Judge Dread – The Skinhead Reggae Albums 1972-1976

by Apr 28, 2023Artist, Reviews

Judge Dread - The Skinhead Reggae Albums 1972 - 1976

Release Info

Label
Pressure Drop
Format
4CD Box Set
Street date
April 28, 2023
Contact
Website Record Label

Tracklist

Disc 1
1. All In The Mind
2. Big Six
3. Deception
4. Dr. Kitch
5. Oh! She Is A Big Girl Now
6. Mary Ann
7. Big Seven
8. Ding-A-Ling
9. Donkey Dick
10. The Biggest Bean You’ve Ever Seen
11. The Blue Cross Code
12. Dread’s Almanack
13. One Armed Bandit
14. Dread (Judge Dread Sound)

Disc 2
1. Big Eight
2. Take Off Your Clothes
3. The Belle Of Snodland Town
4. The Big Five
5. Dread’s Law
6. Big Nine
7. Je T’aime (Moi Non Plus)
8. Grandad’s Flanalette Nightshirt
9. What Kung Fu Dat
10. The Big One
11. Mind The Doors
12. Molly
13. Nine And A Bit Skank
14. Dance Of The Snods
15. (Hey There) Lonely Girl (J.D. Alex)
16. Grass-Hopper (J.D. Alex)

Disc 3
1. Bedtime Stories
2. Je T’aime
3. What A Beautiful Pair
4. Rudeness Train
5. The Six Wives Of Dread
6. This Little Piece Of Dinkle
7. Last Tango In Snodland
8. Big 10
9. Trenchtown Billy
10. Move Over Darling
11. Anna (The Main Men)
12. Look A Pussy
13. Rasta Chat (Dread And I)
14. The End Of The World (Jason Sinclair)
15. The Golden Fleece (Jason & The Arganoughts)
16. Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (The Baboons)
17. Tammy (Jason Sinclair)
18. Stonesfield (Jason & The Argonaughts)
19. Christmas In Dreadland

Disc 4
1. Bring Back The Skins
2. A Rhyme In Time
3. Dread Rock
4. Workers Lament
5. The Winkle Man
6. Take It Easy (But Take It)
7. Come Outside
8. Fatty Dread
9. Y Viva Suspenders
10. Banana Throat Song
11. Bring Back The Skins (Reprise)
12. Al Capone ’76 (The Dreadnaughts)
13. Mexican Hustle (The Dreadnaughts)
14. Confessions Of A Bouncer
15. Jamaica Jerk (Off)
16. Big Everything
17. End Of The World
18. Up With The Cock!
19. Big Punk
20. Swan Lake ’77 (The Dreadnaughts)
21. Nice Weather (For Ducks) (The Dreadnaughts)

Judge Dread, real name Alex Hughes, is the artist who took ‘Rudeness Reggae’ into the UK charts during the ’70s. Before using the Judge Dread name Alex worked as a bouncer at the Ram Jam club in London where he met Jamaican artists like Derrick Morgan and Prince Buster. He also worked as a DJ at a local radio station and as a debt collector and security guard for Trojan Records. Without radio plays he still managed to enter the UK charts with a number of his recordings and became an icon amongst the Skinhead population and also made his mark in other countries.
This 4CD 70-track Box Set covers the four studio albums released by Judge Dread with numerous charting singles and B-sides from 1972-1976. This box set comes with a booklet featuring detailed liner notes and pictures of all relevant records and many rare overseas picture sleeves. We now take a look at a selection of the original album tracks along with the bonus tracks.

