Bob Marley and Me

Honourable Natty Dread by Albert and Tempie


In 1982, when I and I published I first book of poetry, Honourable Natty Dread, the Bob Marley homage industry was nascent.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 273389838_6987216897987505_354522899709725921_n.jpg

I can remember, I copied the words of my poem, that was written one month after Bob’s demise, on the back of a large poster, and stuck it up on the wall at Bath Estate, where Ras Jomo et al used to live, and a sister remarked, “Albies promoting Bob Marley.”Nine years later, I was on the forefront again, organising the ninth Bob Marley day observances in Roseau, Dominica. At that occasion, a representative from the Reggae Report was in attendance, and she interviewed me and other artistes and wrote up a review. At the concert that was held at Harlem Jam city, I performed the song version of my poem, and Bob’s Positive vibration. Each went on for at least 10 minutes. Since Bob’s transition, hundreds of books, documentaries, biopics records, and even plays have been dedicated to him. But very few persons know that one of the first books published in Tribute to Dominica was published in Dominica, by one, Ras Albert Williams.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 273310385_6987216934654168_5275687319284237680_n.jpg

Discovering Bob Marley

Bob Marley first came to my attention in 1975. In 1975 Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry. The song was recorded in 1974 and released on the studio album Natty Dread on the Island/ Tuff Gong lables (Wikipedia) In 1975, the single peaked at number 22 on the UK singles chart, and number 23 on the Dutch top 40. According to Wikipedia, sales of the single of No Woman no Cry was certified Gold having sold in excess of 30,000 in Brazil ( (Pro-Música Brasil)[), 15,000 in Italy (FIMI) and 400,000 in the United Kingdom (BPI).

In 1975, Dominica was firmly in the grips of the impact of the infamous Prohibited and Unlawful Societies and Associations Act of 1974, commonly referred to as The Dread Act. The Patrick John administration had passed the act on November 19, 1974 in the House of Assembly, that gave security forces the power to kill, injure or arrested any person wearing dreadlocks. Under this, most Draconian of all legislation, a first offence could land you in prison for 6 months, and 2 years for a repeat offence. The law also stipulated that any persons harbouring or sheltering a ‘Dread’ could also be jailed for 2 years.

Dreads were not welcome into the country,and scores of Dread brethren were killed, and many more imprisoned, and/or brutalized under the act which remained on the books up until the 1980s.

But Bob Presence on the international scene was omnipresent. His two-night concerts at the Lyceum Theatre in London, United Kingdom recorded on July 17 and 18 1975, and released asa vinyl LP on 5 December 1975 by Island Records, sent his newly-found fans in to a delirium, and Bob’s popularity was shot into the stratosphere. Decades later, in 2020, the long-lost introduction by Tony Garnet would surface on a reissued CDs of the two-night celebrated concert would emerge that a fan of Bob Marley had captured on pages 8-9 in his book Memories of Jah People: “Tony Garnett came on stage along with Bob Marley and the Wailers. They waited while he read out something about some Black Man waiting to be hanged”. Amid thunderous applause; the crowd pumped ready to experience the Bob Marley and the Wailers on stage, perhaps for the very first time, (it was said the heat from the perspiring crowd condensed and fell down from the ceiling like rain,) The master -of-ceremonies, Tony Garnett read announcement from the Desmond Trotter Defence Committee before the start of that historic concert.

Are you ready for show time? Ok, you’re sounding good I know you’re feeling good, ” Garnett began, “but there is a point of interest I’d like to bring to your awareness. Thank you. This here says, Free Desmond Trotter, sentenced to hang in Dominica for defending Rastafari. Hail, Now they go have some speakers and film show at Hilton Community, and I’s like everybody to turn out for this like them turn out for Wailers. Yea? love! Well this, I want tell you, is a Trench Town experience. All the way from Trench Town, Jamaica, Bob Marley and the Wailers. Come on!”…and Bob opened his playlist with Trench Town Rock, and the rest is history. At that meeting were expected contributions from the historian and black activist, Walter Rodney.

