Peter Tosh

Band members                             Related acts

- Peter Tosh (aka Winston Hubert McIntosh) (RIP 1987) --  vocals,

  guitar,  keyboards



- The Wailers




Genre: reggae

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Legalize It

Company: Columbia

Catalog: PC 34253

Year: 1976

Country/State: Jamaica

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4422

Price: $20.00



Unlike Bob Marley and to a lesser degree Bunny Livingston (aka Bunny Wailer), Peter Tosh never attracted a great deal of attention as a member of The Wailers.  That anonymous lifestyle came to an abrupt change with his decision to leave the group and strike out in pursuit of solo success.  One of the first reggae acts signed by a major US record label (in this case Columbia with a push from The Rolling Stones), 1976's "Legalize It" was easily one of the year's best albums. Overlooking the subtle pro-marijuana title track which was instantly banned by Jamaican radio stations (yes, in case you missed the point, the cover photo showed our man sitting in the middle of a wild field of pot), this was simply a great album.  In addition to producing the album, collection showcased Tosh's writing credentials.  A mesmerizing mix of ballads and up tempo numbers, unlike Livingston and Marley, Tosh had the sense to go light on the political and social rhetoric.  While Tosh didn't exactly abandon his personal beliefs ('No Sympathy' and 'Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised)'), he managed to  balance them with surprising humor ('Ketchy, Shuby' which had previously been released as a Jamaican single) and some wonderful music ('Burial' and the standout effort - the ballad 'Why Must I Cry').  Support from Bunny Wailer, the Wailers backing band (guitarist Anston "Family Man" Barrett, drummer Carlton Barrett and Robbie Shakespeare), along with I-Three members Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt certainly didn't hurt.  


Trying to generate a comprehensive Tosh discography would be a nightmare for anyone.  That said, I'm aware of the following local singles:


- 1976's 'Burial' b/w 'Version' (Intel-Diplo catalog number n/a)

- 1976's 'Ketchy Shuby' b/w 'Iration) (Intel-Diplo catalog number 45 7)

- 1976's 'Legalize It' b/w 'Still Grow Mi Locks' (Intel-Diplo catalog number )

- 197? 'Burial' b/w Version'' (Jah Life Time catalog number n/a)


"Legalize It" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Legalize It  (Peter Tosh) - 4:35

2.) Burial  (Peter Tosh- Bunny Livingston) - 3:45

3.) What'cha Gonna Do?  (Peter Tosh) - 2:25

4.) No Sympathy  (Peter Tosh) - 4:35

5.) Why Must I Cry  (Bob Marley - Peter Tosh) - 3:08


(side 2)

1.) Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised)  (Peter Tosh) - 4:37

2.) Ketchy, Shuby  (Peter Tosh) - 4:53

3.) Till Your Well Runs Dry  (Bunny Livingston - Peter Tosh) - 6:09

4.) Brand New Second Hand  (Peter Tosh) - 4:03


And thanks to YouTube you can see a couple of live performances of material from the LP:

'Legalizae It'

'Burial' pulled from an appearance at the 1979 Montreaux Jazz Festival





Genre: reggae

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Bush Doctor

Company: Rolling Stone

Catalog: COC 39109

Year: 1978

Country/State: Petersfeld, Jamaica

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4423

Price: $15.00



Already signed to Columbia Records, 1978 found Peter Tosh signing with The Rolling Stones' newly formed Rolling Stone subsidiary label.  The somewhat odd partnership stemmed from a April 1978 appearance Tosh made at the Jamaican Live at the One Love Peace Concert.  Mick Jagger was in attendance and was apparently knocked out by Tosh's militant performance and anti-government between-the-song rants. 


To my ears 1977's "Equal Rights" was a bit on the heavy side, which made 1978's "Bush Doctor" (Tosh's favorite nickname for himself), all the more enjoyable.  Co-produced by Tosh and Robert 'Robbie' Shakespeare and backed by the an all-star cast of players, including Mikey Chung, Sly Dunbar and Donald Kinsey, the album offered up a nice mix of commercial and more hardcore-styled reggae.  Highlights among the more commercial realm included Tosh's duet with Mick Jagger ('(You Got To Walk and) Don't Look Back') and the up tempo 'I'm the Toughest'.  For Stones fanatics, Keith Richards provided guitar on the title track and 'Stand Firm'.  At the other end of the spectrum 'Dem Ha Fe Get a Beaten' (an old Wailers track) and 'Stand Firm' were both pretty cool.  Less impressive, the pro-ganja title track which added nothing of value to the earlier 'Legalize It', while 'Creation' was just a big mess.  The Stones subsequently picked Tosh to open for them on an international tour.  (In the UK some stores refused to sell the album since it came with a scratch-n-sniff sticker with a ganja scent.)


