Natty Hi-Fi - Roots Reggae Publicity and Writings

See Natty Hi-Fi Facebook; maintained by Garvin Dan, our Technical Man, as well as a  resident DJ.

Tuesday 27th December - CHESTER ARMS, Chester Street. 2pm - 10pm. Residents TONY DREAD and GARVIN DAN and Crew, plus guests Groundation Sound (Coventry), feat. Mickey and Simeon and King Lloyd (Oxford). TEDDY DAN live. Free. Caribbean Food - Taste of the Tropics. Face painting/childrens art area.  A fundraiser for a medical clinic, in the Shasamane region, Ethiopia. Poster to follow.


A link to a poem for Wangari Maathai, written a few months before her passing

Review of  OUTTA SHASAMANE, the new album from Teddy Dan

Review of Roots Reggae All-Dayer at the Chester Arms, featuring JAMATONE. Other articles can be read in the Local and Community Journalism section.

Donnington Dub

This is the first article Natty Mark wrote for the Leys News, June 2010. Please excuse the printing errors. Others can be read in the Local and Community Journalism section.

Below, left to right - Natty Hi Fi residents Garvin Dan and Tony Dread, alongside Prince and special guest, Elder Shumba.

Published as Getting Back To My Roots

Check out Natty Hi Fi Facebook, which is maintained by Garvin Dan, our Technical Man

 Lightnin'  Hopkins

We must remember
That Reggae is blues with bass.
Strong versions
From the hard repertoire.
New translations
Of an old transcript.
Big Bill Broonzy
Chanting on a bassline
Rootsman Muddy in Dub

                                                       Before Peter Tosh
There was a man called Leadbelly.

©Natty Mark Samuels, 1996.


to the people of East Oxford

I had rested
And I had read
After the day of labouring.
Feeling a little restless
I turned to the turntable
And got an instant lift
All the way to Dubtown.

Up Lee Perry Lane
Across King Tubby Square
Down Keith Hudson Hill
Into the Park of Augustus Pablo.

And the only needles in this park
Were those of the old ladies
Knitting on a park bench.
Long-time strugglers
Wrinkled and smiling.

I stopped awhile on Burning Spear Bridge
Watching the fish below me
Flipping and flirting
Clean river celebration.

And strolling down Sly Dunbar St.
I was happy to hear
That when fights broke out
Weapons were rarely used
And gunfire was alien there.

I spoke with the elders in Gregorys Gardens
Danced with the younger in Prince Jammy Place
Drank fresh apple juice on Roots Radics Road
Had something to eat on Robbie Shakespeare St.

There was the harshness of money
But also the gentleness of bartering
Peace and Love a living anthem
I saw it in the willingness
Of the giving of a helping hand.

And their motto was everywhere
sprayed on the Dubtown walls
"When we fight
We will not fight each other
And when we love
We shell love honestly".

From Prince Far I Park
To Mickey Dread Market
I went here and there
And all around.
When weariness has got a grip on me
Give me a lift to Dubtown.

©Natty Mark Samuels, 2000.