DISC ONE : DREADMANIA – IT’S ALL IN THE MIND

2: BIG SIX. This release made it to No.11 in the UK charts and comes based around several nursery rhymes and has a pulsating rhythm track. Original release Big Shot, No.11 in UK singles chart in 1972, selling over 300,000 copies. Stayed 27 weeks on chart. 4: DR KITCH. A mid-tempo number on which the vocalist is joined by a backing vocalist from time-to-time. Nice organ riff on this. 5: OH! SHE IS A BIG GIRL NOW. Released on 7″ in 1973 and another track with a chug-along rhythm. Naturally the vocal tells of getting pregnant and it goes around-and-around. 7: BIG SEVEN. Co-written by Rupie Edwards, this is a mid-tempo number going back to the nursery rhyme theme. This comes with a heavy backing track and becomes infectious, good to sing the chorus. No.8 in UK singles chart in 1972, staying 18 weeks on chart. 8: DING-A-LING. This is nothing more than a mid-tempo version of the Chuck Berry UK hit with some different words. 9: DONKEY DICK. Faster track on which the vocal is based around a day at the seaside. Another risky vocal and good musicianship. 11: BLUE CROSS CODE. This is a take on the ‘Green Cross Code’ and comes with a faster rhythm track. The vocal reminds the listener that they will never be alone with the ‘Blue Cross Code’. 12: DREAD’S ALMANACK. The whole recording is based around a ‘God Rest You Merry Gentleman’ rhythm. The backing is mid-tempo and chug-along.

BONUS TRACKS:

13: ONE ARMED BANDIT. This is the B-side to ‘Big Six’ and is credited to Judge Dread although as an instrumental this cannot be the artist. In fact it is Greyhound doing a version of ‘Tell It Like It Is’ recorded in a Reggae vein by Nicky Thomas. It comes with a mid-tempo rhythm and is organ dominated. 14: DREAD (JUDGE DREAD SOUND). Another instrumental credited to The Judge Dread Sound and is most likely to be Greyhound. A catchy number with a fast rhythm and organ dominated. This is the B-side to ‘Big Seven’.

DISC TWO: WORKING CLASS ‘ERO

1: BIG EIGHT. This is a fast-moving sound and is lightly based around nursery rhymes. Again this comes with a sing-along chorus and punchy rhythm track. No.14 in the UK chart in 1973, staying 10 weeks on chart. 3: THE BELLE OF SNODLAND TOWN. This was the B-side to a recording called ‘Skinhead’ on Harlem Shuffle Records and it starts off with a piano intro before moving into a fast-moving number. This tells of a female in his home town of Snodland, Kent, the vocal is spoken rather than sung and it has a male chorus on the backing track. 4: BIG FIVE. Released in 1974 on 7″ it starts off slowly before moving into a Calypso sound. The song was co-written and recorded by Prince Buster, based around ‘Rainy Night In Georgia’ and strangely did not make the UK charts. 6: BIG NINE. Starting off with a national anthem intro it then moves into a fast sound with a chug-along backing. Another sing-along chorus and is based around the nursery rhyme theme. Not able to find its way into the UK chart. 7: JE T’AIME (MOI NON PLUS). A risky version of the Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsborough hit and comes as a duet between a female and The Judge with a chug-along backing that has a catchy organ riff. The vocals are spoken and ends up as a catchy track. No.9 in the UK charts in 1975, staying 7 weeks on the chart. 10: THE BIG ONE. Starting off slowly before moving into a mid-tempo number on which the vocal is spoken. A childs chorus comes in from time-to-time. The backing track is punchy, failed again to make the UK chart.

BONUS TRACKS:

11: MIND THE DOORS. This comes as an instrumental with weird vocal noises, could be Judge Dread as he is given the credit for this track. Nice chug-along rhythm and ends up a catchy number. Released on the Big Shot label via Trojan Records. 12: MOLLY. A mid-tempo favourite Judge Dread track that gives an idea of how good his vocal can be. Good story line to this and DR KITCH was on the B-side. 15: HEY THERE LONELY GIRL. Originally a UK hit for Eddie Hollman way back and is Judge Dread under the name J D Alex. If you think he was a one trick pony take a listen, the vocal is good and does justice to the original. More like this later. 16 GRASS HOPPER. Again the vocalist comes as J D Alex and the original recording was on the Horse label. It is an out-and-out instrumental and is nothing outstanding, B-side to the previous track.

