Peter Tosh

1978-1987

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Peter Tosh just wasn't as lovable as Bob Marley, if indeed Tosh ever even set out to be. Tall, with a baritone voice, a lion's heart, and a passion for justice, Tosh suffered no fools (politically or otherwise), and his gruff manner insisted more than it ever cajoled. He wasn't the songwriter that Marley was, and he didn't have the patience to let love and tolerance change the state of affairs in Jamaica, or the world, choosing instead to demand that change, insist on it, and he named names, and his murder in 1987 no doubt had a lot to do with his outspoken anger at the blatant injustices in his homeland. Tosh was a bad boy because he spoke up and he spoke out, and he refused to be cuddly or marketed any other way -- he was a rebel with a cause. Sony reissued his two best post-Wailers solo albums, 1976's Legalize It and 1977's Equal Rights in 2011, complete with bonus tracks, demos, outtakes, and dub mixes, and this six-disc set from EMI finishes the story, collecting Tosh's final five studio albums, 1978's Bush Doctor, 1979's Mystic Man, 1981's Wanted Dread and Alive, 1983's Mama Africa, the concert album Captured Live from 1984, and 1987's No Nuclear War, along with a disc of alternate takes and rarities, and a final disc that captures a previously unreleased BBC concert from 1983. In truth, it's a mixed bag (Tosh was always at his best in front of a crowd and his work in studios never came close to capturing his true, brave, and ever restless musical soul), but it captures the final years of a very special and admirable artist in one sweep. Start with Legalize It and Equal Rights, though. Better yet, start with the Wailers' pre-Island Records Jamaican releases, then circle forward and check out this set. There was only one Peter Tosh, just like there was only one Bob Marley. Throw in Bunny Wailer, also a singular artist, and it's easy to see why the Wailers were more than the sum of the group's parts -- they shared the same heart.

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