performer. During his tenure with the legendary roots outfit Black Uhuru, Rose was responsible for thunderous anthems like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” and he imbues every song here with the unwavering intensity that characterizes his best work.