Peter Tosh

Scrolls of the Prophet: The Best of Peter Tosh

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Scrolls of the Prophet is the first single-disc Tosh best-of to contain tracks from his Columbia, Rolling Stones, and EMI albums. Since the set originates with Columbia, the material from the other two labels is limited; there are five tracks from Equal Rights and four from Legalize It, with two from Bush Doctor and one from Wanted Dread & Alive, plus three rare or previously unreleased tracks. But the bulk of Tosh's most memorable tracks appeared on those first two Columbia albums, including his solo remake of the Wailers song "Get Up, Stand Up" and "Stepping Razor," "Equal Rights," and "Legalize It." Tosh was intense and directed, but not prolific. His tunes are sometimes borrowed; "Downpressor Man" is a rewrite of the folk-gospel tune "Oh Sinner Man." His themes are also repetitive, as the sequencing here -- which follows "Legalize It," his ode to the legalization of marijuana extolling the drug's medicinal qualities, with "Bush Doctor," a song that bears much the same message -- tends to emphasize. Nevertheless, he managed a surprising variety within the sometimes constricted reggae form, speeding things up on his hit remake of the Temptations' "Walk and Don't Look Back" (a duet with Mick Jagger) and slowing them down for the ballad "Fools Die," which has a haunting flute line.

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