Barry Brown – Can’t Stop Natty Dread

by May 30, 2023Artist, Reviews

Barry Brown - Can't Stop Natty Dread

Release Info

Thompson Sound Cantabria
Street date
May 26, 2023
Bandcamp Record Label


Side A
1. Please Officer
2. Please Officer (Version)
3. Ketch A Fire
4. Can’t Stop Natty Dread
5. It’s Rough My Brother
6. Mount Zion
7. Free Dreadlocks

Side B
1. Don’t Mess With Natty Dread
2. You Don’t Know Who To Trust
3. You Don’t Know Who To Trust (Version)
4. Life Is So Funny
5. Love Jah So
6. Love Jah So (Version)
7. Love Is Pure

Linval Thompson and Roberto Sánchez

Since veteran singer and producer Linval Thompson and Roberto Sánchez from Cantabria, Spain, teamed up, the latter has reissued several classic LPs previously released on the Thompson Sound imprint. Think of LPs such as Linval Thompson’s I Love Marijuana, The Viceroys’ We Must Unite, and Yami Bolo’s Healing. These are now followed by Barry Brown’s Can’t Stop Natty Dread, an album the late singer recorded for Linval Thompson way back in the early ’80s. At the time, the then self-titled LP got a Jamaica only release. Approximately two decades later, Cherry Red subsidiary Hot Milk, reissued the Barry Brown LP on CD. Shortly after, they put out a box set that contained all the tracks on double A-sided vinyl singles. This was a limited edition consisting of seven 7″ records.

Barry Brown

Barry Brown was another one of the Jamaican singers who rose to prominence during the transition from roots reggae to early dancehall in the late 1970s and early 1980s, along with Barrington Levy and Linval Thompson. He worked his way up by frequently visiting West Kingston’s recording studios and completing errands before being discovered by Bunny “Striker” Lee, a successful producer who helped him kickstart his career. As a singer with a falsetto voice supreme, Brown went on to collaborate with Lee on numerous singles and albums throughout the late ’70s, and later worked with producers such as Sugar Minott, King Jammy, and Linval Thompson, among others.


The tracks featured on Can’t Stop Natty Dread were recorded at Channel One and mixed by Scientist at King Tubby’s, while the Roots Radics provided the riddims. During a short time frame, from 1979 into 1982, the recording sessions for this collection of his work were conducted. Gathered are eleven lead vocal tracks and three dub versions. Similar to his producer, Barry Brown tends to create vibes rather than compose real songs, utilizing his hypnotic, smooth tone to enchant his lyrical delivery. The music heard on this album fluctuates between roots riddims and heavier sounding dancehall backdrops. A prime example of the former is title track Can’t Stop Natty Dread, which revamps the Wailing Souls’ Who Know Waan Come into an uplifting piece. Ketch A Fire, on the riddim known from Linval’s Everybody Needs Money, showcases inventive percussion and repetitive organ, creating a sense of urgency, while It Rough My Brother has a cheerful quality that belies its melancholy lyrics. Additionally, Mount Zion features sparse dancehall grooves, stripped-down instrumentation, and impressive guitar work. Free Dreadlocks is a strong piece which has Barry Brown doing some name dropping. Side B ends with a song that is probably best-known among 7″ collectors, the enchantingly amorous Love is Pure. This one comes across the same riddim as the one utilized for Rod Taylor’s 1981 single Moving Out Ever.

This is an exceptional compilation of tunes which surely ain’t made up of inferior leftovers, but rather a splendid representation of music by a reggae vocalist at the height of his creativity. Without a doubt, a great addition to your collection whether you are specifically a fan of Barry Brown or of reggae in general.

Can’t Stop Natty Dread

Don’t Mess With Natty Dread


Where to get it

Buy @ Apple Music

More Barry Brown Music

Buy @ Apple Music