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20 Songs Of Judge Dread

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Album Review

With ten hit singles, three of them double A-sided, and a charting EP to trawl through, as well as his first five albums to pull from, the archivists have plenty of Judge Dread material to choose from for compilations. The wittily titled The Beast of Judge Dread, however, relies heavily on the hits, nine out of ten of the DJ's chart-busters are included, as well as one of the tracks, "Jamaica Jerk Off ," from his equally successful Jamaica Jerk (aka the "Fifth Anniversary EP"). The always popular "Big" numbers are here in force, Tracks six, seven, eight and ten all made the charts. Track nine, which followed the same format as its brethren, oddly didn't, but the selector threw it in regardless, along with the equally delightful "Big One," the grand finale of Dread's 1974 Working Class 'Ero album. The marching band-goes-dub "Dread Rock" comes courtesy of the DJ's fourth album Last of the Skinheads, and the aptly titled "Rudeness Train" from his third, Bedtime Stories. The sumptuous "Lover's Rock" and the infectious "Will I What" are also period recordings, taken from Dread's 1980 fifth set, the import-only Reggae & Ska album. The one crucial omission, most fans will agree, is "Bring Back the Skins," an enduring classic from the fifth Anniversary EP. That said, this beastly best-of contains a bumper crop of hits, and enough rude reggae to keep most casual fans enthralled. For the more devoted fan, there are bigger, better options.


Born: May 02, 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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20 Songs Of Judge Dread, Judge Dread
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