Peter Tosh

Bayou (Washington, DC)

Mar 14, 1979

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  1. 1 400 Years / Stepping Razor 11:24
  2. 2 Burial 09:41
  3. 3 Soon Come / I'm The Toughest / Bush Doctor 15:22
  4. 4 Don't Look Back 06:09
  5. 5 Legalize It 11:44
More Peter Tosh

Mikey Chung - guitar, keyboards
Sly Dunbar - drums
Luther François - saxophone
Ed Elizalde - lead guitar
Robert Lyn - organ
Robbie Shakespeare - bass
Uziah "Sticky" Thompson - percussion
Peter Tosh - lead vocals, guitar

To listen to an interview with Peter Tosh during the late 1970s, one would think it was him--not Bob Marley--who took reggae music from Jamaica and brought it to the world in a form that everyone could embrace. In truth, it was neither of these two legendary Rastafarian musicians, but instead record producer and label owner Chris Blackwell. Blackwell had discovered and signed The Wailers, with their original line up of Tosh, Marley, and Bunny Wailer, to his growing Island Records. He saw the commercial potential in Marley as a songwriter, stage personality, singer, and producer, and after the group's triumphant UK tour in 1973, Blackwell pushed Marley out to the front of the line-up. This caused massive amounts of tension between Marley and Tosh, and following a fistfight after a November 30, 1973 concert in Nottingham, Tosh left the newly rechristened Bob Marley & The Wailers.

In the mid-1970s Tosh signed with Columbia Records, but failed to break out of all but the hard-core reggae market. It would take four years for things to change. This show, recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour in 1979, was during the tour promoting Tosh's hit album, Don't Look Back. The controversial reggae artist had fallen under the spotlight of the Glimmer Twins, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who collaborated with Tosh and produced the critically and commercially acclaimed LP. Jagger sang a duet with Tosh on the title track, a remake of an old Temptations song that Tosh actually first recorded with The Wailers. Jagger also appeared with Tosh on Saturday Night Live, singing it with him. To even further boost his presence, the Stones let Tosh open for them.

Although the association with Jagger and Richards gave Tosh considerable exposure, in the end he could not overcome the enormous success that Marley commanded. Tosh would later scorn Jagger and Richards for not continuing their support and for returning back to their primary duties as Rolling Stone members, and Tosh's subsequent albums on the Stones label did not get the same level of support. By the early 80s, Tosh had become a cult reggae artist in the US, but remained a superstar in his native Jamaica and in Europe.

Highlights of this show include a blistering history lesson entitled "400 Years," which is grouped with "The Stepping Razor" to make for a powerful opening segment. Tosh offers a fifteen minute medley of "Soon Come / I'm the Toughest /Bush Doctor," closing with a killer version of "Don't Look Back (You've Gotta Walk)" and a nearly twelve-minute rendition of his classic pro-pot song "Legalize It."

Tosh continued writing, recording and being a political activist after Marley's death in 1981 from cancer, and parted ways with the Stones in 1983. In 1987, while relaxing at his home, Tosh was tragically shot and killed during a robbery attempt.