Jamaican music has a long history of sexual lyrics dating back to the calypso and mento tunes from the likes of Lord Kitchener and Count Lasher. Often termed “rude” reggae its legacy is still evident to this very day, a part of the Jamaican musical culture that began with its arrival and persists to present day.
The rude reggae genre has supplied no shortage of fine rocksteady and early reggae gems. Some of the biggest tunes in either genre were full of double entendres or flat out sexual lyrics. With that in mind we’re going to endeavour into bringing you the For The Suits favourites of this particular genre.
Wet Dream by Max Romeo
Certainly the most well known of the genre, Wet Dream was famously banned by the BBC after only two spins due to its suggestive lyrics. The rhythm is one of the most famous in reggae history, originally used on another Bunny Lee production, “Hold You Jack” by Derrick Morgan. This one is guaranteed to get everyone on the dance floor. Easy enough to find on the Unity imprint you’d be hard pressed to come across a DJ who doesn’t have a copy.
Spread Your Bed by The Versatiles
That rhythm! It instantly makes you want to move and the chorus is guaranteed to get stuck in your brain after one listen. Originally released on the Crab imprint from Pama, this one is a big money track in that format. Lucky for those who don’t mind the tune was recently reissued. Little known producer Bunny Barnet was responsible for this one. It’s as good as they come.
Push It In by The Versatiles
The Versatiles are at it once again on this double sided monster out of Joe Gibbs Amalgamated imprint. Suggestive lyrics and killer backing on this tune make it one of the must haves of the genre. The fact the other side is just as good makes it that much better.
Wreck a Buddy by The Soul Sisters
While many are likely to be more familiar with the original tune by Prince Buster, “Wreck a Pum Pum”, this one is a classic in its own right. The flip to “Push It In” we once again have Joe Gibbs working his magic while the crack team of musicians he assembled for this session do the business. Make sure you get the Amalgamated single and not the one put out on the Prince Buster label.
Rub Up, Push Up by The Termites
Slowing things down a bit with a lovely little slice of rocksteady from The Termites. Whilst better known for their soulful ballads, perhaps the most famous song from the duo of Lloyd Parks and Wentworth Vernal is this bit of magic right here. A catchy rhythm and top class vocals make this a firm favourite. Out of the Coxsone stable this one is.
Birth Control by Lloyd Terrel
A sentimental favourite here (our first Pama purchase don’t you know) this has to be up there with “Wet Dream” for well known rude reggae tracks. A massive seller for the Palmer brothers in ’69 and a dance floor favorites for the bovver boys, it’s not hard to figure out it’s popularity. Cheeky spoken intro and then a storming instrumental led by Charmers hammond work.
The Hole by King Horror
While the exact identity of King Horror is always up for some debate, there is no debate this is one of the finer rude reggae tracks. Originally gained notoriety through its inclusion on the “Loch Ness Monster” LP put out by Trojan. Horror does his thing over a stomping instrumental. One of the rudest the genre has to offer.
Night Food Reggae by Des’ All Stars
More famously known for their work as The Rudies, this one came out on the rare as hens teeth Grape label in 1970. The song has been done a million times but this absolutely has to be the best version. The backing to this tune is mental. Featured on the “Skinhead Reggae” boxset put out by Trojan, if you want an original copy be prepared to shell out.
Hold The Pussy by Kid Gungo
One of those boss tunes one learns to expect by the legendary Harry Johnson. Rude lyrics but the real star here is the sax work by one of the all time greats, Karl Bryan. Found on the Escort imprint. Double sided magic if you get the single.
Boss Cocky by Rude Girl
Vocals on this one are almost certainly supplied by Girlie of “Fire in Your Wire” fame. A chugging rhythm credited to the Bunny Lee All Stars, this certainly fits with the rest of the incredible output Striker was putting out at the time. Rare, rare, rare and killer, killer, killer.
Big Six by Judge Dread
Having a list of our favourite rude reggae tracks without the legendary Alexander Minto Hughes, AKA Judge Dread, being represented certainly has to classify as some sort of crime. It’s choosing which one is the best that is the hard part. With more songs banned by the BBC than any other recording artist it speaks a lot to the underground popularity Dread had in both the Jamaican and skinhead community that this track reached #11 on the charts in 1972.
Pussy Price by Laurel Aitken
We saved the best for last. Now Mr. Aitken has quite a few rude tracks to his credit, from “Benwood Dick” to “Fire In Your Wire”, but this is head and shoulders above the rest. The finest track the genre produced in our humble opinion. Released on the Nu Beat label this one pops up with regularity for reasonable money. Have yet to see a dance floor not heaving when this one is played.