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Peter Tosh
Live at the One Love Peace Concert
JAD Records

cd cover The five word review of this album would be "Tosh speaks truth to power." In the legendary 1978 One Love Peace Concert intended to heal the wounds caused by warring supporters of the two main Jamaican political parties, attended by their leaders (then Prime Minister Michael Manly of the liberal Peoples National Party and Edward Seaga of the rightist Jamaican Labor Party), an equally luminous lineup of reggae stars offered their talents for the sake of peace. Bob Marley's famous act of calling the two politicians onstage for a handshake was recorded on film in the Canadian documentary "Heartland Reggae," but to this point Tosh's performance has been unavailable to the public.

Happily, this release not only offers fans the audio of Tosh's musical set that night, but includes the extended and scathing comments against the nation's leadership and police. The former Wailer directed an unrelenting but also amusing diatribe about the 'shytstem,' police brutality, and legalization that at Manley and Seaga as they squirmed uncomfortably in their seats with 40,000 Jamaicans, 200 foreign journalists and countless police to witness the lambasting. Five months after his speech at the concert, Tosh was arrested and beaten to the edge of his life in a Jamaican jail.

Historical significance of the recording aside, it's not the best set though it certainly is passionate. Tosh, backed by the rhythm duo of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, played renditions of "Igziabeher," "400 Years," "Equal Rights," and, of course, "Legalize It." This recording was culled from tapes from the master sound board and is generally excellent. In addition to the audio, reggae chronicler Roger Steffens contributed extensive and illuminating liner notes on the concert, while reggae historian and former Tosh manager Bernie Miller transcribed the performer's original patois commentary into Standard English. - Craig Tower

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