The Ultimate Peter Tosh Experience In Stores Feb 24th

Posted: January 26, 2009 by bigced in Hip Hop News/Press Releases


tosh tank top

Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh formed The Wailers-Jamaica’s equivalent of The Beatles-and when that super-group splintered in the early Seventies all three Wailers went on to achieve worldwide fame with acclaimed solo careers. Peter Tosh was a bonafide international star with such anthems as “Get Up Stand Up”, “Legalize It” and “Equal Rights” but he was also a significant political activist who was arrested in anti-apartheid protest, invited to address the United Nations, and who wore Arab garb when performing in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement. Truly he stands with such artists as Curtis Mayfield, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Gil Scott-Heron and Bob Marley as one of a small group of musical artists who had major political impact. Yet, while Bob Marley’s birthday is celebrated annually around the world, there is relatively little commemoration of Peter Tosh. Interestingly, Peter’s last concert occurred in 1983, just over two years after Bob Marley’s death. Tosh was met by his own untimely death in 1987 when he was murdered in Jamaica in 1987 at the age of 44, shortly after the release of his No Nuclear War album and on the eve of what was touted to be the longest reggae tour ever undertaken. Peter Tosh’s murder was validation of his long-time assertion that there were many people who wanted him dead.

The Ultimate Peter Tosh Experience multi-pac, which will be released by Shanachie in January 2009, is a two-DVD, one CD, “multi-pac” with a thirty page booklet of commentary and rare photos that gives the first truly comprehensive look at Peter Tosh as a brilliant musical artist, significant political figure and charismatic and brave, though often misunderstood, human being. This dynamic set offers a stunning multi-media experience and delivers some of Peter Tosh’s most important work as well as rare material as follows:

The audio CD presents fifteen outstanding Peter Tosh recordings including such classics as “Get Up Stand Up,” “Rastafari Is” and “Downpressor Man” as well as such rare or previously unreleased recordings as “Watcha Gonna Do” (with Eric Clapton) from 1974, recorded in Jamaica in the wake of Eric’s success with “I Shot The Sheriff,” a previously unreleased version of Peter’s signature tune “Legalize It,” “Babylon Queendom,” the early single “Arise Black Man,” as well as the released studio version of “Wanted Dread And Alive” in addition to the previous unreleased Geoffrey Chung mix of the classic.

The first DVD presents the entire acclaimed documentary film Stepping Razor: Red X, which weaves interviews, performance footage and commentary in an atmospheric non-linear presentation leading up to the mystery of Peter’s murder, evoking the supernatural element that Peter felt was very much a part of his life.

The second DVD brings together a selection of concert footage, including rare footage from the historic One Love Peace Concert in 1979, the No Nukes concert (where Peter was the only reggae performer) in 1981, Reggae Sunsplash II from 1979 and Reggae Super Jam in 1982. Also included is footage from Peter Tosh’s concert at The Roxy in Los Angeles in 1983 and previously unreleased interview footage of Peter with noted reggae historian Roger Steffens from 1979 and 1981.

The thirty-page booklet includes essays about Peter from three people who knew him: Herbie Miller, who was Peter’s personal manager from 1975 -1981, reveals the mystical aspect of Peter’s persona; reggae authority Roger Steffens, whose friendship with Peter lasted from 1979 until Peter’s death, draws on reminiscences by Bunny Wailer to give a look a very personalized look at Peter; and Shanachie Entertainment’s General manager Randall Grass who first encountered Peter in 1979 as a music journalist and radio show host, gives an overview of Peter’s life rooted in his interviews of Peter. Included also are a selection of rare photos by celebrated photographer Adrian Boot, whose photographs of Bob Marley and other reggae artists have been published worldwide.

Peter Tosh was born in Westmoreland parish, Jamaica on October 19, 1944. With an affinity for music virtually from birth, Peter sang in his local church choir, played piano, and taught himself to play guitar. He was raised by his aunt, having no contact with his father and little contact with his mother. By age fifteen he had moved to Kingston and, in the Trenchtown ghetto where he settled, met other musically-inclined youths such as Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, with whom he formed The Wailers in 1964. With such hits as “Simmer Down” and “It Hurts To Be Alone,” The Wailers rapidly became the most popular vocal group on the island in the ska era. Though their success ebbed and flowed throughout the Sixties into the early Seventies, they made numerous outstanding recordings in the ska, rocksteady and reggae eras. The international breakthrough came when Island Records’ Chris Blackwell signed them in 1972 and bankrolled their debut album Catch A Fire, the first true reggae album in the singles’ dominated genre. All three Wailers sang lead and harmony vocals, wrote songs and played instruments. Though sales were not initially large, The Wailers began to tour internationally and their follow-up album, Burnin’ garnered critical acclaim. Peter, who had been chafing at Island’s promotion of Bob Marley as front person of the group, As a result Peter decided to launch his solo career, as Bunny Wailer had done shortly before.

tosh jets

Peter Tosh’s debut album” Legalize It” garnered instant world-wide notoriety on release in 1976; the title track, which argued that marijuana should be legal, was banned as a single in Jamaica. Peter’s second album, Equal Rights, is a reggae classic was inspirational to liberation movements in Southern Africa, where it was banned. It included the anthem “Get Up Stand Up,” as well as uncompromising songs arguing against apartheid and for a pan-African identity. At the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston in 1979, a concert ostensibly intended to bring warring political and gang factions together, Peter delivered an impassioned and accusatory diatribe directly to Prime Minister Michael Manley and Opposition leader Edward Seaga sitting in the audience. Peter was badly beaten by police within months of the incident. Mick Jagger happened to be in the audience and was moved to sign Peter to Rolling Stones Records, which afforded Peter a highly visible platform via the albums Bush Doctor, Mystic Man, and Wanted Dread And Alive, as well as widespread international touring. He was then signed to EMI Records directly, releasing Mama Africa, highlighted by Peter’s unique interpretation of the rock ‘n’ roll anthem “Johnny B. Goode”; during this period Peter began using a guitar shaped like an AK-47 in concert. There followed a less active period as Peter recuperated physically and spiritually from the effects of beatings he had received as well as the pressure of being a target. The recording of the No Nuclear War album and planning of an extensive world-wide tour signaled his re-emergence. On the eve of the tour however, a former convict who Peter had been helping by providing shelter and money, confronted Peter, his common-life wife Marlene, and a number of compatriots at Peter’s house, with armed accomplices, demanding money. When Peter said he had no money there, they opened fire, killing Peter and others, with many wounded. Some speculated that it was an organized hit of the man who never back down, even in the face of armed authorities.

“I know I’m wanted because of the evil forces,” Peter once mused. “But still I know there is another counter-force that counteract any evil force the forces of righteousness is a billion times more powerful. I fear no evil’cause Jah is with I.”

Audio:
Wanted Dread Or Alive
Legalize It
Arise Black Man

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