Judge Dread

40 Big Ones

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AllMusic Review by

What with 40 Big Ones included, could it really get any larger than this bulging bundle of Judge Dread songs spread across two discs? Released across two sides of vinyl in 1980, this compilation made a valiant attempt to pull together everything a self-respecting Dread fan would need. A close look at the rather overwhelming track listing, however, does reveal a few gaps. Missing in action is "Christmas in Dreadland," a festive hit from 1975, although its flipside, "Come Outside" is included. Also gone but still admired was Dread's final charter, 1978's double A-sided single, "Hokey Cokey"/"Jingle Bells." For some reason, the compilers seemed to have taken a distinct dislike to the Judge's Christmas gifts. But the rest of the mighty magistrate's hits are here, as well as a slew of album tracks drawn from all five of his sets, including the import-only Reggae & Ska, released that same year only in Germany. Dread's full-lengths uniformly refused to perform as well as his singles, with only his third set, Bedtime Stories pushing up towards the Top 25. There again, even in Britain, reggae was a singles driven market, something that only changed with the shift from reggae to roots. Dread's own albums were chock-a-block with splendid tracks as enticing musically and as naughty lyrically as any of his singles, so for fans this is an easy and affordable way to catch up on all they had previously missed. [The album was reissued with bonus tracks in 2002.]

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
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27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
blue highlight denotes track pick