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Dick Greener
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Dick Greener

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Updated September 2005

After drumming for North London bands, Hudson (universally known as "Hud") ended up alongside John Ford in Five Proud Walkers and the Velvet Opera. Joining Strawbs with John Ford in 1970, initially on percussion, he also added esoteric Easter instruments such as sitar and tablas to the Strawbs' musical repertoire. A bit of a wild man on drums during the old Velvet Opera days he moved gradually to using a full kit again as the Strawbs music progressed from folk towards rock. His drum solo spot circa 1972 used to take him all round the stage, and on one occasion when Strawbs were playing in Central Park, NY, he climbed up on the scaffolding to incorporate that into his solo.

Accompanying each other through much of their early musical career, Hud and John formed a close working partnership, opting for joint credits on their collaborations (a la Lennon & McCartney). One of Hud's contributions was the haunting "Lady Fuschia", based on Mervyn Peake's recently televised "Gormenghast" novels. Leaving Strawbs in 1973, it was natural for them to continue that close working relationship in their new vehicle Hudson Ford. Hud switched to acoustic/electric guitars and took up a front row position alongside John (hence the initial name for the duo - Johnny and the Acoustic Kid). A first single "Pick Up The Pieces" (recorded by the two of them) charted and they followed with an album "Nickelodeon" including many of the songs they had been compiling during the last few years. They recruited a band around them including Chris Parren (who joined the Strawbs in the 80s), guitarist Micky Keen and drummer Ken Laws and recorded three more albums (Free Spirit", "Worlds Collide" and "Daylight"), touring extensively both in the UK and North America.

As the punk explosion obliterated many established acts, John and Hud "went native", notching up an unexpected hit with "Nice Legs, Shame About The Face", recorded as a demo for a band they were supposed to be producing, but the record company insisted on releasing it as it was. The Monks was the name of the band they formed around it, adding singer Terry Cassidy, and they went on to enormous success in Canada, though difficulties with record labels at home blunted their impact in the UK. Both Monks albums Bad Habits and Suspended Animation are now available on CD.

During this period, the result of a riotous afternoon's songwriting (alcoholic consumption too, no doubt) they hit on a vein of 30's style wordy melodies - "I Never Go Out In The Rain" - about as far from the Monks as you can get - and formed High Society around it. HighSoc's music is a close harmony time warp back to the days of Fred and Ginger - their sole album has been re-issued on CD by Cyberdisk.

Hud has of course been ever-present since the band reformed in 1983, both at the drumkit and as a tireless organiser. Both 1980/90s Strawbs albums contain Hudson material - Don't Say Goodbye has two Hudson tracks and Ringing Down The Years included two from the writing team of Demick/Hudson/Willoughby.

He gigs as well with a number of bands of widely differing styles ("I just enjoy playing" he says) and works closely with Terry Cassidy on other projects, including Fazz Music, a publishing company which controls Hudson, Ford and Cassidy's copyrights. Fazz negotiated the inclusion of "Part Of The Union" in television advertising for the Norwich Union insurance company. In 2001 a new song "Just Say No", an anthem for those opposing the single European currency, was released as a controversial single. Another political song "The Actor" satirised Tony Blair's position in the run up to the 2005 General Election.

In recent years, whilst playing frequent gigs with the Good Old Boys, the rock/blues band which also includes original Deep Purple bassist Nick Simper, and the Paul Millns Band, Hud has been concentrating on working with Terry Cassidy, playing guitar alongside Simon Bishop and Dickey Baldwin on the revitalised High Society band, honing its repertoire into a tightly knit blend of "Noel Coward and the Eagles"


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