Obviously fed up with the scattershot approach taken to Judge Dread by most reissue labels, which sees the "Big" 'uns strewn all over the sets and the "Skins" tossed about willy-nilly, Big Tin determinedly cleans up the arena and sequences the songs in a fashion that would meet with most fans' approval. Appropriately enough, it kicks off with the fabulous "Bring Back the Skins," whose reprise bookends the set, followed in quick succession by Dread's scintillating cover of Symarip's "Skinhead Moonstomp," his personal paean to the Skinhead himself, and his tribute to the ballet world, "Skin Lake," a number later revitalized by Madness as "Swan Lake." Then come all the "Big" 'uns. "Big 6," of course, was Dread's debut and his first hit; however, the "Big" series is not presented in chronological order, but in the far more sensible numerical order, except that "Big 1," rather than kicking off the sequence, is inexplicably placed between "Big 8" and "Big 9." Having dispensed with the ruler, the set looks at other large objects: the scathing indictment of "Big Punk," the dubby "Big Organ," which refers, of course, to the instrument, and completing the series, what else but "Big Everything," a medley of the "Big"-gies. Then it's time to sweep up the strays. There's the Top Ten "Je T'Aime" and a trio of later numbers: the instrumental "Ska Fever," a sizzling cover of the Paragons' "On the Beach," and a recut of "Big 7" backed by Dr. Ring Ding & the Senior All Stars. Finally, the disc also includes a pair of songs Dread recorded with the Hotknives: another exuberant version of "Moonstomp" called "Summer Footstomp" and the rollicking "Summer Fun." Although Big Tin may not pass muster as a hits collection, it's certainly a wild ride through Dread's career, with the newer numbers just as entertaining as the old. ~ Jo-Ann Greene, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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