Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"Judge Dread" (lyrics, information, sound file, & comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases a sound file of and lyrics for the now classic 1967 Rocksteady song "Judge Dread" by Prince Buster.

Information about Prince Buster is included in this post along with the complete text of an AllMusic Review of Prince Buster's song "Judge Dread" by Dave Thompson and selected comments from the discussion thread for that embedded sound file.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

Thanks to Prince Buster for his musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of this YouTube example.
Click for the pancocojams post entitled 1967 Ska Classic: The Pyramids (Symarip) - "Train Tour To Rainbow City" (information, lyrics, sound file, comments). That song includes references to Prince Buster and the character "Judge Dread" who he created.

SHOWCASE EXAMPLE: Prince Buster Judge Dread

jimmytheferret, Published on May 20, 2008

One of Buster's many, many tracks issued in the UK during the sixties, and one of his best. Great sound from 1967 - flower power all around and then this comes along!

"Cecil Bustamente Campbell OD (24 May 1938 – 8 September 2016), known professionally as Prince Buster, was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and producer. The records he released in the 1960s influenced and shaped the course of Jamaican contemporary music and created a legacy of work that would be drawn upon later by reggae and ska artists.[1]


In 1961, Campbell released his first single "Little Honey"/"Luke Lane Shuffle" featuring Jah Jerry, Drumbago and Rico Rodriquez recording under the name of Buster's Group.[5] In that same year, he produced "Oh Carolina" by the Folkes Brothers, which was released on his Wild Bells label.[2][6] The drumming on the record was provided by members of the Count Ossie Group, nyabinghi drummers from the Rastafarian community, Camp David, situated on the Wareika Hill above Kingston. After becoming a hit in Jamaica, "Oh Carolina" was licensed to Melodisc, a UK label owned by Emil Shalet. Melodisc released the track on their subsidiary label Blue Beat; the label would go on to become synonymous with 1960s ska releases for the UK market.[2]

Campbell recorded prolifically throughout the 1960s; notable early ska releases include: "Madness" (1963), "Wash Wash" (1963, with Ernest Ranglin on bass), "One Step Beyond" (1964) and "Al Capone" (1964). The documentary This is Ska (1964), hosted by Tony Verity and filmed at the Sombrero Club, includes Campbell performing his Jamaican hit "Wash Wash". In 1964 Campbell met World Heavyweight Champion boxer Muhammad Ali who invited him to attend a Nation of Islam talk at Mosque 29 in Miami.[7] That year Campbell joined the Nation of Islam and also started to release material, including a version of Louis X's "White Man's Heaven is a Black Man's Hell," on his own imprint label called "Islam". In 1965 he appeared in Millie in Jamaica[8] (a film short about Millie Small's return to Jamaica after the world-wide success of "My Boy Lollipop") which was broadcast on Rediffusion's Friday evening pop show Ready, Steady, Go!. Campbell had a top twenty hit in the UK with the single "Al Capone" (no. 18, February 1967).[9] He toured the UK in spring 1967 appearing at the Marquee Club in May and later toured America to promote the RCA Victor LP release The Ten Commandments (From Man To Woman). "Ten Commandments" reached #81 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his only hit single in the United States.[10] By the late 1960s Campbell was once again at the forefront of a musical change in Jamaica; the new music would be called rocksteady. Campbell tracks like "Shaking Up Orange Street" (1967) were arranged with the slower, more soulful rocksteady template as used by Alton Ellis ("Rock Steady") and many others. The album Judge Dread Rock Steady was released in 1967, and the title track "Judge Dread" with its satirical theme and vocal style proved to be popular to the point of parody."...
Click for the article entitled "Biography; Prince Buster: 1938 - 1961; Shuffle up and deal" by PBworks, 2008

From AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson
"One of Prince Buster's most enduring creations, the irascibly authoritarian Judge Dread would also prove his most controversial. Rude boy society was one of the staple themes of Jamaican music, the subject of records as disparate as Buster's "Johnny Cool," Desmond Dekker's "007 (Shanty Town)," "Lawless Street," summed up by journalist Johnny Copasetic as "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Desolation Row" in a nutshell"; and Derrick Morgan's "Rougher Than Rough (Rudies in Court)." "Judge Dread," however, saw them all brought to book.

