Keith Hudson “Dark Prince of Reggae” & Debut Album Reissued
Keith Hudson is one of the producers/ artists that you know of, you’ve heard of and even know much of his material but mostly probably overlooked. I know I certainly have not spent much time with his body of work. It might be because he died rather young at just 38 too.
He started out producing records such as his first release in 1969 the #1 hit: “Old Fashioned Way,” by Ken Boothe. He worked with the best of the island including U-Roy, Dennis Alcapone, Delroy Wilson and and Alton Ellis. He gained larger acclaim working with the likes of Soul Syndicate, Big Youth and others into the 70’s before taking the mic for even more great tunes.
Redbull Music Academy posted a great article about the artist that’s well worth a read. In it they go into detail about his early life and his. I liked this comment to help describe who the man was myself: His classy threads, says key collaborator George “Fully” Fullwood, were complimented by “a rudeboy stare that could stop you in your tracks.” The adolescent Hudson had become a reggae fanatic and an apostle of Sir Coxsone The Downbeat, and his fascination with the music industry prevented him being sucked into the criminal gang culture that would all too readily have claimed him.
Noted NME reggae writer Penny Reel has a great story from 1978 where it’s recounted about a show Hudson was spinning at and stops Penny Reel in the corridor [of the club] and offers his own explanation of the Vernon’s Yard affair (in reference to the eight LP deal with Virgin Records which commenced in 1976 with ‘Too Expensive’). “They tried to make a Bob Marley out of me,” he harangues, “But Bob Marley is not me and I am not Bob. Bob Marley is my elder brother, he is a Reuben and I am a Joseph so Bob mus’ come first. It is written I am given to go forward in my own way, not as Bob Marley but as Keith Hudson.”
Well a couple of years ago a few different versions of his debut album Entering The Dragon ,originally released on Magnet Records, was re-released on CD and Vinyl. The set is a masterful 70’s style Reggae outing from an amazing producer in his prime.
Dancecrasher originally posted this in 2011 when it came out. I’m just getting caught up posting some reviews etc. At the time they said: There were two sides to Keith Hudson’s musical career, his producing and his singing. Production wise he was top flight and he enjoyed considerable success from the late sixties well into the 70?s. As a singer he was at best an aquired taste and it’s no great surprise that he recorded only for himself and no other producer employed him for this “talent”.
As such Entering The Dragon out on vinyl LP on Sunspot Records on the 20 June is something of a mixed bag. The title track, on a version of Rockfort Rock, and the instrumentals such as Man From Shooters Hill (on Riot) and War War (on Melody Maker) are all cracking tunes and the drum and bass workouts to some of the vocals are great too, it’s just for the most part the six vocal tracks are hard work.
FACT Magazine posted about the reissue when it first came out mentioning that Keith Hudson, nicknamed “The Dark Prince of Reggae” recorded [the album] in ’74, the debut solo full-length is a strange brew, though it doesn’t quite chart the heights of weirdness of his languorously psychedelic later work. Tautly rhythmic, it includes covers of Hugh Masekela, Phyllis Dixon and Maxine Brown.
Entering The Dragon has been reissued a fair few times over the years, most recently by Trojan/Santuary in 2006, on that occasion as a 30 track CD featuring the following tracks:
1. Blackbelt Jones (Entering The Dragon)
2. Man From Shooters Hill
3. Will You Come Out Tonight (Don’t Stay Away)
4. Now That You’re Leaving (No Way)
5. Rage Of Love (Now That You’re Leaving Dub)
6. Too Possessive And You Know It Baby (Fly Away)
7. War War
8. Like You Going To A Fair (You’re Still A Little Girl)
9. You’re Still A Little Girl Dub
10. It Was When Friends Started To Talk About You (I Never Heard About You)
11. I Don’t Know You Dub
12. Oh No Not My Baby
13. Words So True Dub
15. Light Of Day
16. I Thought You Knew
17. All I Need Is Your True Loving
18. Bandaloo Skank (Musical Jest)
19. All That We Need Is Love
20. Love Version
21. The Exile Song (Adisababa)
22. In The Burning Sun (Jah Ho)
23. Strayed In Babylon
24. Skin Him Alive
25. Musical Rock
26. Entering The Dragon (Blackbelt Jones Version)
27. Lightning And Thunder
28. Like I’m Dying
29. Shoulder To Shoulder
30. Shoulder Rock
This issue (licenced from Trojan) takes us back to basics and the album returns to how it was originally conceived, 13 tracks that show both sides of the enigmatic genius that was Keith Hudson. Sunspot’s vinyl reissue includes 12? x 12? insert with liner notes and track-by-track breakdown including the following tracks below which you can sample here.