RIP Vincent "Tartar" Ford

Vincent Ford, one of Bob Marley‘s best friends, has died at 68 in Jamaica.  According to my favorite biography Bob Marley by Stephen Davis, “Tartar” and Bob shared a kitchen floor in Trench Town in the early 60s, with Bob in one corner of the room and Tartar in another.

These were the years in which Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Rita Anderson, Bunny Livingston, Beverly Kelso and Joe Higgs were formulating the vocal harmonies that were the foundation of The Wailers, and they often sang to distract themselves from their hunger.  Of course, their singing would change the world!

Bob shared songwriting credit for some of his best songs with Tartar (“Rastaman Vibration,” “Roots Rock Reggae” and “Crazy Baldhead.”  Vincent used his money mostly to run a soup kitchen in Kingston.  The Gleaner referenced Tata’s gentle vibes and that he suffered from diabetes in their tribute today.  It’s an honor to pay tribute to him for me as well.

The most famous song he wrote (and more important, lived) with Bob is immortal “No Woman No Cry.” The song tells the story of their life in Kingston with great accuracy, including bon fires, subsistence on porridge and their determination to overcome these and other obstacles to find happiness.

According to Bob Marley, Bob had a contractual dispute with his manager Danny Sims, who was his partner in Cayman Music publishing.  The dispute made Marley divert songwriting credit for several songs on Rastaman Vibration to the Barrett Brothers, Rita Marley and again, Vincent Ford to avoid putting them through Cayman.

Without question, “No Woman No Cry” is one of the best songs ever.  And any friend of Bob Marley, Rita Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, et al, is a friend of mine.  RIP Vincent Ford.

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