Getting to know Keith Hudson againWednesday, November 24, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
OFTEN cited as reggae's most creative period, the 1970s produced a number of visionary producers including Lee “Scratch” Perry, Glen Brown, Augustus Pablo and Keith Hudson.
The latter, who died in 1984 from cancer, produced classic songs such as Old Fashioned Way by Ken Boothe and S90 Skank from Big Youth. As an artiste Hudson's finest moment was Flesh of my Skin, Blood of my Blood (full name The Black Breast Has Produced Her Best, Flesh Of My Skin, Blood Of My Blood), an album released in 1974.
It was reissued on vinyl and compact disc on October 22 by the VP Music Group. For the first time, it is available digitally.
Like Hugh Mundell's Africa Must be Free by 1983 and The Heart of The Congos by The Congos, Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood is a cult favourite in Europe. It was first released in the United Kingdom and is Hudson's fourth album.
Carter Van Pelt, director of catalogue development at VP, said Flesh of my Skin is more than just a reissue. It is an opportunity to rediscover Hudson's genius.
“On one level, I think it's important for Jamaicans to know the vastness and quantity of recorded music that has come from the country, be proud of it and never stop learning about it. Hit songs and 'big chunes' leave out that half that's never been told, the deeper knowledge. There is always more to discover, such as Keith Hudson,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Flesh of my Skin, Blood of my Blood contains songs such as Hunting which features Count Ossie And The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari; Flesh of my Skin, Blood of my Blood;and Darkest Night. It earned strong reviews when it was first released and in 2004 the album was reissued by German company, Basic Replay.
Like Perry and Pablo, Keith Hudson had an interesting story. Born in west Kingston, he learned the music production ropes while hanging out at Studio One during the early 1960s, and later kicked off his career as a producer with deejay Dennis Alcapone's Shades of Hudson.
Most of his productions were driven by funds from his job as a dental assistant. In the 1970s as roots-reggae gathered steam, Hudson was a sought after producer, especially after scoring with the toe-tapping Old Fashioned Way and S90 Skank, which appealed mainly to 'rude bwoys'.
“If you study the case of Keith Hudson, he was very deliberate in making reggae that didn't sound like anything else coming out of Kingston back then. For example, in the early 70s, you could hardly find a reggae song without drums. On Fight Your Revolution, from Flesh Of My Skin, the arrangement is just guitars and a vocal chant with a harmonic chorus — and it's brilliant,” Van Pelt noted. “On other tracks he uses sound effects and different approaches to percussion, and the album is thoughtfully sequenced for the LP format, with an 'A' side and a 'B' side that are distinct.”