"Bush Doctor" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) (You Got To Walk and) Don't Look Back   (Smokey Robinson - White) - 3:46     rating: **** stars

I have to admit that every time I listen to this one I'm surprised at how good Mick Jagger and Tosh sound.   Jagger actually sounded like he was having fun and Tosh seldom sounded as self-assured.  Call it reggae for folks who don't like reggae.  The tune was tapped as a single in both 7" and 12" formats:

- 1978's '(You Got To Walk and) Don't Look Back' b/w 'Soon Come' (Columbia catalog number RS 19308)   

  12' format

- 1978's '(You Got To Walk and) Don't Look Back' b/w 'Don't Look Back (Don't Space Out)' (Columbia catalog number DSKO 130)   

Jagger's not particularly impressive, but YouTube has a live promotion clip of the tune: 

2.) Pick Myself Up    (Peter Tosh) - 3:58    rating: *** stars

Well, the cheesy bird sound effects were irritating; not that it mattered since the rest of the song was sweet.   It served as a nice example of what a great voice Tosh and it was nice to hear the man in a positive and uplifting mood.   For some reason the song was released as a single in Germany:





- 1978's 'Pick Myself Up' b/w 'I'm the Toughest' (Rolling Stone catalog number 1C 006-62 501)

YouTube has a couple of live versions of the song, the best being:





3.) I'm the Toughest    (Peter Tosh) -  3:53  rating: **** stars

Tosh originally recorded 'I'm the Toughest' back in 1967.  Released by Island, it was one of his first singles.   With a much fuller sound, the remake was far smoother and commercial.   It's interesting to compare how much better his voice had become over the ensuing decade.  Great track.  It was also released as a single in Germany, Jamaica, and the UK::

- 1978's 'I'm the Toughest' b/w 'Toughest Version' (Studio One catalog number CD-1033)

Recorded at a July 1976 performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival, YouTube has a killer clip of the song: 

4.) Soon Come   (Bob Marley - Peter Tosh) - 3:59   rating: *** stars

Another remake - The Wailers originally released it as a single back in 1970 (Beverly catalog BV 0003).   Tosh handled the vocal on the Wailers version and musically the two tracks were quite similar; the biggest difference being Columbia had the resources to give Tosh's remake a far more elaborate arrangement for the remake.   Call it Tosh's stab at a love song.   Quite nice.

5.) "Moses" - The Prophets    (Peter Tosh) -  3:38   rating: ** stars

Pretty melody with a jazzy edge, but the Rastafarian themes lyrics were lost to me. 


(side 2)

1.) Bush Doctor    (Peter Tosh) -  4:07  rating: **** stars

Call it 'Legalize It' Part 2 ...   looking at where we are today you almost have to laugh at the whole thing.   Nice bubbly tune, but it seemed needless after the earlier song.  How many ills can a substance cure?

2.) Stand Firm    (Peter Tosh) -  6:12   rating: *** stars

Tosh espouses his philosophy of life ?   "Live clean.....Let your works be seen my brothers ..."    I can live with that.   Not sure it change my life drastically, but, it was better than many contemporary lyrics.     

3.) Dem Ha Fe Get a Beaten    (Peter Tosh) -  4:15   rating: *** stars

Another Wailers remake ...  I think the original was recorded in 1968 with Tosh handling lead vocals.   Whereas the original was a surprisingly smooth tune sporting  some tasty muted horns, the remake opted for an even smoother approach.  I will admit Tosh's voice had improved over the years, but the remake had nothing on the original.   

4.) Creation    (Peter Tosh) -  6:27   rating: *** stars

Musically this one was a challenge; almost a musical collage incorporating every thing but the kitchen sink - classical influences, choral music, acoustic ballad, sound effects ...  it was all here.   I not a Rastafarian so mush of the lyrics was lost on me, but give credit to Tosh for putting his beliefs out there.   