Up before the magistrate on the usual litany of rude boy charges -- looting, shooting and, strangely, mooning -- the rude boys sit through the opening remarks, then respond: "your honor...RUDIES DON'T CARE!" But that was before they encountered Judge Dread. "I am the rude boy now," he announces, "...and I DON'T CARE!" He then proceeds to live up to his own nickname (and the song's subtitle) of "Judge 400 Years" by sentencing everyone in sight to the most extended sentences he can think of. Appeals for clemency were rewarded with an extra century in jail; and behind his harsh pronouncements, the barristers glumly chorus, "you're rough, you're tough...."

It was only a record, but the real-life rudies were stunned. They were the untouchables, above the law, beyond the law, and here was one of their own, the Prince himself, lyrically condemning them all to the slammer. Immediately, other artists leaped to the defense of the Judge's Victims, before Buster, astonished at the ludicrous uproar he'd created with one single, simple, song, agreed to continue the saga himself with a new release, promisingly titled "The Barrister."

Few records, or actual legal verdicts, come to that, were so eagerly awaited. The results of the rudies' pending appeal dominated street corner conversation; the wiles and ways of the forthcoming barrister were conjectured in coffee bars; the imminent release of the 400 Year Four even made the radio news. But Buster had a surprise in store for everyone. Judge Dread wasn't about to be swayed by overwhelming public opinion. He jailed the barrister.

Again, the uproar was tremendous; more so, perhaps, than even Buster could stand. Or maybe he was simply bored with the whole surreal affair. Either way, a few weeks later he brought out the final installment in the saga, in which the Judge has a change of heart, summons the foursome back into court, turns on a record player, and they all dance the pardon. "Judge Dread Dance (The Pardon)" became one of Buster's biggest hits yet.

All three tracks appear on the Judge Dread album, together with the remarkable home-thoughts-from-abroad "Ghost Dance" and "Dark Street." Sadly, however, the rest of the album struggles to match those same standards, being largely comprised of the space-filling ballads and instrumentals with which Buster habitually padded out the breaks between his classic singles. But that handful of classics is enough to render Judge Dread Rock Steady one of Buster's best loved albums, and ensure that the Judge himself remains one of Jamaican music's most mythic icons."

(composed and performed by Cecil Bustamente Campbell aka Prince Buster)

You're rough, you're tough, you're rough, you're tough
You're rough, you're tough, you're rough, you're tough

Order, now my court is in session, will you please stand?
First, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Judge Hundredyears
Some people call me Judge Dread
Now, I have come here to whoop you,
To try all you rudeboys for shooting black people
In my court only we talk, cause I'm vexed, and I am the rudeboy today
Hugo Hicks?
Yes, sir
Rudeboy Adolfus James?
Yes, sir
Rudeboy Emmanuel Zechariah Zechipaul?
George Grabandflee?

Hmm Adolfus James, I see here you have been charged with
Ten shooting attempts
Five murder charge
Six grab and flee charge

But your honor, I didn't
Hush up, guilty or not guilty?
Not guilty, sir
I don't care what you say, take four hundred years
Stand down

Emmanuel Zechariah Zechipaul?
Yes, sir?
You've been charged with fifteen charge of shooting attempts
Fifteen murder charge
And I heard that you was the one there on Sutton Street
Who tell the judge, 'rudeboys don't care'
Well, this is King Street, and my name is Judge Dread, and I don't care
Now take four hundred years
But ya don't know what I would say, your good honor
Hush up What you trying to do, shoot me, too?
No, your honor, but I
Quiet Four hundred more years for you

George Grabandflee?
Yes, sir?
Stop your crying, rudeboys don't cry, that's what I hear
But I didn't do that, dem frame me, and I don't deserve that

I don't care, hush up, this is my court
You're charged for robbing schoolchildren
Rob with aggravation
Hush up, order

Adolfus James?
Yes sir?
You rob schoolchildren
You foam the peoples' house
You shot black people
But your honor, I didn't
Hush up! Just for talking, I now charge you for contempt
And that is a separate hundred years
I hereby sentence you to four hundred years

I said hush up, hush up
You're sentenced to four hundred years and five hundred lashes
I am going to set an example, I rudeboys don't cry, don't cry
When I was in harbor, I hear you were tough
Court adjourned, take them away

Written by: C. Campbell



These comments are given in relative chronological order based on their publishing date with the oldest comments given first, except for replies. Numbers are assigned for referencing purposes only.

"Classic Big Tune!!!"

