Keith Hudson & Friends ~ The Hudson Affair
Trojan Records
September 16, 2006

Track list

Disc 1:
  1. Old Fashioned Way - Ken Boothe
  2. Dynamic Fashion Way - U Roy
  3. Spanish Omega - Dennis Alcapone
  4. Old Broom - Keith Hudson
  5. (You Must Be) Popular - Keith Hudson
  6. Don't Start It Up - Keith Hudson
  7. Don't Get Me Confused - Keith Hudson
  8. Shades Of Hudson - Dennis Alcapone
  9. I'm Gonna Get You - Delroy Wilson
  10. Run Run - Delroy Wilson
  11. Big Bad Boy - Alton Ellis
  12. Jungle Of Crime - Dennis Alcapone
  13. We Will Make - Keith Hudson & Phillip Samuel
  14. Ace 90 Skank - Big Youth
  15. Fat Baby - Augustus Pablo
  16. Broken Contract - Zap Pow
  17. You Are Mine - Alton Ellis
  18. Riot - Soul Syndicate
  19. War Dance (aka Bongo Rio) - Soul Syndicate
  20. The Hudson Affair - U Roy
  21. Tribal Way - U Roy Junior
  22. Satan Side - Keith Hudson & The Soul Syndicate
  23. Africa - Delroy Wilson
  24. Boost It Up (aka Rudy Hot Stuff) - Keith Hudson
  25. Hot Stuff - I Roy
  26. Darkest Night On A Wet Looking Road - Keith Hudson
  27. Darkest Night Version - Hudson All Stars
Disc 2:
  1. Melody Maker - Keith Hudson
  2. Melody Maker Version 2 (Harmonica & Bongo Dub) - Mafia All Stars
  3. Can You Keep A Secret - Big Youth & Keith Hudson
  4. Don't Think About Me (I'm Alright) - Horace Andy & Earl Flute
  5. Don't Think About Dub - King Tubbys & The Mafia All Stars
  6. Jean You Change Everything - Keith Hudson
  7. The Betrayer - Earl Flute & Horace Andy
  8. Peter & Judas - Earl Flute & Horace Andy
  9. True True To My Heart - Keith Hudson
  10. Silver Platter - I Roy
  11. Fight On Fight On - Keith Hudson
  12. Satan Side Version (aka Kiss 14) - Augustus Pablo
  13. Class And Subject - Keith Hudson
  14. Class & Subject Version - Mafia All Stars
  15. Jah Lion Hungle - I Roy
  16. Barbican - Keith Hudson
  17. Smoke Without Fire - Keith Hudson
  18. Golden Snake - Johnny Clarke
  19. Golden Snake Version - Myrna Townsend All Stars
  20. African Bread - Little Clive
  21. Need Someone To Help Me - Eric Clarke
  22. Cynthia - Myrna Townsend All Stars
  23. Love I - The Soul Syndicate
  24. Healing Up The Land - Keith Hudson
  25. Torch Of Freedom - Keith Hudson
  26. Lost All Sense Of Direction - Keith Hudson
  27. Jonah Come Out Now - Keith Hudson (as Lloyd Lindburg)
  28. Jonah Version
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
This is an essential compilation that somehow, missed the reggae-vibes radar on first release -- so, time to remedy that -- A lot of nonsense has been written about Keith Hudson, who seems to have developed saint like hagiographic status, probably due to his premature death, and of course, the deep originality of the man's music. If you want to read good interpretations of the man and insight into his life/works, read what Penny Reel and Steve Barrow have to say. Those essential, and eruditely written accounts should be all that's needed, not forgetting of course, the insights to be surely found in Russ and Lol Disciples' extensive and impeccably reliable reggae musings, many of which can now be found on the net. Some of Reel's writings in particular, have a certain urban 18th century "Humprey Clinker" like quality which make them quite essential, compelling reading.

Hudson certainly attracted a lot of attention when he was alive too, not only amongst reggae and dub followers -- John Lydon is reported to have been a big fan, and Keith Levene, founder member of Flowers of Romance with Sid Vicious, founder member of PIL and The Clash, was also a major fan.

Even Ian Curtis was a serious fan, which, if one considers the offbeat, inexplicable darkness inherent in some (by no means all) of Hudson's music -- does make sense. Joy Division covered "Turn The Heater On."

Not all of Hudson's music was worthy -- though judging from his present day fans, you'd think if the man did little more than sigh on vinyl, or add an inconsequential echo in the production values, the record would be worth buying. Which of course is far from true -- in some cases, his voice was simply painful to listen to, and some of his compositions were irritatingly glib and flippant.

That said, there is little doubt about the man's overwhelming originality, and no doubt at all about the distinctive and atmospheric weirdness that surrounded many of his productions and set him above and apart from many of his competitors. Listening to the "Flesh Of My Skin" album is a strange experience, evoking heated, swamp blues imagery in the mind, sounding as if the patterns that emerged drew on the very same magical sources that Dr. John, Neville Bros, Robert Johnson or Professor Longhair explored. Dr John's Psychedelic swamp compositions such as the snake-magic seething cauldron of "Night Tripper" and "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" would have been right at home alongside the tunes on Keith Hudson's "Flesh Of My Skin." Check out the immediate, obvious similarities to Hudson's "Hunting" if you doubt it.

It is fair to say that there is very little in the reggae canon to compare to "Hunting", "Melody Maker", "I'm Alright" and the indescribable quasi ghetto funk of "Satan Side", itself so evocative of War's "Slipping Into Darkness"

As far as compilations go, it doesn't get much better than this -- from the eerie "Old Fashioned Way" which starkly, cleverly, contrasts ghostlike keyboard sounds with an old fashioned r n b mentality to great effect. Also noteworthy is the cyclical guitar structure on "Big Bad Boy", replete with its African township style horns section. Also featured is -- arguably -- one of the greatest dubs ever recorded, Horace Andy/Jah Whoosh's/Hudson's classic, "Don't Think About Me/aka I'm Alright", a tune which will resonate your bass cones so much it threatens to blow them clean off. "Darkest Night" has that road movie quality and sense of threat -- it deserves to have been in David Lynch's "Lost Highway."

Other tracks such as "Riot" and "Wardance" are all essential listening. Buy this album, "Brand" and "Flesh Of My Skin", and you will have perhaps the best tunes this uncategorizable artist laid on vinyl.

All in all, an excellent album for those of you who hate cliché in reggae music, and for those of you concerned about the ongoing tendency in today's reggae music to be unadventurous, and to churn out strictly formulaic and conservative music.