Judge Dread

Rub a Dub

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Judge Dread's sixth album appeared to little fanfare in October 1981, ironically in the wake of one of his best singles in some time, a saucy (of course) reinvention of Mike Sarne's early-'60s novelty "Will I What." Sarne was already a favorite Dread victim -- his "Come Outside" gave the Judge a Top 20 hit in 1975 -- and there was no reason on earth why "Will I What" didn't follow it to similar glory. Aside from the fact that it's impossibly filthy, of course. After a few years of less-than-sparkling witticisms, Dread was truly back to his lewd best; better than best, in fact, as he reacted to the changing times by abandoning the innuendo of old in favor of full-on smut. When he asks in "Will I What" whether he can "stroke a lady's pussy," there's no suggestion at all of feline companionship. Whether this added to his charm or not, of course, is a question that the individual alone can answer. But there's no doubting that Dread's trademark humor remains firmly in place, whether he's recounting his unparalleled sexual magnetism across "Amazing Dread," or mourning his inability to find true love in "Some Guys Have All the Luck"; a predicament that leaves him "having to console with an inflatable doll." Elsewhere, "Brewer's Droop" delves into the murkiest waters of political incorrectness by recounting the night an unsuspecting lad got drunk in a gay club, and now laments, "I'll never drink vodka again/it makes your arse sore." And all executed to some of the sharpest ska and reggae rhythms of the age. Of course it's charmless, childish, sexist, and sickening; but that, of course, was Judge Dread's forte, catering to the kind of humor that was falling further and further out of fashion with every passing year, but which still had its adherents in nightclubs and pubs across Britain. Not everyone could be a Renaissance Man, after all; not everyone could even spell it. Dread simply aimed himself at the people who were willing to admit that, and they loved him for it, keeping his name alive on the concert circuit for years after the record deals dried up.

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