Genre: reggae

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Mystic Man

Company: Rolling Stone

Catalog: COC 39111

Year: 1979

Country/State: Jamaica

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4061

Price: $8.00


With Tosh writing all nine selections and producing 1979's "Mystic Man" may be Tosh's most activist offering. In prime form the album manages to take on an incredibly wide array of cultural, political and social issues. African self rule, drugs, the American diet, Capitalism, his Rastafarian beliefs; all get the Tosh treatment. Highlights include the pseudo-Gospelish "Recruiting Soldiers", "Buk-In-Hamm Palace" (which in spite of a pseudo-disco feel is funny for the lyric that seems to describe our hero lightening up at Buckingham Palace), and, courtesy of Ed Elizalde's searing guitar, the surprisingly rock-oriented "Can't You See".

"Mystic Man" track listing: 
(side 1) 
1.) Mystic Man (Peter Tosh) - 5:57
2.) Recruiting Soldiers (Peter Tosh) - 4:25
3.) Can't You See (Peter Tosh) - 3:41
4.) Jah Seh No (Peter Tosh) - 4:38
5.) Fight On (Peter Tosh) - 3:20

(side 2)
1.) Buk-In-Hamm Palace (Peter Tosh) - 8:47
2.) The Day the Dollar Die (Peter Tosh) - 4:49 
3.) Crystal Ball (Peter Tosh) - 5:10
4.) Rumours of War (Peter Tosh) - 3:30


Genre: reggae

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Wanted Dread & Alive

Company: Rolling Stone

Catalog: SO-17055

Year: 1981

Country/State: Jamaica

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: minor end wear; cut lower right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4840

Price: $9.00



Self-produced (Tosh also arranged and wrote most of the nine tracks), 1981's "Wanted Dread & Alive" marked the end of Tosh's partnership with The Rolling Stones and was his final release for their record company.  Musically the set's best described as being somewhat chaotic.  Exemplified by tracks like 'The Poor Man Feel It', 'Cold Blood' and 'That's What They Will Do' Tosh's standard personal and activist agenda was still in place, but atypically the collection included a couple of light-hearted efforts ('Reggae-Mylites' and the title track) and several out-and-out commercial tracks.  Ever imagine you'd hear Tosh sharing a lead vocal with an American soul star like Gwen Guthrie?  Well, it's here and takes a little getting use to, but 'Nothing But Love' made a dandy single (b/w 'Bumbo Klaat' (Rolling Stone catalog number EMI-8083).  The label also released 'Reggae-Mylites' b/w 'Coming In Hot' as a single (Rolling Stone catalog EMI-8089).


"Wanted Dread & Alive" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Coming In Hot   (Peter Tosh) - 

2.) Nothing But Love   (Fred Harris - Ella Mitchell) - 

3.) Reggae-Mylites   (Peter Tosh) - 

4.) The Poor Man Feel It   (Peter Tosh) - 

5.) Cold Blood   (Peter Tosh) - 


(side 2)

1.) Wanted Dread & Alive   (Peter Tosh) - 

2.) Rastafari Us   (Peter Tosh) - 

3.) That's What They Will Do   (Peter Tosh) - 

4.) Fools Die   (Peter Tosh) - 



Genre: reggae

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Peter Tosh Captured Live

Company: EMI America

Catalog: ST 17126

Year: 1984

Country/State: Jamaica

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4493

Price: $8.00



Recorded at L.A.'s The Greek Theater, 1984's "Peter Tosh Captured Live" has it's pleasures.  For one thing, Tosh has seldom sounded as good as on this compilation of hits and better known material.  He's one of the few reggae acts that sounds as good in person as on his studio work.  He's certainly aided by a crack backing band.  Though our copy doesn't provide performance credits, it's Word, Sound and Power, featuring The Kinsey Report guitarist Donald Kinsey, drummer Santa Davis and bassist Fully Fullwood.  The other oddity, the track listing show 'Bush Doctor' as the second song, but it's actually 'Legalize It'.  Guess EMI America wanted to avoid the political heat associated with a pro-marijuana track in the US market.  Anyone know?  There's also an accompanying tape/DVD "Peter Tosh Live".


"Peter Tosh Captured Live" track listing: 
(side 1) 
1.) Coming In Hot   (Peter Tosh) - 

2.) Bush Doctor   (Peter Tosh) - 

3.) African   (Peter Tosh) - 

4.) Get Up, Stand Up   (Peter Tosh - Bob Marley) - 

(side 2)
1.) Johnny B. Goode   (Chuck Berry) - 

2.) Equal Rights/Downpresser Man   (Peter Tosh) - 

3.) Rastafari Is   (Peter Tosh) -