DISC 3: BEDTIME STORIES

1: BEDTIME STORIES. This comes as the title track to the original album and has a spoken intro that, as you would expect, is risky and continues in that vein. The rhythm track is fast and is overall a catchy well put together track. 4: RUDENESS TRAIN. Again comes with a spoken vocal over a slow rhythm track. And plenty of moans and groans on this. Nothing outstanding about this, just Judge Dread on a fiction train journey. 7: LAST TANGO IN SNODLAND. A Slow rhythm track and a spoken vocal between Judge Dread and a female. This is one of the tracks that has a more near the mark tracks and the backing track is surprisingly catchy. 8: BIG 10. This was released as a 7″ on the Cactus label and the vocal is semi-spoken and funny. The rhythm track is mid-tempo and ends up as a catchy track. 10: MOVE OVER DARLING. This is another slow version of the Doris Day release from the ’60s, obviously with different words. The vocal comes with a female coming in-and-out throughout.

BONUS TRACKS:

14: END OF THE WORLD (JASON SINCLAIR). Originally a hit for Sandy Posey in the ’60s and is a cool Reggae version. It comes with a classy vocal from Judge Dread and the song lends itself well to the Reggae vein. It is Judge Dread on the vocal, again under another of the several names he used for recording to try and get radio plays. 17: TAMMY. (JASON SINCLAIR) This time around Judge Dread records with an alternative name and gives his rendition of a song originally recorded by Skeeter Davis. The vocal is pleasing and again as a 7″ it was released on the Cactus label via Trojan Records. 19: CHRISTMAS IN DREADLAND. Back to being Judge Dread on a track that is based around the ‘Holly And The Ivy’ carol. The vocal is semi-spoken and it is not what one expects as a Christmas release but good fun nevertheless. This tracks is the final one on this disc.

DISC 4: LAST OF THE SKINHEADS

1: BRING BACK THE SKINS. Starting off with a spoken intro it moves into a mid-tempo sound with a chug-along rhythm track. It tells the story of being a skinhead and comes from 1974. It is a catchy track and gets one’s feet tapping. 3: DREAD ROCK. Coming with a spoken vocal it moves along at mid-tempo pace. It tells of a day at the seaside and is a sing-along number when the chorus comes in. Another fun sound and makes for good listening and released on the Cactus label 5: THE WINKLE MAN. Starts off slowly before moving into a fast number with a sung/spoken vocal. Nice catchy rhythm track. 7: COME OUTSIDE. Originally a hit for Mike Sarne in the ’60s, this as with the original features not only Judge Dread but a female on the vocal. The pace is fast and the song lends itself to this Reggae version. One of the best tracks from the original album. 9: Y VIVA SUSPENDERS. Based on the UK hit ‘Y Viva Espana’ it is a fast-moving sound with lyrics that need no explanation. Overall it ends up as a fun sound. 11: BRING BACK THE SKINS (REPRISE). This is a version of track one and on this Judge Dread mentions top Reggae singers/groups. Again it is mid-tempo and a fun sound.

BONUS TRACKS:

12: AL CAPONE ’76 (THE DREADNOUGHTS). Everyone knows the Prince Buster original and maybe the Emperor Rosko version but probably not this. This is a top-notch version and the musicianship is classic, not aware who the musicians are. As we know there have been many versions of this apart from the aforementioned ones over the years and this is one of the best. 15: JAMAICA JERK (OFF). Originally recorded by Elton John and covered by The Pioneers. On this version the Judge comes in after a long intro with a full-on spoken vocal and here we have the vocalist at his best. The backing track comes with some fine percussion and strings. 18: UP WITH THE COCK. This starts off with a chicken sound before moving into a fast number on which the vocalist is back to his normal style of vocal. Released on the Cactus label in 1977 as a 7″. 20: SWAN LAKE (THE DREADNOUGHTS). The Reggae version of this classical tune we remember is by The Cats, a UK hit in 1969. This version is similar to the aforementioned but not quite as heavy, the musicianship is spot-on.

This 4xCD release covers the recording career of the legendary Judge Dread from 1972-1976 and covers four albums originally released by Trojan Records. 27 of the tracks are non-album and include various chart singles and B-sides. It comes with a booklet containing detailed liner notes and pictures of all relevant records. This may not be a favourite collection for every Jamaican music fan but if it is then £27 99p will put this into your Jamaican music/general collection.

Big Six

Big Seven

Big Eight

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