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Peter Tosh

Legalize It/Equal Rights-Legacy Editions (Columbia/Legacy)

Aug. 1, 2011
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With the battle to legalize marijuana still raging, reissues of Peter Tosh's first two solo albums—cornerstones of the roots-rock-reggae movement—serve as a reminder of the former Wailer's pro-pot efforts. After all, the cover of Tosh's 1976 debut, Legalize It, features a photo of him smoking ganja while seemingly secluded in a Jamaican herb field.

These two-CD Legacy Editions of Legalize It and 1977's follow-up, Equal Rights explores Tosh's dedication to 
revolutionary movements in Africa and coincides with the 40th anniversary of the founding of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The new edition of Legalize It includes a re-launch of the NORML public service announcement Tosh recorded in 1976.

Both albums still sound accessible and fresh, and remain compelling entry points into the genre, regardless of what listeners may (or may not) be smoking. These versions might stretch the albums a little too far, though, with previously unreleased demos, alternate takes and limited-edition dubplate tracks; Legalize It boasts five versions of the title song. But the original Jamaican mix of that album, unavailable until now, reveals a fuller, heftier sound than the version released in the United States.

Tosh died Sept. 11, 1987, but these reissues bring his work to life for a new generation of listeners.


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