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Peter Tosh “Legalize It” (Virgin, 1976)

PeterTosh-LegalizeItMore than Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, it was Peter Tosh who gave the Wailers their harder edge and roots credibility on famous tracks like “400 Years,” “One Foundation,” as well as his work on “Get Up, Stand Up.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that Tosh took on all comers in his solo career, as well, with “Legalize It” and “Equal Rights” being two of the most militant offerings this side of Burning Spear’s “Marcus Garvey.”

On “Legalize It,” Tosh’s roots sensibilities are sharp, with beautiful rastafarian numbers like “Let Jah Be Praised” mixed well with his all out assaults on the government’s anti-herb policies, (“Legalize It”) and self pity and fear (“Why Must I Cry,” “No Sympathy”).

The album’s tour de force is Tosh himself, and his voice- a rough and ready, gritty tenor that in no way weraks of complacency; it strikes a deep, resonant chord- that of fear- but can also at moments, like on “Let Jah Be Praised,” be almost soothing and re-assuring. This LP is a must have in any respectable reggae collection, and is one of reggae’s shining moments and brilliant debuts. -Sean

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