While I haven't heard this edition, the quality of other recent Marley reissues from Universal makes it very probable that this is superbly mastered.
But a great opportunity has been missed here, unlike with Exodus: that came out in a deluxe double CD edition with 12" and dub versions, additional 45s and some fine live material. This contains one previously issued bonus track from the same sessions. I do hope Universal will eventually see fit to issue a deluxe version of this album because, amazing as it may seem, there's some top quality material associated with it that has NEVER been reissued, namely the 3 Jamaican singles released from it plus their B-sides. These are: Knotty Dread (different mix) c/w dub version; Belly Full (again a different mix) c/w dub version and Talking Blues (different mix) c/w a DJ version by I Roy. A slightly different mix/edit of the latter is the only one of these six tracks that's ever been issued outside of Jamaica. The mixes of the single A-sides are notably different from those on the album, and the two dub versions, especially Belly Full, are absolutely superb. Sorry this is a rant more than a review - if you aren't already familiar with Bob Marley this is as good a place as any to start and one of his greatest albums, but for serious fans this is just the same stuff all over again. Maybe Universal are quietly scheduling a Marley Jamaican 45s album for some time in 2010. Or maybe they aren't, but they should be because this is the last notable Marley material that hasn't been reissued - there's more than just the three I've mentioned here.
on 22 July 2012
This was the first exposure to Bob Marley and the Wailers. In New Zealand in the seventies, it turned up in Taste Record store and at the time I was not interested in reggae. Prolonged exposure to ska at school and through my brothers Desmond Dekker singles. So this was out of my then field of interest but it happened to be summer and a blue haze occupied the mind and this grew and grew in power with each playing. It flows as a statement without being a concept album (big in those times "Dark Side of the Moon" etc. The combination of musicians works well and brother Bob's scratchy rhythm guitar supports the honey and smoke vocals. The lyrics are political and to the point. The language immerses you into a drawl that conceals universal messages. of course it has "No Woman No Cry" but that is not the exceptional track on this album. On first listening that track is more understated than the stadium/live anthem signature tune it became. "Lively up Yourself", "Them Belly Full" and "Three O Clock Roadblock" remain favourites and show Marley's skilled song smithing. Then there are the Wailers post Peter Tosh, tight and competent musicians one and all. It remains my favourite Marley album but only because of that first offering opening into a world where reggae music soared.
on 4 March 2009
I am a huge fan of The Wailers and have been listening to them for 15 years. This was the first album to feature the I-Threes, the new backing vocalists drafted in to fill the void left by the departed Pete Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Despite their absence this album became the first to really establish The Wailers outside of Jamaica and brought them the cross over success that Island Records had been craving since first signing them. Bob Marley became a household name after this and his road to superstardom had begun. I personally feel that although it gets rave reviews elsewhere, for me it lacks a little something that would've made it a real classic. It's still an excellent album which features many great songs but as an album it doesn't quite reach the same heights as Catch A Fire and Burnin' had before it.
The album opens with a reworking of Lively Up Yourself which is a nice song but when compared with the original, feels a little flat. Next is one their most famous songs, No Woman, No Cry. If like me you heard the live recording of this first, then this will disappoint. The live recording is slower and the organ and vocals blend perfectly, but on this version it doesn't have that same wow factor. Again not bad just not great and let's face it the live recording featured on Legend has to be one of the greatest live songs ever. On the third track the album begins to step it up with the awesome Them Belly Full (But We Hungry) which is followed by the militant brilliance of Rebel Music (3 O 'clock Roadblock). So Jah Sey is next up and while not quite a classic it's a nice song. The joyful Natty Dread raises the standard again with it's faster, insistent beat, but the reworking of Bend Down Low like Lively Up Yourself just leaves you longing to listen to the original. Talkin' Blues happens to be one of my favourite songs on the album with it's sparse arrangement and excellent backing vocals by the I-Threes. Revolution is good but i don't feel it's quite as strong as some of their other rootsier songs like Burnin' and Lootin' or I Shot The Sheriff etc. The bonus track Am-A-Do is ok but by no means a classic and bearing in mind that The Wailers always released relatively short, streamlined albums it isn't too hard to see why they cut it and left Natty Dread as a 9 song album.
The rhythm section is quality, as always Aston and Carlton Barrett never disappoint. There are some lovely licks of guitar too by Al Anderson on many of the songs, overall the musicality is superb. But whereas other albums by The Wailers are consistently classic, this album has classic songs interspersed with good songs. My problem with this album is down to the material being not quite up the standard that The Wailers had set themselves previously. But that's understandable. This was the first album with the new line up and the next album, Rastaman Vibration, was back to classic status. If you're new to The Wailers buy Songs Of Freedom. It's the best introduction to their work that you can get. If you already have a compilation of some kind and are looking into getting some of the original albums try starting with Exodus and Kaya. Then buy the harder but incredible Catch A Fire (Deluxe Edition), Burnin' and Survival. Once you've got them i'm pretty sure you'll buy the rest.
on 31 July 2001
Re-mastered release from THE artist to play every single summer, all day long. Great album, featuring some of The Wailers' best work (but then, which of their albums don't?). If you ignore the version of No Woman No Cry (after you've heard the live version, nothing else comes close), this is a perfect album, the bonus track just adds to the whole affair.
Buy It Now.
on 2 August 2015
I have loved this record since it first came out.Love the original studio version of No woman No Cry.A;so Bend Down Low,3 o clock Roadblock.All tracks are great.Talikin' Blues is brilliant too.
on 9 December 2003
I really enjoyed listening to this excellent CD. It was the first Bob Marley lp that i bought, except for the greatest hits collection One Love. I was very surprised at the level of its content, as i had expected that all the good songs would have been included on One Love/Legend. I was wrong. There are lots of good songs here not on the greatest hits cds. Rebel Music (3o'clock roadblock), Natty Dread and 'Em belly Full (but we hungry). This CD is definately worth buying
on 4 December 2000
With this album B.Marley & The Wailers surely set a firm foundation as to their decisive, inimitable sound & message, that was to come in the years that followed. First there is the new addition of the backing vocals, The I-Threes; then their is the markedly more focused sound - dry and direct. And though perhaps not quite hitting the mark yet, in terms of multi-national appeal, already songs like 'Lively Up Yourself' & 'No Woman No Cry' (with its slower & more widely known life version, released in later years), show, that B.Marley and The Wailers would certainly not address an audience limited to Rastafarians only. Their political 'wailings' about the atrocious & unjust governing by the ruling parties & greedily rich, expressed in songs such as 'Them Belly Full', 'Rebel Music' & 'Revolution', effortlessly merged with words of wise encouragement & biblical recitements, firmly founded on own experiences, made in a country, infamous for its history of the slave trade, governments' injustices & violence. But just as Jamaica is also known for the undisputable beauty of its land & surrounding ocean, sweet sugar cane, and rum, so is the solemn nature of the lyrics surrounded by a sea of 1000%-solid groove, honey-sweet harmonies, beautiful & mind-blowing arrangements, which have you swinging after hearing just a few bars of this fine album, NATTY DREAD.
on 9 May 2016
I had almost all his albums and those with the Wailers but none of them has "No Woman No Cry" in the non-live version. It also of course has the title track "Natty Dread" which is excellent. It's only got nine tracks but they are all well worth it.
on 22 May 2015
I bought this album in vynal when it first came out. Now have it in CD, MP3 etc. It's just a fantastic, thoughtful piece of work.
on 12 December 2004
Along with 'catch a fire' and 'Exodus' this is one of the best Marley albums. In terms of simplicity and great melodys its amazing and it dosn't have the over produced sound like some of his later albums.