Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Hughes was introduced to Jamaican music when he lodged as a teenager in a West Indian household in BrixtonSouth West London. He met Jamaican artists Derrick Morgan andPrince Buster through his job as a bouncer at London nightclubs such as the Ram Jam in Brixton, and through another job as a bodyguard. After a brief spell as a professional wrestler (performing under the name "The Masked Executioner"), and as a debt collector for Trojan Records, he worked as a DJ on local radio and ran his own sound system.

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."Big Six" reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart in 1972, selling over 300,000 copies and spending six months on the chart, despite getting no radio airplay due to its lyrics. Further hit singles followed with "Big Seven" (co-written by Rupie Edwards) and "Big Eight" — both following the pattern of rude versions of nursery rhymes over a reggae backing — as well as "Y Viva Suspenders" and "Up With The Cock".

He was the first white recording artist to have a reggae hit in Jamaica ("Big Six"), leading him to travel to Jamaica to perform live, where many were surprised that he was white. Dread had 11 UK chart hits in the 1970s, which was more than any other reggae artist (including Bob Marley).  The Guinness Book of World Records credits Judge Dread for having the highest number of banned songs of all time, 11. In the 1970s, tabloid newspapers expressed concerns that young fans of the comic book character Judge Dredd might buy Judge Dread's records by mistake, and hear things that may corrupt their minds. Several of his songs mentioned Snodland, the small town in Kent where Judge Dread lived. There is a road in the town of Snodland named after him, the Alex Hughes Close.

Never just a singer of rude reggae songs, Judge Dread was also a songwriter who came to the attention of Elvis Presley, who had planned to record "A Child's Prayer" as a Christmas gift to his daughter Lisa Marie in 1977, but died before making the recording.The famine in Ethiopia prompted Dread to help organize a benefit concert featuring The Wailers and Desmond Dekker, and he also released a benefit single "Molly". Despite this single not featuring Dread's trademark innuendo, it was still banned from radio airplay, and failed to chart. The radio stations' wariness over Dread records led him to release singles under the pseudonyms JD Alex and Jason Sinclair, but the BBC still banned them.

Judge Dread died from a heart attack as he walked off stage after performing at The Penny Theatre in Canterbury on the 13 March 1998.


The Graham Bond Organisation




Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nitro-Retro!: The MOD Alligator Dance Mix

Nitro-Retro!: The MOD Alligator Dance Mix

YOU HAVE DONE IT AGAIN OLD BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SMASHING MIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Up The Junction

An absolute must see for all lovers of 1960's culture. Not only does it boast some of the decades finest actors, it has a beautiful soundtrack from Manfred Mann and the cinematography perfectly captures the feel of what it was like to live in that decade. The plotline also deals with some of the pressing social issues of the time as well, including a very sensitive portrayal of back street abortion, the only one coming even slightly close to the masterly "Alfie". Even watching this film now, I think you can really get a feel for what it was like to be young and working class in the 1960's. Great Stuff.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


For 30 years he managed the career of his son, Paul Weller, through three different incarnations, in the Jam and the Style Council and his highly successful reinvention in the 1990s as a solo artist. 

Theirs was a unique relationship, blood ties transcending the usual bond between a manager and artist to create a fiercely loyal support system that gave the Wellers a head start when it came to negotiating the shark-infested pools of the music industry. 
There was little in Weller's background to suggest that he would become such a shrewd business operator. Born in Brighton in 1931, he was a schoolboy welterweight boxer before he left school at 14 for an apprenticeship on the Chichester Observer. At 18 he was called up on National Service, serving as a physical training instructor and winning army boxing championships. 

After his discharge he moved to Woking, Surrey, where he worked on building sites by day and drove a mini-cab by night. After marrying Ann Craddock, their son, Paul, was born in 1958 and their daughter, Nicola, in 1962. 

The family lived in Stanley Road, an address later celebrated in Weller's 1995 chart-topping album of the same name, and which provided a classic suburban working-class environment for a young rock'n'roll rebel. From his early teens, Paul Weller played the part to perfection. The one departure from the stereotype was that Weller Sr had an unwavering belief in his son's talent and from the outset wholeheartedly backed his ambitions to become a rock star. 

As his son grew up, they shared together a passion for the music of the 1960s, with the Beatles, Kinks and Small Faces as particular favourites. 

Weller bought his son his first guitar when he was 12. Within a few years he was driving his son's first group - named the Jam by Nicola Weller - to local gigs. 

After Paul left school at the age of 16, for a while son and father worked together on local building sites, but Weller Sr financed the Jam to make some demo recordings and in 1977, they were signed to Polydor Records. 

Installed as the group's manager, in truth Weller was initially poorly qualified for the role. The label had to pay him the group's pounds 6000 advance in cash because he didn't have a bank account. But he was pragmatic, single-minded, dedicated to his son's cause and shrewd enough to employ an accountant and a music business lawyer at an early stage. 

As his grateful son put it, "he just learnt as he went along", and before 1977 was out, the Jam were rivalling the Clash and the Police as the most successful new group in Britain. 

Father and son almost fell out when, in 1982, the Jam broke up. The lead singer and songwriter wanted to seek new creative pastures while the manager could not understand the logic of disbanding a successful group at the height of its fame. 

Nevertheless, he threw his energy into getting Paul Weller's new group, the Style Council, up and running, and stories of his loyalty became celebrated. On one famous occasion, after the head of Polydor, David Munns, had made a disparaging remark about the Style Council's latest record, Weller Sr was said to have lifted the hapless executive out of his chair and told him: "You don't speak about my son like that." 

When Paul Weller launched a solo career in 1991, father and son established their own label, Freedom High. But a year later John Weller negotiated a lucrative deal with Go! Records. Paul Weller's first three albums on the label all went to No 1. 

John Weller, rock manager, was born on November 28, 1931. He died on April 22, 2009, aged 77