Judge Dread - Ska Fever (1998)

Alex Hughes (1945-1998) was a former Bouncer, wrestler and DJ. In the persona of Judge Dread he scored 11 UK hits (second only to Bob Marley for a reggae act)and also set the record for having the most releases banned from the airwaves
by the BBC (11- including the completely clean Molly- a benefit record for an Ethiopian famine in 1973). He was also the first British (or possibly even white) artist to have a hit in Jamaica.
When I was in school we swapped from having a free pass to use on the local service bus to a specially laid on coach just for us .
This meant more comfort, a guaranteed seat and no hassle off boys from other schools or old ladies telling us to behave. On the plus side you got home earlier, on the downside there was no smoking.
Our regular driver was a Jack the Lad character called George. He was from Essex, probably about 40 and I reckon he was something of a ladies man, like one of those cool uncles you only ever meet at weddings, Burt Reynolds moustache, gold bracelet and tan.
George used to play Judge Dread on the cassette player of the coach and it kept us happy.
I was a bit perplexed when I saw the Judge in a music paper- older lads had told me he was a Skinhead act, but in fact he had collar length hair. Apparently you didn’t need to have a skin-head in order to be a Skinhead.
The Judge followed in the tradition of music hall and the smutty seaside postcard innuendo. I would imagine that this was what appealed to good time George, the Judge was a Skinhead Benny Hill (or in the case of Up With The Cock TheTwo Ronnies).
An epitome of British working Class culture.

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