(Live At The Lyceum, London/July 17,1975)

Bob Marley devotee

From that time on, I became a Bob Marley devotee. I was thirteen (13) years old. At that time my own search in the bible for meaning within Rastafari and its connection to ganja and dreadlocks, and His Imperial Majesty was ignited. At the Dominica Grammar School (DGS) in 1974 through to 1979, becoming a Rastafarian was tantamount ahead of even more my school work. I reasoned with other schoolmates , and smoked herb on recess breaks, and would meet up with friends after school and go to the gardens for bible sharing and to smoke the Holy Herb. At home, bedroom wall was splattered with newspaper and magazine articles on Bob Marley, and His Imperial Majesty. The Dreag had overthrown, the ageing Ethiopian Monarch on September 12, 1974, who the Rastafarians regarded as ‘God ‘ himself. I can remember, I heard an interview with Bob Marley and Mike Phillips on BBC’s Caribbean Magazine radio show that aired on Dominica’s radio station, and I decided to write to the the BBC to let them know how much I enjoyed the show. A few weeks later the wrote me back, telling me that they had sent my letter to Bob ‘s studio, and they sent me 4 large studio photographs of Bob to me, and I showed them off to my friends at school.

The Dread Act was in full force. Many high school students were openly sympathizing of the Dreads, and growing afros was one of the ways that persons identified with the Black Power struggle. One particular student at the DGS, ‘marooned’ into the hills, to join The Dreads, others, in the upper forms 4 and 5, grew dreadlocks in defiance of the school’s European dress codes, and bounced around the compound with bloodshot eyes. I, too, would first grow a full afro, and later brushed-backed locks, that transformed into early dread locks by the time I arrived at 5th form.

Dominica gained political Independence on November 3rd, 1978, I was in 4th form, and I had been elected to the student council as prefect. My dreads brushed, and pressed, and I can remember leading a squad of mainly girl students across the Botanic Gardens to eyes right the new prime minister at the School’s parade.

On May 29, 1979, we as students were also called upon to join the trade unions to protest against the Patrick regime, and we witnessed the stoning of the Ministerial Headquarters on Kennedy Avenue where I lived, and also, I can remember this incident while waiting to commence my General Certificate of Education (GCEs) exams in 1979, a teacher came into the exam room and announced that the Headmaster, one Mr. Hubert Charles, that there are two students that are growing dread locks and that if they wish to continue to do the exam they would have to cut their hair. I think I eventually brushed out the dreads and reset my hairstyle to a cramped afro.

Then Hurricane David struck.

Honourable Natty Dread

Hurricane David devastated Dominica with 150 miles per hour winds on August 29, 1979. I eventually ended v living in the hills at River Claire. And it while up there I decided to publish my tribute to Bob Marley. The slim pamphlet contained ten pieces, which were, in fact, 5 poems, and five songs. It was illustrated by Ras Algie, and launched at the Harlem Jam city at the African Liberation Day activities. I remember that raising the money for the printing was a struggle, I needed XCD$300. I applied for assistance from Small Projects Assistance Team (SPAT), who asked me to do some research , by asking previous authors like Lennox Honychurch and Giftus John what kind of paper they used and so on. Needless to say, when I returned for an answer, they told me that they had given priority to someone who wanted assistance to start a fowl coop. I eventually was able to obtain from XCD $150.00 from the Cultural Division, and XCD$150.00 from Eric’s Bakery, a schoolmate, Neva Shillingford was the proprietress there.

No photo description available.

But my struggle to print the book did not end there. When I brought my handwritten book to Tropical Printers Mr Ian Monroe told me that I had to bring it typed. So off I went, and was able to get my neighbour Merle Jno Baptise and schoolmate Earl Edwards to type up the 12 or so pages. Ras Algie, I had been friends with for a few years now. We were members of Ras Lion’s drumming group ‘I’ in the mid 70s, and after hurricane David, I run his preschool in Newtown for him for about 2 weeks while he was out of the state. I asked him to do the illustrations for the book, and it was he that advised me to use my photograph on the cover. He told me that “Bob Marley is dead. You are the Honourable Natty Dread.” In those days, there were no smartphones, or even digital cameras. Few people owned a film camera, and if you did, you had to get it processed by one of the photographic shops in Roseau. I paid for a portrait photograph, and the photographer was Annie Richards at Photo One.