One Love Festival Reunion @ the Regal, 19/03/11

Respect to the Regal for giving us the chance to dance to Aba-Shanti-I and Channel One in Oxford. Usually we have to go London Birminham or Leicester. But there they were on stage, alongside other Dub stalwarts, such as Mad Professor and Edinburgh's long-time Roots Reggae sound, Mungos Hi-Fi.
    Great to dance at the rear of the gathering, watching the bouncing, swaying and stepping. Blessed by Roots Reggae music, cocooned in   peace, that we all helped to create. Channel One, who most people will know from their corner at Westbourne Park, during the Notting Hill Carnival; with Ras Kayleb, the great M.C. Aba-Shanti-I, my personal favourite of the night; mainstay of the University of Dub sessions, formerly in Brixton, now at the Scala Cinema, Kings Cross. Mad Professor, founder of the Ariwa Studio, legendary engineer and producer, assisted by two 'apprentices'. Mungo, the Scottish Dub ambassador, who immersed us in a One Drop jamboree.
    I must confess, I never ventured into the room above, where King Original and Saxon were spearheading the Upstairs Dub. I  got wrapped up in the vibe below and remained within it. Aba-Shanti-I.    Good to see representation from the Oxford sound systems; Nico, from Cornerstone,
Danny Dread and Johnny Roots from Addis Ababa, as well as  Tony Dread and Garvin Dan of Natty Hi-Fi. 
    Mention must be made of the cinematic backdrop. A wonderful selection of images from Jamacian cinema, documentary and video. A visual pantheon of our Roots Reggae icons. Lee Scratch Perry, Big Youth, Abbysinians, to name a few. A feast for the eyes, alongside stimulation for the feet.
    We were treated to a peaceful, joyous celebration of Roots Reggae and Rastafari, which will generate more interest in the appreciation of this music and culture; leading more people to attend the One Love Festival in August this year and other nights of Red, Gold and Green festivity, at the Regal nightclub.
©Natty Mark Samuels, 2011

Ballad of Mr.Dodd


Once there was a youth who loved cricket
Though he loved jazz evenmore.
 In learning a trade
Trained to be a carpenter
And helped his mother in the store.

Jamaica tuned into America
Radio stations New Orleans and Miami.
Sometimes Nat King Cole
Sometimes Louis Jordan
Jazz,RnB and Boogie-Woogie.

From the island to the continent
Short-term contracts cutting cane.
Shopping trips for the musical gem
Sunday noon on Gold Coast beach
Friday night on Love Lane.

Massive speakers of the soundmen
Fats Domino in the street.
Spun records outside
His mothers liqour store
The begining of Coxsone Dodd.


What do you do
With a man like Duke Reid?
Ex-copper,marksman and gun-carrier
When he's coming with his heavies
Mission of the violent deed.

Police shooting at your speakers
Confiscating the sound.
Confusion and anger
Amongst those who came for remedy
Music for the lost and found.

Following their local heroes
End of week release.
The people need you Soundman
Build and start again
For the music cannot cease.

Credit here and there
From his mother a loan.
The dreaming and planning
The Big Two became Three
When Prince Buster went it alone.

Coxsones' head bouncer
Became a soundsystem rival.
From boxer and gang leader
To singer and producer,
'The Voice of the People'.


Time for homegrown talent
Time for original dubplate.
Clue J and Alton Ellis.
Jamacian RnB for Jamacians
Coming through the gate.

Cluett Johnson and the Blues Busters
The first great studio band.
Come in Ernest Ranglin
Come in Rico Rodriguez
Roland Alphonso awaits you on the bandstand.

The drums of Drumbago
The piano of Theo  Beckford.
All the top musicians
Experimenting, pioneering
Jamacian music going forward.


Blackwell came with Laurel Aitken
Seaga with Higgs and Wilson.
Jamaican artists
Jamaican producers
Fever pitch in musical Kingston.

Prince Buster came with CountOssie
Sound of the Rasta drum.
Rhythms from ancient Africa
Songs for new Jamaica
Count Ossie, you are most welcome.


Hail the entrance of Lee Scratch Perry
His arrival on Coxsone Downbeat.
Errand boy to record plugger
Then the supervising of auditions
At Coxsones shop on Orange Street.

Writing and producing for Delroy Wilson
Toots and the Maytals too.
He met  Prince Buster there
The seminal figure of Studio One
The monumental Jackie Mitoo.


Often looking to America
No need to look so far.
Here comes Tommy McCook
In unison with Don Drummond
The master musicians of ska.

Skatalites at Brentford Road
Studio One from '63.
Lloyd Brevett Lloyd Knibbs
Roland Alphonso Lester Sterling
Johnny Moore and  guitarist Jah Jerry.

Coxsone Dodd and his one-track
His first engineer Sid Bucknor.
Along came five young people
Friends from the Trenchtown ghetto
Who called themselves the Wailers.

