Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peter Tosh - Equal Rights

A blog on Peter Tosh has been writer’s block to me.  Having accumulated six out of his seven solo studio albums, I am still in search of his first, “Legalize It” to complete the collection.  Yet, out of the albums that I do have, at least two stand out as brilliant recordings, start to finish: “Mystic Man” and “Equal Rights”.  I have been wanting to write about them, but without knowing how to get started.  Usually a drink helps – which it did last night – when Mr. VV played a record with “Get Up, Stand Up” and (without having seen what record was spinning) I found myself asking if this was our Bob Marley or Peter Tosh record; in this particular instance I genuinely could not tell the difference.  This got me wondering who actually is credited for this song, because inherently, the tune is more in the style of Tosh - writing about injustice, war, and poverty - not Marley’s one love, three little birds, and that the sun is shining.  Well it’s a split bill on this one, both get the recognition for the penning of “Get Up, Stand Up”.  However, let the record show, that I prefer Tosh's rendition.  Tosh seems to really own the lyrics a bit more than Marley... just sayin'. 
Ms. VV vs. Writer’s Block: 1-0

Peter Tosh, being a founding member of the Wailers, released his sophomore solo album “Equal Rights” in 1977 starting with “Get Up, Stand Up"; how stylistically appropriate.  But it really only gets better from here.  His lamenting sway in "Downpressor Man" is his Jamaican roots take on "Sinnerman", an American folk song made popular by Nina Simone.  Its multi-tonal instrumentals come through as captivating on this track, and make it my favorite on the album.  This is followed by the thoughtful "I Am That I Am" and the politically motivated "Equal Rights" starts off the B-Side.

Peter Tosh's inspired vocals matched with the backing musician's drumbeats provide a definitive heartbeat that can be heard throughout the entire LP and it is worth many a listen.

1 comment:

  1. A related story by NPR...