Reggae is a master of the version – the dub, the deejay cut, the alternative vocal. It’s a genre that has made an art form out of recycling and reusing rhythms and as a result is seen by many as the originator of the remix. Even with the help of online resources, unravelling the origins of a reggae or dub track can be a confusing process and many an hour can be spent disappearing down a wormhole attempting to trace a reggae rhythm back to its roots. To further complicate matters the original inspiration for a track can sometimes come from unexpected sources that lie outside the world of reggae. Such is the case with this record where the source material is in fact a traditional blues folk ballad made most famous by The Animals who recorded a version of it in 1964 that went on to top the UK charts - ‘ The House Of The Rising Sun.’
Hudson produces a sound that is distinctly his own by combining elements of heavy funk and psychedelic rock with dubwise reggae
In the hands of the record’s producer Keith Hudson the original tale of poverty stricken struggles set in the deep south of New Orleans gets transported to 70’s Jamaica with new lyrics sung by Delroy Wilson focusing on the themes of spiritual repatriation that were gaining prominence thanks to the rise of Rastafarianism and the roots reggae movement. However from a musical perspective this is certainly not a typical roots reggae record. Instead Hudson produces a sound that is distinctly his own by combining elements of heavy funk and psychedelic rock with dubwise reggae. The result is a unique genre defying record that works equally well within a funk, psych or reggae context.
Released in 1972 on Hudson’s short-lived Spur imprint the vocal version also got reworked into a beautifully laid back dub that appeared two years later on Hudson’s landmark ‘Pick A Dub’ album as the track ‘Michael Talbot Affair” thus making it a dub version of a reggae track that was a cover version of a 60’s chart topper, that was itself a version of a traditional blues folk ballad. A classic case of a version of a version of a version.
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