Nuh Skin Up
Keith Hudson
Pressure Sounds
June 19, 2007

Track list
  1. Ire Ire
  2. Troubles
  3. Dreadful Words Dub
  4. Nuh Skin Up Dub
  5. Mercy
  6. Bad Things Dub
  7. Keeping Us Together
  8. Desiree Dub
  9. No Commitment
  10. Words Dub
  11. Bad Things Dub (Version Two)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Raised in a musical family, Keith Hudson aka the "Dark Prince Of Reggae" first worked as a dentist, but soon was hanging out with musicians like Don Drummond. He really entered the music business in 1968 by producing Ken Boothe's Jamaican hit "Old Fashioned Way". In the following months he worked with Delroy Wilson and John Holt and was the first to record DJ U Roy in 1969 with "Dynamic Fashion Way". Other DJ productions included tunes with Dennis Alcapone and Big Youth, whose 1972 released "S 90 Skank" became the DJ's biggest hit.

In 1974, Hudson released the ground-breaking "Pick A Dub", widely considered to have been the first deliberately thematic dub album, with tracks specifically mixed in the dub style for the purpose of appearing together on an LP. In the late 1970s he relocated to New York, where he became even more eccentric in what he produced, perhaps because he was removed from Kingston's latest trends in the dancehalls. The hugely talented Hudson died prematurely in 1984 from lung cancer.

In the trifecta of innovate dub albums that began with the classics "Pick A Dub" and "Brand", the long overlooked "Nuh Skin Up" -- originally released in 1979 -- is the final installment of the series. This set collects a variety of tracks recorded with the legendary Soul Syndicate band and 'a white reggae group from Baltimore' (according to the interview with Hudsonís close associate Junior Walker in the sleeve notes, playing on "Ire Ire" and "Troubles", and most likely also on "No Commitment"), and actually is the dub counterpart to the still unavailable "From One Extreme To Another", which was released on Hudson's own "Joint International" imprint. The tracks that feature the Soul Syndicate band might well date from the same sessions that make up "Brand", which were mixed at King Tubby's.

For the most parts the riddims are stripped down to the bare essentials, tight, snapping drum and bass workouts, with just the right dose of guitar and keys to remind you of the originals, and a judicious helping of space echo too! Here and there Hudson's tortured voice -- which is not to everybody's taste -- is featured right up front. Standout tracks on this deep, dark and brooding slab of dub are "Troubles", "Dreadful Words Dub", "Desiree Dub", "Bad Things Dub (Version 2)", and "Nuh Skin Up Dub" -- the vocal cut was issued on a highly sought after Greensleeves disco on the back of "Felt We Felt The Strain".

This atmospheric "Nuh Skin Up" set isn't quite as essential as "Pick A Dub" or the esteemed "Brand", but nevertheless it's a must-have for anyone interested in Keith Hudson's particular brand of seventies roots reggae music.