Rasta Communication (DeLuxe Edition)
April 15, 2012
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
One of the most interesting re-releases we received lately on our desks has to be the Keith Hudson set 'Rasta Communication-DeLuxe Edition'.
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. 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 his intense second record, 'Flesh of my Skin' 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', the overriding atmosphere was sombre and brooding, but also righteous and proud. In 1976, Hudson relocated to New York City and worked pretty much nonstop, producing as well as recording solo records up until 1982. He succumbed to lung cancer in 1984, at age 38, robbing reggae of one its greatest, most adventurous, and unheralded producers and performers.
'Rasta Communication-DeLuxe Edition' is a 2cd package, containing the 1978 vocal album 'Rasta Communication' and the 1977 dub album called 'Brand'. Both sets are considered true classic albums. The 'Rasta Communication' album was released on Hudson's Joint label in New York, and later on Greensleeves in the UK. Unusually prefacing the 'Rasta Communication' vocal set was the 1977 companion dub album known as 'Brand' (sometimes called 'The Joint' and here called 'In Dub') also released on Joint and only available on import into the UK. Furthermore we are treated to some awesome extras. First there's the 12" disco mix of the anthemic Nah Skin Up which was released in 1979 as the GRED 26 12" single, backed with Felt We Felt The Strain and there's also the 12" version of Bloody Eyes/Bloody Eyes Dub. Finally we get two rare Jamaican single mixes of Rasta Country and (Jonah) Come Out Now and the previously unreleased dub tune I Broke The Comb Dub.
If you're not familiar with Keith Hudson's outings it's likely you will have to get used to the man's strictly unique vocal delivery, because during his whole career his idiosyncratic method was 'neither profitable nor popular'.
'Rasta Communication' is a classic album, with Hudson upping the political situation on songs like the awesome Felt We Felt The Strain and the magnificent Bloody Eyes. Tracks like I'm Not Satisfied, I'm No Fool and I Won't Compromise defined Keith's revolutionary artistic stance. Check out the truthful Rasta statements on several other songs like Rasta Country and Rasta Communication.
What more can we say? Get this one!