Collectible 7-inch vinyl single of “Legalize It” b/w “Equal Rights” released in Rasta colors of red, green and gold on National Record Store Day, April 16th
Legacy and NORML re-launch Tosh’s 1976 PSA at radio, promoting legalization of marijuana, in honor of NORML’s 40th anniversary birthday in 2011
NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — The first two solo albums by Peter Tosh on Columbia Records, cornerstones of the roots-rock-reggae movement, will be commemorated with the releases of LEGALIZE IT: LEGACY EDITION and EQUAL RIGHTS: LEGACY EDITION. Both double-CD packages will contain a lion’s share of previously unreleased material from the original sessions (and material previously available on very limited edition Dub Plates), along with new essays by Reggae scholar Roger Steffens (on Legalize It) and former manager Herbie Miller (Equal Rights). Both packages will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting June 21st through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
The re-releases of Legalize It (1976) and Equal Rights (1977) coincide with the 40th anniversary birthday in March 2011 of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, based in Washington, DC). Tosh endorsed and supported the organization, and recorded a PSA (public service announcement) for NORML in 1976, promoting the legalization of marijuana. In 2011, Tosh’s PSA is being re-launched at radio in a partnership between Legacy and NORML.
Along with Tosh’s advocacy for NORML, Legalize It and Equal Rights serve as reminders of the glory of vinyl. In recognition, the two classic title tracks, “Legalize It” and “Equal Rights,” will be coupled as a special 7-inch vinyl single. The double-A sided single will be released in conjunction with this year’s fifth annual National Record Store Day on Saturday, April 16th. Honoring the colors of Tosh’s beloved Rasta flag, the single will be available in collectible red, green and gold vinyl editions.
Adding immeasurably to the historical impact of LEGALIZE IT: LEGACY EDITION is an evocative 2,000-word liner notes essay by Roger Steffens, a close friend to Peter Tosh in his lifetime, and an enduring keeper of the flame as the curator of the Reggae Archives, the world’s largest collection of Wailers and Peter Tosh material. Steffens is the co-author (with Jodie Pierson) of Bob Marley and the Wailers: The Definitive Discography (2005), and Reggae Scrapbook (2007, with Peter Simon). He has also annotated dozens of reggae collections and reissues, including virtually every major Peter Tosh album. Among them is Legacy’s 3-CD box set of 1997, Honorary Citizen.
Herbie Miller, who wrote the liner notes essay for EQUAL RIGHTS: LEGACY EDITION, is internationally known for his work as the trusted former manager of Peter Tosh and a highly-respected member of the Jamaican community. He is the director/curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, based in the Institute of Jamaica in downtown Kingston. A cultural historian and photographer, Miller has also annotated many historic reggae releases, including Live & Dangerous: Boston 1976 by Tosh, a previously unreleased chronicle (issued on Legacy, 2001) of his first American tour, in support of Legalize It.
Thirty-five years have passed since the release of Legalize It, Tosh’s first album as a solo artist after more than a decade in the Wailers with Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston. During that time, the Marley-Tosh signature began to achieve a worldwide notoriety that would have seriously rivaled the likes of Lennon-McCartney and Jagger-Richards, if the original Wailers had been able to stay together past 1975. Among the gems of the Marley-Tosh repertoire are such rock and reggae staples as “400 Years,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Brand New Second Hand,” “Soon Come,” “No Sympathy,” “Reaction,” “Baby We’ve Got a Date,” and “Can’t You See.” The Wailers’ songbook, hundreds of compositions predominantly penned by Marley, also included Tosh’s “Stop That Train,” “Downpressor,” “Love,” “One Foundation,” “Sun Valley,” and “You Can’t Blame the Youth,” among others.
As Roger Steffens’ liner notes to LEGALIZE IT: LEGACY EDITION point out, “All of the previously unreleased versions on this package are from the extraordinary archives of British collector, Sam Dion, to whom the tapes were passed along.” He refers to Tosh’s vast archives that survived his assassination of September 11, 1987. CD one presents the original nine-song, 38-minute album, followed by demo versions of seven of the nine songs, all previously unreleased. CD two then presents Tosh’s own original mix of the album, the way he was sending it out to major record labels in 1976 (rescued from the garbage heap by someone “with a keen eye”!). Those nine tracks (all previously unreleased) are followed by a previously unreleased alternate version of the title song, and then six extremely rare dubs, only one of which ever actually made it onto an album (“Igziabeher”).
Tosh’s first self-produced recording for a major label, Legalize It was also his first with the rhythm team of drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare, who subsequently became the backbone of his recording and touring groups. The album contained a number of staples: “What’cha Gonna Do,” “No Sympathy,” “Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised),” “Ketchy Shuby,” “Till Your Well Runs Dry,” and of course the title tune standard, “Legalize It.”