2. Missa Bob, 2009
"Chuuuuuune!!! Seleckta, dancehall sell offffff!! lol"

3. ricodawes, 2009
"This was the inspiration for the Judge Dredd movie, starring Sylvester Stallone"

4. The100thAttempt, 2009
"For the comic, possibly, but that is far, far, far, away and better in every way from the movie."

5. Mike, 2009
"Can anyone recommend me some really upbeat ska? Like guns of navarone by 'the specials'"

6. jahdanza, 2009
"Roland Alphonso, Prince Buster, Skatalites."

7. Jah Rich, 2010
"And not a single comment about Mutubaruka version?"

8. tcoreyb, 2010
"@JahRich69 All I ever heard until now was the Mutabaruka version, too. But Prince Buster rules. He is the last remaining living link to the 50s soundclash era and through all of Jamaican music. Long live Prince Buster!" 

9. shabaka, 2011
"Desmond Dekker may have come first, but Buster was just as big influence on ska/rock steady. "Tek dem awey!""

10. 56postoffice, 2012
"This tune still cracks me up,especially before the end when Judge Dread went to the rudie;"Rude Boys don't cry! Don't cry!! When I was in Africa, I heard you was tough!" The rudie bawling his eyes out;"I'm not guilty,sah! I'm not guilty!"No wonder Honey Boy Martin hit back with his "Dreader Than Dread"(that tune is WICKED!)"

11. Pete Mason, 2013
"white man who grew up with this Dub.
My black Auntie Rose showed me da Prince.
look to yourself, only woman who cared about a poor starving white boy was black.
Think I care ? naway.
That woman was more of a mother to me than my own.
colour is irellevant.

Love is a gift."

12. Herb Slim, 2014
"Couldn't be any more true :)"

13. Joel Uden, 2017
"Colour is irrelevant, sooner good people realise that the better."

14. Ava Karkekian, 2018
"Joel Uden race isn’t colour."

15. chukkaman50, 2013
"This was actually based on a true story! The Jamaican government brought in judges from Africa because the local Judges were either corrupt or scared of the rudies!"

16. Percy Barbarossa, 2016
"I heard The Specials version of this, its great that the original got put on youtube, Thank you jimmytheferret"

17. Bergerworld, 2016
"R.I.P Prince Buster. 2016 takes another Great. Sad."

18. Brian Wilson, 2016
"Rude boys will be crying tonight, So many great memories , Rest in Peace Prince."

19. andrew marriott, 2016
"Rude buoys don't cry! Rest up prince"

20. Rab Anderson, 2016
""Hush Up, Rude Boys don't cry!"
The Prince lives on through this terific music, and great lyrics!
I was wearing out the vinyl of a Madness album as a kid. When my dad recognised some familiar lyrics.
He appeared with an old Vinyl LP, with the light blue F.A.B label in the middle .
He Said "this is what your SKA bands are trying to copy!"
It's called Blue Beat! Thanks Dad. Appreciated!"

21. Stephen Day, 2016
"My friend Trevor Harriot, a 17 year old apprentice who came alone from Jamaica in 1966 to work for British Steel in Brierley Hill in the Midlands used to play Prince Buster's music which was very new to us white kids. We were knocked out by it. My favourite "Judge Dread", was released the following year though. I still play it although it's only on CD now. Good times remembered from 50 years ago."

22. Ray Turvey, 2016
"Why did I, a white boy from NW London growing up in the 60`s full in love with blue Beat/Ska? I must have been blessed."

23. Carl Webster, 2016
"My uncle Byah in the early sixties and seventies, used to play all these ska/rock steady songs on his sound system in at Old Bowens, Clarendon Jamaica. He was particular for Prince Buster and Derrick Morgan records. he loved the rivalry between them. My uncle was friends with Buster who had a Duke Box in my uncle shop and came regularly to collect the money and change the records. As a young boy I was so fascinated to see and sometimes have a word or two with this Prince of a man. RIP BUSTER. Your music will live on."

24. ninjabluewings, 2016
"Carl Webster What a lovely memory, you are very lucky to have had this opportunity to actually talk with "The Prince" I love his music and Derrick Morgan alike, Jimmy Cliff too. I bet those records sounded fantastic on that Jukebox"

25. Samuel Cortez, 2016
"Another legend has gone on to Zion...Rest in Zion Rude Boy!!!"

26. 56postoffice, 2016
"One of the true pioneers and a fierce protector of Black heritage...RIP, Prince Buster, the original Rudie."

