Natty Dread (1974) is considered Bob Marley's finest album, the ultimate reggae recording of all time. This was Marley's first album without former bandmates Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston, and the first released as Bob Marley & The Wailers. The material presented here defines what reggae was originally all about, with political and social commentary mixed with religious paeans to Jah.
Abbey Road's world-renowned engineers have been cutting grooves into discs since the studios first opened their doors in 1931. These records were pressed from master cuts using a precision technique known as half-speed mastering. The procedure requires the source master and the cutting lathe to run at half speed on a specially adapted Neumann VMS-80 lathe. This rare and specialised technique transforms difficult to cut highend frequencies into relatively easy to cut mid-range frequencies. The result is a cut with excellent high frequency response and very solid and stable stereo images. In short, half-speed mastering produces a master of the highest quality that enables the pressing plant to produce a superlative record. - Miles Showell, Mastering Engineer, Abbey Road Studios
To celebrate what would have been Bob Marley's 75th birthday last year, Island Records reissued the albums that the reggae legend released with the British label from 1973 to his death in 1983, with the addition of Legend, the greatest hits compilation that is one of the best selling albums of all time. And these fresh pressings were cut using half-speed mastering techniques, which help beef up the sound of these already spectacular recordings. As Marley's fanbase has only grown and deepened over the years, all 12 albums sold out online quickly. But if you have an abiding interest in his work and want to hear it with clarity and intensity, you'd do well to hit your local shop or online resellers to find these. The sound of Marley and his crack backing band, which included Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in its earliest incarnation, is bulbous and thick on these reissues. The basswork of Aston 'Family Man' Barrett is given room to rumble, and the balance of elements, particularly the interplay between Marley and backing vocalists the I-Threes, is well-preserved. With the centenary of Marley's birth right around the corner, this won't be the last time Island finds a way to repackage and resell his work. But I'm skeptical that those future reissues will sound as good as these.
- Vinyl LP
- Half-speed mastered at Abbey Road
- Bob Marley 75th Anniversary obi strip
- Made in Germany
- Lively Up Yourself
- No Woman, No Cry
- Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
- Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)
- So Jah S'eh
- Natty Dread
- Bend Down Low
- Talkin' Blues