''Simmer Down'' they sang
Of the rudeboy and the cop.
Backing vocals for Leonard Dillon
For Bob Andy too
Plus doo-wop, spirituals and pop

Lester Sterling and Roland Alphonso
Alongside each other again.
Through Alpha Boys Band to the  Skatalites
Lester loved Cannonball Adderley
Roland loved John Coltrane.

They backed everyone
As the Radics would later do.
For Duke, Buster and the brothers Yap
Eulogies everlasting
To the Alpha Boys crew.


Stand up Leroy Sibbles
Let us salute you eternally.
The original basslines
'Satta Masa Gana', Door Peeper
'Queen Minstrels' and 'Mr.Bassie'

Stand up Leroy Sibbles
Sing a Heptone for me.
Songwriter, arranger,
Talent scout and auditioner
Man of the sweeter melody.

Jackie, Leroy and Roland
True classics from the Soul Vendors.
Version and version
Innumerable versions
We shall use their rhythms forever.

Marcia Griffiths was their too
First Lady of Studio One.
John Holt came a little later
Solo once again
From Vere Johns' to the Paragons.

Dennis Brown sang ''No man is an island''
The teenage Dennis Brown.
The new child star
Born on Orange Street
Causing a buzz in Kingston town.


Farewell Rocksteady
Though we'll use your music endlessly.
Welcome Reggae
The slowing down of the rhythms
Poems from old man reality.

There are two other rhythmgreats
To be mentioned in this rhyme.
Let us not forget Horsemouth Wallace
The bassman Bagga Walker
At the dawn of Burning Spear time.

Heard a man chanting Africa
Heard the drum Nyabinghi.
Master drummers at Studio One
Bongo Herman and Bongo Les
And Skully, always Skully.

Enter the great falsetto
Enter Horace Andy.
Word and sound
In gratitude to God
His voice described as heavenly.

The Coxsone College of Music
What a great place to learn!
Taught by Larry Marshall and Cedric Brooks
Come Wailing Souls
Time to take your turn.

Johnny and Freddie
Helped each other along.
Sharing of inspiration
And the backing of vocals
Osbourne and  McGregorin song.

Said they were fighting for God
This band called the  Gladiators.
Then came a man called Sugar.
A talented youth eager to learn
Telling the world of Rasta.

Willie Williams and Lone Ranger
The list goes on and on.
The Studio One roll call.
Before Bunny Lee and Joe Gibbs
There was a great  pioneer called Coxsone.


Time for relocation
Time to step away.
The closing of the studio
The opening of a shop
Sunrise on a Brooklyn day.

And then his passing
The Kingston street named after him.
But there has been no biography
No Brentford Road Museum
Neither documentary or film.


But we remember him always
Constant re-cycling of his classics.
From the Aggrovators to the Radics
To the time of now,
Celebrating  Studio One magic.

To you Clement Seymour Dodd
Your vision and it's beauty.
To those who came to Brentford Road
To learn, to create
Under the mango tree.

Natty Mark Samuels, 2007

Gifts from Gregory

Dedicated to Garvin Dan of Natty Hi-Fi, celebrating the birth of a daughter.

He gave music to lighten us, to strengthen us.
Tell me, how many times have you swayed to Gregory? How many times have you sang along to his music?Through the chaos of cocaine, the jangling of jail keys, he kept giving. He knew he'd been handed the password to beauty and that he should share it with us.
We were thrilled to receive those presents from him. Like two of my favourites – Extra Classic from 1977 and Mr.Isaacs from 1978, both backed by the Revolutionaries (Sly and Robbie).
And alongside the music, the man. They say he was always generous, loyal to friends, a man who liked to joke and jest.
After all the turbulence, I was happy to hear,that his final moments were a time of peace. Because we cannot be in his presence any longer, I treasure even more, the time I saw him at Notting Hill Carnival. An unexpected happening; the sweetest shock ever, that evolved into a wonderful day. Gregory stepping, as only he can step, cool and confident. I grinned like a boy at birthday time.
Rastawoman, one of our elders has gone. Rastaman, treasure what he gave us.
Lovers of Reggae, do not cry. The gifts he gave remain. At the next session, you and I, will dance to Gregory Isaacs again.
©Natty Mark Samuels, 2010.

