Flesh Of My Skin Blood Of My Blood
Keith Hudson
Basic Replay-Indigo
April 19, 2005

Track list
  1. Hunting
  2. Flesh Of My Flesh
  3. Blood Of My Blood
  4. Testing My Faith
  5. Fight Your Revolution
  6. Darkest Night
  7. Talk Some Sense (Gamma Ray)
  8. Treasures Of The World
  9. My Nocturne
  10. I Shall Be Released
  11. No Friend Of Mine
  12. Stabiliser
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4
Ominously known as "The Dark Prince of Reggae," Keith Hudson was born into a musical family in Kingston, Jamaica in 1946. His musical education began as Hudson worked as a sort of roadie for Skatalite and Jamaican trombone king Don Drummond and he launched his career as a fourteen-year-old recording members of The Skatalites on his 'Shades Of Hudson'-riddim. By age 21, Hudson, who had been trained as a dentist, sunk his earnings into his own record label, Inbidimts, and had a hit with Ken Boothe's recording of "Old Fashioned Way." Not long after this chart success, the suddenly hot Hudson was producing some of the biggest names (and soon-to-be biggest names) in reggae - John Holt, Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, and the great toasters U-Roy and Dennis Alcapone - all of whom benefited from what would be Hudson's trademark production style: groove-centered, bass/drum-dominated, lean and mean stripped-down riddims. By the mid-'70s, Hudson began releasing more solo work, hitting paydirt from the start with his 1974 debut, "Entering The Dragon" and this intense second record, "Flesh Of My Skin Blood Of My Blood" for Brent Clarke's Tottenham based Atra imprint. This 1974 set was the first real solo flowering of Hudson as 'The Dark Prince of Reggae', with its overriding sombre and brooding atmosphere, but also righteous and proud, and his until this release by Basic Channel subsidiary Basic Replay been one of the 'holy grails' for reggae-collectors. It's in a way very laid back, as if the musicians were just having a jam session, anchored here by Santa Davis and George Fullwood from the Soul Syndicate - alongside musicians like Augustus Pablo on harmonica, Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation and Leroy Sibbles - kicking off with the instrumental Nyahbinghi "Hunting", followed by the song closest resembling 'standard reggae' "Flesh Of My Skin" and its version "Blood Of My Blood" both featuring the beautiful backing vocals of Candy and the latter featuring John Kpiaye's (later of Dennis Bovell's Dub Band fame) jazzy guitar. "Testing My Faith" clearly shows the loose vocal delivery by Keith Hudson of poignant lyrics asking why can't i be just like any other man, taken even one step further on "Fight Your Revolution" with its interspersed maybe tomorrow over a heavy bass driven riddim. "Darkest Night" has exactly the sound you would expect from a 'Dark Prince Of Reggae' with Keith Hudson lowered a bit over a haunting riddim. The slow jam "Talk Some Sense" (Gamma Ray) has again that beautiful contradiction between the sweet female backing vocals and Keith's this is our occasion sounding as if it has already slipped way and is followed by the somewhat cheesy synthesized riddim of "Treasures Of The World" with the most upful vocal delivery Keith Hudson is capable of. "My Nocturne" is a wicked piece of beautiful bass driven instrumental reggae, followed by Keith Hudson's take on Bob Dylan's (and before in 1969 for Studio One and later in 1977 for Lee Perry by the Heptones recorded) "I Shall Be Released". The lament "No Friend Of Mine" is a heartfelt accusation that is the last vocal track on the album, that closes with the organ workout "Stabiliser". Like one of its successors "Playing It Cool" a wicked aural trip just above 30 minutes into the tormented and dazed mood of Keith Hudson's genius.