I return for another Black History birthday bash, this one concerning a true music warrior.
He is 62 today, but he seems like he'd be a lot older given the staying power he has demonstrated over a nearly 40 year career.
His journey, in a strange and parallel way, kind of matches that of Mark E. Smith from postpunk maniacs The Fall, in that he's always been the driving force of one, singular band no matter the other personnel.
We'll get to MES -- who passed recently -- next month on his b'day as well, but today is all about Paul D. Hudson.
Just who is Paul D. Hudson, I hear you ask? Well, you probably know him by his stage name, which is just two, mighty letters: H.R.
H.R. stands for Human Rights, both in name and deed. Born this day in 1956, he was, is and will always be the frontman and creative engine of the seminal Rasta Punk band Bad Brains.
He's led this group, with varying personnel, since the late 1970s and he's still at it. That's something few artists can say.
Possessed of an almost evangelically-toned vocal delivery that is part Burning Spear and part Henry Rollins, you can hear roughly 11 seconds of any BB track and you'll know instantly who is on that microphone.
So to commemorate this auspicious occasion, I have placed cloudward a really fascinating and intimate documentary -- why it's never been issued on official DVD I could not tell you -- that traces the trajectory of H.R. and Bad Brains through the last 40 years.
A Band In D.C.
An intimate portrait of Bad Brains and H.R., directed by Ben Logan and Mandy Stein
Total time: 1:44:40
PAL DVD of the longer Director's Cut
3.93 GB PAL/February 2018 archive link
I hope you'll pull this down and check it out, cuz it's a marvelous portrait of this most exceptional and committed band and artist.
I shall return soon with more ebony jewels in February, as we celebrate just a few of the African-descended artists that help make the musical world what it is. But for now, it's a Happy Birthday #62 to H.R., and long may he swing those dreads with a mic in his hand.--J.