Of You and I

my first gift to my son Bingy

I still have my heroes Bingy
You'll have yours as time goes by
I sing of a man called Marley
For he sang of you and I

Praises to the First Spirit
Lamentations of the ghetto
Of the old man standing still
The young man on the go

Dreamer dreamed
But the dream died
I saw the dreamer today
Dreaming of suicide

Someone got forgotten
Someone slipped through the net
Song of the Unknown Sufferer
We haven't remembered her yet

I hear drums from the Rasta camp
Beauty filling the sky
I sing of a man called Marley
For he sang of you and I

Don't get me wrong Bingy
This man wasn't perfect
But he always tried his best
So for this I give him respect

Because he always tried his best
God continued to bless him
So I'll chant his name eternally
And compose these little hymns

Live your life he said
Live it always with dignity
Watch out for the man with two faces
And his third one called hypocrisy

When others ignored the scream
He listened to the cry
I sing of a man called Marley
For he sang of you and I

They tried to kill him once Bingy
Desperation explosion
Poor people earning where they can
Between poverty and corruption

Still he fed and employed them
Bailed them out of jail
If no one heard you weep
Bob Marley heard your wail

The ghetto couldn't hold him
His visions of everywhere
The politician couldn't trap him
For he flew above the snare

I dance to his music
I listen to his words.
I shall  bring you his message Bingy,
Just like those Three Little Birds.

©Natty Mark Samuels,2006.

The Treasure Man

to Jason Hewitt a.k.a. Shakaman

I heard about the Treasure Man
That he'd lost some of his glow
Rich people trickery
Poor mans 'head hung low

He helped to make millions for you
You ran to bank it quick
Asking for a portion of it,
You beat him with the richmans' stick

Weep not old Wailer
Weep not Family Man
Yout music keeps us bouncing
From Jamaica to Japan

From ghetto tough to Rasta elder
Music enthused the way
You amazed me yesterday,
Enchanting me today

From Hippy Boy to Wailer
Single Man to Family Man
I celebrate you, Aston Barret
Amongst your multitude of fans

Remember Bob loved you, Treasure Man
You gave each other gold
He valued your preciousness,
The gems produced and sold

Weep not old Wailer
Weep not Family Man
Your music keeps us bouncing
From Jamaica to Japan

Said you were just a 'session player'
Who are they trying to fob?
Sapphire to Burning Spear
Diamonds to Brother Bob

We curse the 'Rich Duet'
The two who continue to rob
You gave rubies to Lee Scratch Perry
Diamonds to Brother Bob

Dance, Treasure Man, dance
No need to sob
You gave emeralds to Yabba You
Diamonds to Brother Bob

Weep not old Wailer
Weep not Family Man
Your music keeps us bouncing
From Jamaica to Japan

©Natty Mark Samuels, 2006.

Although I  respect  Rita Marley and Chris Blackwell, for there support for Bob Marley, I was shocked and saddened by their treatment of Family Man.

A Time for Prayer

I saw you Ras Tafari
In your hour of greatest need
Kneeling at Lalibela.
Then a few days on
On your way to English exile
Praying in Jerusalem.

©Natty Mark Samuels, 2007



Oxford Mail, Monday, 4 January 2009

A youth worker has been using the power of reggae to raise funds for a dilapidated orphanage in West Africa.  

Mark Samuels — known locally as Natty Mark — has raised more than £400 for the Kumasi Children’s Home in Ghana by putting on a series of events celebrating the sounds of artists Burning Spear, Bim Sherman and Sammy Dread.

For more information about the 2008 Ghana visit

Let me take a moment here, to state my eternal admiration and respect to Sista Mary Dread, who I call Sista Ras, for running the Rastaites site, with it's links to Africa,  Ras Tafari and Roots Reggae nationwide. Alongside this, I thank her continuously, for her on-going support for the African School. Roots Reggae heroine of mine; may God bless all your days.