More reggae on tap today, writing again from the Sunshine State, with the next release from Bob Marley & The Wailers, “Natty Dread”. This is the first album they recorded and released without Peter Tosh or Bunny Wailer. This album is rated #3 on rateyourmusic.com’s Top 10 Reggae Albums of all time, and it is a good one.
The album opens up with one of his best, “Lively Up Yourself”, and after that awesome song, we have the studio version of “No Woman No Cry”. I highlight that it is the studio version, because most Marley fans will more likely recognize the live version on “Legend”, his infamous greatest hits album. While those two songs are the most recognizable tracks, the rest of the album is equally strong and meaningful at the same time. Next comes “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)”, which naturally confronts world hunger, and there are several other really interesting songs on this album. Among my favorites are “So Jah S’eh”, which has a great rhythm and horns opening, the funky title track “Natty Dread”, and the closing song, “Am-A-Do”. Top to bottom, this now probably becomes my favorite studio release from Marley, even without Tosh and Bunny. It just has a very upbeat and steady vibe, even while continuing to address the problems of the day, in Jamaica and worldwide.
No artist further defines a genre the way Marley dominates reggae, but he continued to back it up, album after album, with improving and consistently good content. Time to hit the waves, and this album is coming with me.