Torch Of Freedom
Keith hudson
Hot Milk
February 3, 2013

Keith Hudson Track list
  1. Lost All Sense Of Direction
  2. Jah Jah
  3. Don't Look At Me So
  4. Look At Me
  5. Don't Let The Teardrops Fool You
  6. Tear Drops
  7. Like I'm Dying
  8. Turn The Heater On
  9. So Cold Without You
  10. Five More Minutes Of Your Time
  11. My Time
  12. Torch Of Freedom
  13. Freedom Movements
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Keith Hudson was unarguably one of the most adventurous singers/producers/dentists in Reggae history. His music is pure Heart and Soul. His compelling spirit takes the listener into a universe beyond description. His most sought after release, 1975's "Torch Of Freedom", has resurfaced and has been remastered by the dedicated posse from Hot Milk Records.

In the late 1960's to the mid 1970's, Keith's groundbreaking productions like Delroy Wilson's "Run Run", Big Youth's "S-90 Skank", U-Roy's "Dynamic Fashion Way" and Dennis Alcapone's "Spanish Omega" set him apart as one of the first truly unique independent producer's from Jamaica. Yes, he could sing and drill teeth, too. In 1974, he released the spiritual depth charge, "Flesh Of My Skin", which blew the public away like a hurricane! The following year, "Torch Of Freedom" emerged and just faded away. There's a story behind this album. Hudson came to England with fresh riddims from the Soul Syndicate and the Barrett brothers recorded at Dynamic Studios. Brent Clarke booked time at the famed Morgan Studios (London) and linked with backup vocalist Candi McKenzie, guitarist Buster Pearson, percussionist William Brown and synthesizer king Ken Elliot (very unique in that time). Engineer Sid Bucknor (ex-Studio One) was brought in to blend these different musical stylings into something magic.

"Torch Of Freedom" is one of the first showcase albums (vocals/dub) and it's blazing hot. Lost All Sense Of Direction features the Barrett Brothers, the core of the Soul Syndicate (Fully-organs, Santa-drums, Chinna-guitar and Robbie-bass) and the aforementioned musicians brought in. Keith's eerie vocals about love problems is more of a stream of meditation than pure structure but totally works. The blending of rock solid Roots riddim and Pearson's blazing guitar and Elliot's syn work is groundbreaking. The version, Jah Jah, is a dense mix that goes for miles. Don't Look At Me So is the same musical setup (minus Barrett Brothers) and is a reflective song that runs deep. Look At Me is a great version that features the subtle work of Chinna and Buster's almost Hendrix guitar work - wow. Don't Let The Teardrops Fool You is a cutting edge love song with intelligence - "There'll be a time when you realize that you've been the victim of the teardrops in her eyes". Teardrops is a version that drops all barriers, all goes into another realm.

Like I'm Dying is a heartfelt plea from Keith. His delivery is stripped down to a pulsing heartbeat. Once again, the fusion blend is intoxicating; the use of fuzz and wah-wah guitars is ingenious. Turn The Heater On (covered by New Order) is a fantastic anthem, expressing England's cold and Keith's longing for love. So Cold Without You is an adventurous version with all players with cards on the table. Five More Minutes Of Your Time brings the Barrett brothers back and adds another dimension. This love song defies tradition and nices up Creation. My Time is a serious version that shows why Mr. Marley retained this drum and bass duo for so many years. The title track blazes with reality and is a joyous song amidst the many songs of lost and longing love. Freedom Movements is just pure symphony.

Throughout his career, Keith Hudson was innovative and groundbreaking. "Torch Of Freedom" is the ultimate testament to his word, sound and power. Virgin Records signed him shortly after the initial release of this album, trying to capitalize on his vision. He realized that his vision was best undiluted and continued triumphantly until passing onto Zion in 1984, whilst working with his loyalists, Aston and Carlton Barrett. R.I.P Keith and Carlie. Go deh.