Keith Hudson’s Nuh Skin Up was something else. Some fine 12″ version vinyl had been emerging from Jamaica for a few years – one being Hudson’s ‘Brand’ from ’77. But suddenly there was this menacing and downright angry piece of dub, sonically pushing the limits.
Hudson was more the producer than singer, with a solid backing from one of Kingston Jamaica’s most important session bands, Soul Syndicate, putting down the riddim. Syndicate music was behind many of the big hitters of the day, including Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs. They played on a lot of cuts for Bunny Lee under the name Aggrovators. Serious musicians.
To top it off, that famous bass line was laid down by Channel One star Robbie Shakespeare of Sly and Robbie fame. This was a brooding, bluesy sound quite unlike any of the music I’d heard from Jamaica thus far. Classic deconstruction, with the song slowly breaking down to the solid bass line and the effects-laden keyboard riff. Hypnotic and foreboding it seemed prophetic of darker times to come.
Nuh Skin Up means ‘Don’t smile’…