27. maureen bayliss, 2016
"r.i.p will be missed but boy what a legacy to leave behide for us to enjoy forever x"

28. quentin caille, 2016
"sounds like lee perry's talkin with him nope? was he working for him in the days on the voice of the people sound system ?"

29. Emmanuel Enyinwa, 2016
"+quentin caille Yes. Lee Perry wrote the dialogue. He used to work with Prince Buster after he left Coxsone. Also check out "Public Jestering", the same idea, this time with Perry and another DJ."

30. Donald Morrow, 2016
"One of the most hilarious records ever made, Prince Buster plays this so deadpan that you don't know whether to double over in laughter or haul ass in fear. It doesn't help your decision any when the music behind this is so damn good. That leaves you with only one other option, dance (and pray you are not in front of this judge)."

31. Archive Studios, 2016
"Mohair suits dark nightclubs cool moves. This dude was ahead of his time. Rest up sweet Prince."

32. wa32. gb50
"Just amazing, i love it, it makes me smile every time i play it. isn't that the sign of a classic ?"

33. 56postoffice, 2017
"Tune's 50 this year!! A lot of rudie records came out during the rocksteady era (1966 - 1968) and the early reggae days. This is one of the best, cementing Prince Buster's legendary status."

34. Halie Symmons, 2017
"Ska was the original gangster rap."

35. ninjabluewings, 2017
"What an AWESOME TUNE! just love "The Prince" and his music, this one is a real gem and sounds so clean & crisp, these Bluebeat babies are so hard to find in good condition, I am very slowly trying to get together a modest collection of these timeless classics in clean condition without having to part with lots of money which I cannot really afford to do and I am doing pretty well so far. The thing is whether you can afford them or not the "addiction runs deep" 🤔"

36. Chris Childs, 2018
"i had a friend who used to take me to a club that played all this great stuff back in the day i was hooked from the very first time i heard ska and still love it today"

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  1. Prince Buster's fictional character Judge Dread shouldn't be confused with the White British Ska & Reggae artist with that name. Here's an excerpt from
    "Alexander Minto Hughes (2 May 1945 – 13 March 1998),[1] better known as Judge Dread, was an English reggae and ska musician. He was the first white recording artist to have a reggae hit in Jamaica,[2][3] and the BBC has banned more of his songs than any other recording artist due to his frequent use of sexual innuendo and double entendres.[3] Following his death, Rolling Stone reported, "He sold several million albums throughout his 25-plus year career and was second only to Bob Marley in U.K. reggae sales during the 1970s".[4]


    Hughes was born on 2 May 1945, six days before the end of the Second World War in Europe. He was introduced to Jamaican music when he lodged as a teenager in a West Indian household in Brixton, South West London.[2] Hughes developed a powerful physique and met Jamaican artists Derrick Morgan and Prince Buster through his job as a bouncer at London nightclubs such as the Ram Jam in Brixton, and through another job as a bodyguard.[3][5] After working as a professional wrestler (under the name "The Masked Executioner") and as a debt collector for Trojan Records, he worked as a DJ on local radio.[3] In the 1960s he was also sometimes employed to provide security to The Rolling Stones.[6]

    Music career
    When Prince Buster had a big underground hit in 1969 with "Big 5", Hughes capitalized on it with the recording of his own "Big Six", based on Verne & Son's "Little Boy Blue", which was picked up by Trojan boss Lee Gopthal, and released on Trojan's 'Big Shot' record label under the stage name Judge Dread, the name taken from another of Prince Buster's songs."...

  2. Prince Buster's character "Judge Dread" probably also influenced the comic book and movie character "Judge Dredd".

    Here's an excerpt from
    "Judge Joseph Dredd is a fictional character who appears in British comic books published by Rebellion Developments, as well as in a number of movie and video game adaptations. He was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, and first appeared in the second issue of 2000 AD (1977), a weekly science-fiction anthology comic. He is the magazine's longest-running character.

    Joseph Dredd is a law enforcement and judicial officer in the dystopian future city of Mega-City One, which covers most of the east coast of North America. He is a "street judge", empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals.

    In Great Britain, the character of Dredd and his name are sometimes invoked in discussions of police states, authoritarianism, and the rule of law.[2]

    Judge Dredd made his live action debut in 1995 in Judge Dredd, portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Later he was portrayed by Karl Urban in the 2012 adaptation "Dredd"...