Similarly, CD one of EQUAL RIGHTS: LEGACY EDITION presents the original eight-song, 40-minute album as it has been embedded in listeners’ heads for decades. Then the disc follows up with seven previously unreleased outtakes from the original album recording sessions, offering a different program of compositions. CD two presents a well-sequenced mix of 15 tracks – about half of which are previously unreleased . These include original session alternate and extended versions, and extremely rare dubs.
Equal Rights brought together Peter Tosh’s dedications to the revolutionary movements growing in Africa, and the mysticism and wonders of his personal growth as a prophet, poet, preacher and world-class musical trailblazer. The album included a number of songs that became human rights anthems over the next two decades: “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Downpressor Man,” “African,” “Apartheid,” and the title tune. There were also intensely personal songs of his revelations as a Rasta: “I Am That I Am” and “Jah Guide”; and the ultimate rude boy, proto-punk declaration of “Stepping Razor,” by reggae’s original roots-rock and Rasta ragamuffin.
“A quarter century later,” Steffens writes, “[Tosh’s] songs ring eternal with millions of strugglers worldwide, still crying out for equal rights and justice with the words of the immortal Minister of Herb.”
LEGALIZE IT: LEGACY EDITION by PETER TOSH (Columbia/Legacy 88697 76490 2) CD One – Selections: 1. Legalize It * 2. Burial * 3. What’cha Gonna Do * 4. No Sympathy * 5. Why Must I Cry * 6. Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised) * 7. Ketchy Shuby * 8. Till Your Well Runs Dry * 9. Brand New Second Hand * Bonus tracks: 10. Legalize It (Demo) * 11. No Sympathy (Demo) * 12. Why Must I Cry (Demo) * 13. Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised) (Demo) * 14. Ketchy Shuby (Demo) * 15. Till Your Well Runs Dry (Demo) * 16. Brand New Second Hand (Demo).
Tracks 1-9 originally issued August 1976, as Legalize It (Columbia 34253).
Tracks 10-16 previously unreleased.
CD Two (Original Mix) – Selections: 1. Legalize It * 2. Burial * 3. What’cha Gonna Do * 4. No Love, No Sympathy * 5. Why Must I Cry * 6. Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised) * 7. Ketchy Shuby * 8. Till Your Well Runs Dry * 9. Brand New Second Hand * 10. Legalize It (Alternate Version) * 11. Burial (Dub Plate) * 12. What’cha Gonna Do (Shajahshoka Dub Plate) * 13. (Igziabeher) Let Jah Be Praised (Shajahshoka Dub Plate) * 14. Second Hand (Shajahshoka Dub Plate) * 15. Burial (Dub Plate) * 16. Legalize It (Dub Plate).
Tracks 1-10 previously unreleased.
Track 13 previously released on The Ultimate Peter Tosh (Shanachie, 2008).
Tracks 11-12 & 14-16 previously available on very limited edition Dub Plates.
EQUAL RIGHTS: LEGACY EDITION by PETER TOSH (Columbia/Legacy 88697 74691 2) CD One – Selections: 1. Get Up, Stand Up * 2. Downpressor Man * 3. I Am That I Am * 4. Stepping Razor * 5. Equal Rights * 6. African * 7. Jah Guide * 8. Apartheid * Bonus tracks: 9. 400 Years (Out-take) * 10. Hammer (Extended Version / Out-take) * 11. Jahman Inna Jamdung (Out-take) * 12. Vampire (Out-take) * 13. Babylon Queendom (Out-take) * 14. You Can’t Blame The Youth (Out-take) * 15. Mark Of The Beast (Out-take).
Tracks 1-8 originally issued April 1977, as Equal Rights (Columbia 34670).
Tracks 9-15 previously unreleased original session Out-takes.
CD Two – Selections: 1. Get Up, Stand Up (Alternate Version) * 2. Dub-Presser Man (Dub Plate) * 3. I Am That I Am (Shajahshoka Dub Plate) * 4. Heavy Razor (Shajahshoka Dub Plate) * 5. Equal Rights (Extended Version) * 6. African (London Sound System Dub Plate) * 7. Jah Guide (Dub Plate) * 8. (Fight) Apartheid (Alternate Version) * 9. Vampire (Demo) * 10. Jahman Inna Jamdung (Demo) * 11. Hammer (Shajahshoka Dub Plate) * 12. Blame The Yout (Dub Plate) * 13. Babylon Queendom (Dub Plate) * 14. Vampires (Dub Plate) * 15. Get Up, Stand Up (Extended /Alternate Version).
Tracks 1, 5, 8-10 & 15 previously unreleased original session alternate and extended versions.
Tracks 2-4, 6 & 11-14 previously only available on extremely limited edition Dub Plates.