Judge Dread – The White Reggae Bouncer

Big Six
Big Seven

Ska'd for Life Video

Leaves you ‘Ska’d for life’ – he could do – Judge Dread was a bouncer and a one time debt collector. It was during his time as a nightclub bouncer in London that he met Prince Buster and Derrick Morgan which led to his later calling.

Judge Dread was a Ska artist and a comedian and large sized white Englishman (his real name was a less impressive Alex Hughes from Kent). He did an call and response record called Big Six on the theme of Prince Buster‘s Big Five . It was banned by the BBC so naturally it became a top twenty hit. He died of a heart attack on stage at the age of 53 in 1998. What a guy. The name Judge Dread came from another record of the Prince’s.

The reason he became the most banned artist by the BBC was due to his lyrics which were full of innuendo and sexual references. As this was endemic in Ska and Bluebeat it would be interesting to know if any of the Jamaican stars would experience the same issues today. The Skatalites are a good example of what we mean. As for sexual language, see also the majority of rap music. We suggest much of this gets through simply because the BBC doesn’t know what the references mean and certainly won’t endeavour to find out.

Judge Dread
Judge Dread – Alex Hughes

He had the impressive claim to fame as being the first white man to have a Ska hit in Jamaica.

Skinheads and Ska? What was that all about? I first realized something odd was happening at a Prince Buster concert in held at the Stafford Polytechnic circa 1967. Some pillock in levis’ and braces and no shirt joined the Prince on the stage. We were all in mohair, by the way. Was this what our beloved Mod movement was turning into?

Judge Dread – Wikipedia

Judge Dread Memorial Site

Judge Dread – Music