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Album Review

In 1972, the least likely of stars shot to fame on the back of his debut single, "Big Six," and its follow-up, "Big Seven." An album was quickly assembled to cash in on their success, and its title, Dreadmania, aptly summed up the state of the nation, as Judge Dread fever gripped the island. Of course, the two hits were included within, as was "Oh She Is a Big Girl Now," which was subsequently spun off as a single, and "Dr. Kitch," which later reappeared as a B-side. Appropriately enough, the Chuck Berry hit "Ding a Ling" was covered, and just in case there were any remaining doubts about the album's contents, there's even a track titled "Donkey Dick." "It's all in the mind/It's all in the mind/The rudeness it's all in the mind," the Judge ruled on the opening track. Perhaps, but Dread could make even a nun blush. He was the king of the double entendre, his clever wordplay and wit a revelation for the staid British. But he also captured the imagination of Jamaicans. Dread wrapped his rude lyrics within perfect reggae backdrops, with many of his songs built around classic Jamaican rhythms, adding further authenticity to his sound. A classic reggae record, this reissue adds three bonus tracks: the B-sides of "Big Seven" and "Seven," as well as "Kitch"'s A- side, "Molly." That latter actually was a charity record in aid of the Ethiopian Famine Appeal, and wasn't rude at all. It was, however, still banned. Yep, it's all in the mind.


Born: 02 May 1945 in Kent, England

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Although often dismissed as a novelty act, Judge Dread was actually a groundbreaking artist. Not only did he put more reggae records onto the U.K. chart than anyone else (Bob Marley included), he was also the first white artist to actually have a reggae hit in Jamaica. The Judge also holds the record for having the most songs banned by the BBC, 11 in all, which incidentally is precisely the number of singles he placed on the charts. Judge Dread was born Alex Hughes in Kent, England, in 1945. In...
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Dreadmania, Judge Dread
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