JUDGE DREAD (400 YEARS) * PRINCE BUSTER * OLIVE BLOSSOM * JA
Slightly earlier than most of the Skinhead tracks in this section this is none the less associated with the movement. Skinheads began appearing in London around 1965, they were mostly Mods who didn't wish to become part of the long haired 'Hippie' movement - the term hippie was first used by black musicians in America during the 1940's as a term of derision for the false, or pseudo, hipster. While the music of the 1960s Hippie movement was progressive (utopian), reflecting the middle class values and self image of the youth who had assumed the Mod life style, many working class youth were less sanguine and more conservative in their outlook wanting to hold on to the little they had, while embracing only the new that does not challenge it.
One possible reason why Skinheads or Skin's embraced Jamaican music was its emphasizing of a class struggle which was closer to the social circumstances of most Skin's at the time. It can also be argued that not only the music but much of the imagery associated with it that expressed an aggressive, no nonsense, even sometimes violent dimension that would have reflected the image the Skins had of themselves. This association was taken further by many Jamaican recording artists who were either touring or resident in Great Britain that were singing songs directly aimed at the Skinhead movement, while all other sections of the vast music/entertainment industry purposefully and resolutely ignored them. And, of course, while it was far from utopian, but more down-to-earth in its cultural, economic and political position, including its spiritual (religious) dimension, it none the less offered a danceable alternative to the psychedelic sounds that Western pop bands were playing at that time.
Judge Dread proved a very popular record for Prince Buster it's theme and story line of a hard and implacable judge had instant appeal for the ghetto's folk and middle classes alike, possibly for two different reasons! Witnessed by the two UK follow up records The Appeal and Judge Dread Dance The Pardon were released a short time after in quick succession (see below). There was a sort of 'answer' record Judge Sympathy by The Treasure Isle Boys with Tommy McCook and The Supersonics released by Duke Reid on his Treasure Isle imprint (see below) that, weather because of the sentiments or the music, was nothing like as popular as Judge Dread. Perhaps someone thought it would be a big hit in the UK as it was the chosen record to launch what was to come to be the mighty Trojan label (initially designed to be the UK imprint for Duke Reid productions only) however it didn't seem to sell well and quietly faded into obscurity (see below).
In the 1990's Prince Buster lost a high court battle against the Warner Brothers Corporation for the copyright of the term Judge Dread, one aspect, at least, of the court room drama must have been worth while; when some musicians of Count Ossie's Rastafarian brotherhood along with other veteran Dreads who formed part of the original Folkes Brothers, all of whom had played some part in the original recording, gave evidence in a thick Jamaican patois, (an interpreter was needed) interspersed with Biblical references and salutations to Jah.
THE APPEAL * PRINCE BUSTER * BLUE BEAT 391 * UK
JUDGE DREAD DANCE THE PARDON * PRINCE BUSTER * BLUE BEAT 400 * UK
JUDGE SYMPATHY * THE TREASURE ISLE BOYS * TREASURE ISLE * JA
JUDGE SYMPATHY * THE TREASURE ISLE BOYS * TROJAN 001 * UK
N.B. Blue Beat 400 is in the original plain white cover as issued, with two cut scoops at the top. Only a few Blue Beats were ever issued in covers with a Blue Beat logo printed on them.
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