"Never make a politician grant you a favour
They will aways want to control you forever..."
Natty Dread is readily regarded as one of the most alluring albums recorded by Bob Marley; both musically and historically, it considered by many to be a milestone in the career of this artist. Known best to some by more familiar tracks like "Lively Up Yourself", "No Woman, No Cry" and "Revolution", it is a tantalizing amalgam that displays Marley's most prominent characteristics -- (arguably radically) political, spiritual and fondly sentimental -- in a fine, emotional balance.
Perhaps one of the most important things to note about this album is what it did for the public perception of Marley himself. While it is true that Marley was already considered in some circles to be an evocative "voice for the oppressed", through songs like "Get Up, Stand Up" and "I Shot the Sheriff", due to the fact that this was the first album released under the "Bob Marley and the Wailers" moniker (as opposed to simply "The Wailers"), it has also been said that Natty Dread marked the beginnings of his image in the eyes of some as a truly charismatic figure, and perhaps, a prophet.
As stated in dghallau's writeup above, Natty Dread was the first Marley album to feature his wife, Rita Marley; she is actually credited for penning two of the albums in the song, "So Jah Seh" (with Willy Francisco), as well as the title track.
In a musical genre that has weathered more than its fair share of controversies and cultural fads, Natty Dread has shown to be one album that has transcended all of this, finding its way into the music collections of many, regardless of race, worldview, or political persuasion. Perhaps, then, this is why it is no surprise that, in 1997, nearly a quarter-century after this album's first release, it was reinterpreted and covered in its entirety, in jazz form, by the Charlie Hunter Quartet. Natty Dread is an album that will continue to be experienced by many, through the years, reggae veterans, initiates or otherwise.
"...Forget your troubles and dance
Forget your sorrows and dance
Forget your sickness and dance
Forget your weakness and dance..."
-- "Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)"