Although often dismissed as a novelty act, Judge Dread was actually a groundbreaking artist. Not only did he put more reggae records onto the U.K. chart than anyone else (Bob Marley included), he was also the first white artist to actually have a reggae hit in Jamaica. The Judge also holds the record for having the most songs banned by the BBC, 11 in all, which incidentally is precisely the number of singles he placed on the charts. […]
[The Judge] was so taken by [Prince] Buster’s seminal “Big Five” that he went into Trojan’s studio to record his own follow-up. Over the rhythm of Verne & Son’s “Little Boy Blue,” Hughes recited a slew of hilariously rude nursery rhymes. It was by sheer chance that Trojan label head Lee Gopthal walked by during the recording; impressed, he immediately signed the DJ.
“Big Six” sold 300,000 copies and spent 27 weeks in the British charts, despite the radio ban and the refusal of several distributors to carry the record. The cover of the German single release (distributed by Ariola) reflects the title: It is dominated by six (very) big letters. They stem from Lettergraphic’s Mania which, together with PLINC’s similar Obese, was a staple in late 1960s/early 1970s psychedelic typography. Fun fact: Judge Dread’s subsequent debut album was named Dreadmania. The song titles within the big pink bottom-heavy letters are set in Marvin. In a typographic equivalent to the lewd lyrics, Mania’s phallic ‘I’ is cheekily dotted with a ‘6’ from Sans Serif Shaded.