A producer turned performer, Hudson always created music of worth and note that developed a very particular style over the 1970’s. He never crossed into the mainstream but many people’s collections feature his albums and singles. His death at the age of 42 saw reggae loose a maverick.
The early 1970's productions were also marked a growing number of quality instrumentals like Dizzy & the Soul Syndicates 'Riot' (a cover of Hugh Masekela's hit), and three fine pieces from Pablo 'Satan Side', 'Killer' and 'Fat Baby'. Finding Hudson's releases was never easy and only some got UK pressing, on a wide variety of imprints. He managed to capture Big Youth as he broke through with 'Ace 90 Skank' – an ode to the joys of Yamaha S 90 – and give the record the authentic sound of the bike revving up by brining the bike into the studio. During this time Hudson worked with a Ghetto entrepreneur Keith Hobson (no relation) and together they produced a series of singles on the Big Style, Stamma and Atom labels. He appears Hobson provided money and Hudson helped with the production skills required.
His first album set in 1974 is rightly hailed as a classic. 'Flesh of my Skin Blood of my Blood' created a extraordinary mix of instrumental and vocal tracks that jelled together fabulously well. Hudson unique voice lives the mournful history of the Black Race and its future. Two further albums followed in 1975: 'Pick A Dub' and 'Torch of Freedom', with 'Pick a Dub' becoming a smokers delight in rooms across London. Both suffered from the common reggae problem of poor distribution. Something that was about to change when Hudson signed to the UK's Virgin records – at a time when Hudson relocated to New York.
The set for Virgin, 'Too Expensive' was largely a failure. Hudson released a dub set 'Brand' on his new joint imprint. If Hudson's music had been difficult to find in the past, these US issues surfaced infrequently and saw Hudson head off into a very particular form of Dub reggae. He also returned to producing with Militant Barry on the mic, but Hudson was out on a limb.
In 1984 a diagnosis of cancer proved to be correct and he died before the year was out. His often unique style, strange array of imprints and limited releases have seen his music sort after in recent years – with large prices for his most obscure releases being realized.
Feb 16, 2011 (Apr 6, 2011 Update) Text by Jeremy Collingwood