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Vincent Ford (c. 1940 – December 28, 2008), known as "Tata", was a Jamaican songwriter best known for receiving writing credit for "No Woman, No Cry", the reggae song made famous by Bob Marley & The Wailers, as well as three other Bob Marley songs. However, controversy persisted as to whether the compositions had actually been written by Marley himself, and had been credited to Ford to allow Marley to avoid contractual obligations, resulting in a legal battle that resulted in the Marley estate being granted control of the songs.
At a public housing project in Trenchtown, a neighborhood in the Jamaican capital city of Kingston, Ford ran a kitchen known as "the Casbah" on one of a number of communal buildings built around the courtyards of the complex. Before they achieved fame, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer would rehearse at the Casbah, sometimes lasting all night. Bob Marley lived at the Casbah for a time and dated his future wife Rita there before their 1966 marriage. The site has been turned into the Trenchtown Culture Yard, a tourist attraction that is one of the few drawing visitor's into Kingston's inner city, and features the wooden table that Marley slept on and his Volkswagen bus. Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited the site in a 2006 royal visit.
Ford was given writing credit for "No Woman, No Cry" on the 1974 album Natty Dread, as well the songs "Crazy Baldheads" (with Marley's wife Rita), "Positive Vibration" and "Roots Rock Reggae" from the 1976 album Rastaman Vibration. Marley's widow and his former manager Danny Sims sued to obtain royalty and ownership rights to the songs, claiming that Marley had actually written the songs but had assigned the credit to Ford to avoid meeting commitments made in prior contracts. A 1987 court decision sided with the Marley estate, which assumed full control of the songs.
Marley historian Roger Steffens recounted that Marley had acknowledged in a 1975 Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation interview that he had written "No Woman, No Cry" while tuning a guitar in Tata's yard.
While in Trenchtown in the late 1970s, Marley biographer Vivien Goldman asked Ford point-blank "Was it you?" who wrote the songs. Ford never responded to the question directly, answering with a twinkle in his eye "Well, what do you think?". Goldman described Ford as "an unbroken link to a generation, many of whom are now gone", reminiscing that "The last time I saw him he was going into a Marley family gig in Kingston, and he was just borne along on a wave of youth, all admiring him and understanding what he’d come to represent." Given the collaborative nature of reggae, Goldman described how "That song may very well have been a conversation that they had sitting around one night. That's the way Bob's creativity worked. In the end it didn't matter. The point is Bob wanted him to have the money."