Judge Dread


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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.

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