Natty Dread

For the Rastafarian term, see Natty Dreadlocks.

Natty Dread
Studio album by
Released 25 October 1974
Recorded 1974
Studio Harry J. Studios, Kingston, Jamaica
Genre Reggae
Length 38:59
Label Island/Tuff Gong
Producer Chris Blackwell and The Wailers
Bob Marley and The Wailers chronology
Rasta Revolution

Natty Dread



Natty Dread is the seventh studio album by Bob Marley and the Wailers, released in 1974. It was the first album released as Bob Marley and the Wailers instead of just the Wailers,[citation needed] the first recorded without Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, and the first recorded with I Threes, a female vocal trio consisting of Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, and Marley's wife, Rita Marley.

Natty Dread peaked at No. 44 on Billboard's (North America) Black Albums chart, and at No. 92 on the Pop Albums chart. In 2003, the album was ranked No. 181 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[1]

Content [ edit ]

Natty Dread is a spiritually charged political and social statement. It opens with a blues-influenced positive celebration of skanking, reggae and sex, "Lively Up Yourself". The original and still unreleased demo of the Island version of "Lively Up Yourself" was recorded in 1973.

"No Woman, No Cry", the second track, is probably the best known recording on the album. It is a nostalgic remembrance of growing up in the impoverished streets of Trenchtown, the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica, and the happiness brought by the company of friends. The song has been performed by artists as diverse as Boney M. (sung by Liz Mitchell), The Fugees, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Buffett, Rancid and Gilberto Gil. Songwriting credit for "No Woman, No Cry" went to V. Ford. Vincent Ford, better known as "Tartar" to his friends and neighbors, had been a kind friend of Marley as a child in Trenchtown. Marley claimed he would have starved to death on several occasions as a child if not for the aid of Tartar. The original version of the song was in gospel style, featuring Peter Tosh and some unknown female backing vocals and was cut for Island in 1973.

"Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)" is a warning against allowing a nation's poor to go hungry, with the prophetic warning "a hungry mob is an angry mob", while "Talkin' Blues" and "Revolution" go deeper into controversial political commentary. "Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)" is a reflection on the potential impact of reggae music on Jamaican society. The song was written after Marley had been stopped by a night-time police carcheck. The influence of Marley's increasing devotion to Rastafari can be heard in religious-themed songs like "So Jah S'eh", "Natty Dread" and "Lively Up Yourself", while Marley's reputation as a romantic is confirmed with smooth, seductive songs like "Bend Down Low". The title track of the album takes its title from an idealised personification of the Rastafari movement, Natty Dread.

Song writing credits [ edit ]

Although the album's liner notes list multiple songwriters, including family friends and band members, all songs were written by Marley. Marley was involved in a contractual dispute with his former publishing company, Cayman Music.

Vincent Ford, a childhood friend from Jamaica, was given writing credit for "No Woman, No Cry", as well as the songs "Crazy Baldheads" (with Marley's wife Rita), "Positive Vibration" and "Roots Rock Reggae" from the 1976 album Rastaman Vibration, along with "Inna De Red" and "Jah Bless" with Marley's son, Stephen.[2][3]

Marley had not wanted his new songs to be associated with Cayman and it had been speculated, including in his obituary in The Independent, that he had put them in the names of his close friends and family members as a means of avoiding the contractual restrictions and as a way to "provide lasting help to family and close friends".[2]

Marley's former manager Danny Sims sued to obtain royalty and ownership rights to the songs, claiming that Marley had actually written the songs but had assigned the credit to Ford to avoid meeting commitments made in prior contracts. A 1987 court decision sided with the Marley estate, which assumed full control of the songs.[3]

Release [ edit ]

Natty Dread was released 25 October 1974 by Island and Tuff Gong.[4]

In 1975, this album was mentioned in a few audio magazines as being ready to be released on Quadraphonic 8-track tape.[citation needed] This never happened. However, the Quadraphonic mixes of "Lively Up Yourself" and "No Woman No Cry" have been bootlegged from the master tapes and are available on the internet.[citation needed]

In 2001, a re-mastered edition of Natty Dread was released by Universal Records containing a bonus track.

Reception and legacy [ edit ]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars [5]
Christgau's Record Guide A[6]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars [7]

In May 1975, the album became the group's first album to reach the top half of the Billboard 200 at No. 92. In October 1975, it became their UK chart debut, and reached No. 43.[8]

In 2003, the album was ranked No. 181 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time,[7] maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list.[9] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[10]

Track listing [ edit ]

Original album (1974) [ edit ]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Lively Up Yourself" Bob Marley 5:11
2. "No Woman, No Cry" Vincent Ford 3:46
3. "Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)" Leon Cogill, Carlton Barrett 3:13
4. "Rebel Music (3 O'clock Roadblock)" Aston Barrett, Hugh Peart 6:45
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "So Jah Seh" Rita Marley, Willy Francisco 4:27
6. "Natty Dread" Rita Marley, Allen Cole 3:35
7. "Bend Down Low" Bob Marley 3:21
8. "Talkin' Blues" Leon Cogill, Carlton Barrett 4:06
9. "Revolution" Bob Marley 4:23
The Definitive Remastered edition (2001)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
10. "Am-A-Do" (Bonus track) Bob Marley 3:20

Personnel [ edit ]

Bob Marley and the Wailers



References [ edit ]

  1. ^ "#181 Natty Dread". Rolling Stone. 1 November 2003. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b Leigh, Spencer. "Vincent Ford: Songwriter credited with composing 'No Woman, No Cry'", The Independent, 7 January 2009. Accessed 7 January 2009.
  3. ^ a b Kenner, Rob. "Vincent Ford Dies at 68; Inspired Classic Bob Marley Songs", The New York Times, 3 January 2009. Accessed 5 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Bob Marley and the Wailers".
  5. ^ Allmusic review
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: M". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 4 March 2019 – via
  7. ^ a b "Rolling Stone review". Archived from the original on 1 April 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. ^ "Bob Marley Steps Up With 'Natty Dread'". 25 October 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  9. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  10. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
What is this?