Rasta Truths and Rights

Some time later in 1982, Ras Yabia, who also visited our vineyard in River Clear told me that he had seen my poetry book in Canada at the first Rastafari International Conference in Canada. And he later showed me a copy of the publication, which to my surprise the entire book was attached. Well who wouldn’t be pleased that your book was receiving such attention. To this day, I have not heard anything from the organisers. Nevertheless, this led me to consult with Alwin Bully who was the Chief Cultural Officer of the newly established Division of Culture. He told me one of the ways to copyright your work was to post a copy back to yourself, with a copy of the day’s newspaper. Still I argued with him that the 1911 Copyright Act of Dominica was outdated. He subsequently, invited me to give a 20-minuted presentation on copyright to a copyright symposium somewhere in 1983/84.

Do you love to write?

Looking back now on my 40th anniversary as a published author, I find it all quite amusing. I would go on to publish several more books, while activities with the Frontline Bookstore, the Dominica Writer’s Guild,(DWG) and the Inity of Rastafarian Idren (IRI) continued. In 1990, I published what was the third or fourth edition of Honourable Natty Dread, and included a mashup of line from Bob Marley songs and included it inthe book under the name Babylon System and Don’t Worry (See below)I also went on to stage the first Bob Marley Day in Dominica and so on. I’ll stop here for the time being. As you can see, I am only just getting started talking about Bob Marley, and what he means to me, and the steps I have taken to preserve his legacy

was the first to be published in honour of Bob Marley. The first book that came to my attention was Catch a Fire by Timothy White in 1983 and Bob Marley Reggae King of the world by Malika Lee Whitney and Dermott Husssey published in 1984.


(c) 1990, 2010, 2016 Ras Albert Williams

You too rude!

Oh! What a rat race.

Babylon system is a


But I’m a duppy conqueror:

So JAH seh.

RASTAMAN live up,

Live if you want to live.

Zion Train is coming our


JAH LOVE protect us…

I want to give you some


But the Babylon System is a


Would you make the system


Against your Brotherman?

Oh no…oh no, dread no.

Turn your lights down low,

Let me tell you what I know.

I’m hurting inside.

They say LOVE is a stream


Will find its course:

JAH LOVE protect us…

Now I know who is the real revolutionaries, but who’s


Stay at home when the


FIGHTERS are fighting.

Babylon system is a


Sucking the children day by day,

But the gift of JAH is life.

JAH LOVE protect us…



(c) 1995, 2010, 2016

Don’t worry about a thing,

Every little thing will be all right.

Zion train is coming our way.

Jah will be waiting there.

Don’t worry about a thing.

Who Jah bless, no man curse.

Where I am, thou shall abide,

Blood is thicker than water.

Don’t worry about a thing,

We JAH PEOPLE can make things work.

When one door is closed, many more

are opened. I want you to know that I’m a rainbow too.

the big fish, who always try to eat down

Don’t worry about a thing.

Because none of them can stop the time.

I know Jah will never let us down,

And we’re jammin’ in the name of The Lord.

Don’t worry about a thing.

Because the biggest man you ever did

see was just a baby. It’s a new feeling, it’s a new day,

and we just can’t live in a negative way.

Don’t worry about a thing.

Some will hate you pretend they love you. These are

the small fish, and we’re moving right out of Babylon.

Don’t worry about a thing.

Though there’s so much trouble in the world.

The hotter the battle, the sweeter the victory,

but we know that we shall win, cause

we are confident in the VICTORY of good over evil.

Don’t worry about a thing.

Because the sun is shinning and the weather is sweet.

We’ll be forever loving Jah and who the cap fit, let them wear it.

Honourable Natty Dread by Albert and Tempie

[Photos] extracts from Hourable Natty Dread including the signature poem, of the same name

New edition available

Meantime, if you want to obtain a copy of the latest edition of Honourable Natty Dread. It is now available forever on print-on-demand basis from for US$21.02 or £15.66 for this hidden gem of a work, if I might say so myself. (Click graphic below for easy access)


Further reading

No Woman, No Cry – Wikipedia (2022). Available at:,_No_Cry (Accessed: 5 February 2022).

People, M. (2011) Memories of Jah PeopleIssuu. Available at: (Accessed: 5 February 2022).

Trial of Desmond Trotter, Dominican black power activist, for murder | The National Archives (2022). Available at: (Accessed: 5 February 2022).

Hubert J. Charles – Wikipedia (2022). Available at: (Accessed: 5 February 2022).

Dominica Library and Information Service – DLIS catalog › Details for: Honourable Natty Dread / (2022). Available at: (Accessed: 5 February 2022).