April 27, 2004
EMI Music Distribution
Reggae, Political Reggae, Roots Reggae

Album Review

This album is a budget trawl through Peter Tosh's legacy, culling through all his albums to create a short but sweet compilation that just about lives up to its title. As any fan would argue, 14 songs can't really do the former Wailer's solo career justice, but it can provide a good overview, particularly as the set is heavily weighted in favor of Tosh's cultural and tougher numbers. Those include, of course, the boastful "I'm the Toughest," where Tosh takes on all comers, and "Dem Ha Fe Get a Beatin'," in which he threatens to deliver a pounding to anyone who gets in his way. But for all his yardie braggadocio, the Wailer was also a "Mystic Man" and a "Bush Doctor" who was devoted to his Rastafarian religion. In both respects, then, he spoke for an entire generation of Rastas on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as giving voice to the underclass at home and abroad. And it's with these cultural themes that Tosh really hit home. "Legalize It" remains the world's most potent ganja anthem, "Get Up Stand Up" its most empowering. "The Day the Dollar Die" looks forward to the celebration that will break out with the demise of the dollar economy and the economic ravages it delivers upon the poor, while "Fight Apartheid," its title truncated to "Apartheid" here, is a powerful condemnation of that woeful institution. And the strength of Tosh's music equaled the potency of his words and themes. "Buk-in-hamm Palace" is one of his most extraordinary -- a ferocious and funky club-flavored number that chases the vampires right out of the dancehalls. Contrast that disco inferno with his phenomenal dread version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," and you learn all you need to know about Tosh's ability to turn all styles to his own ends. Needless to say, no self-respecting reggae fan would end his or her Tosh collection with this set, but it is one hell of an introduction to Jamaica's late, great son.
Jo-Ann Greene, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Johnny B. Goode
  2. Mystic Man
  3. Buk-In-Hamm-Palace
  4. Bush Doctor
  5. Legalize It
  6. Get Up Stand Up
  7. Legalize It
  8. Coming in Hot
  9. I'm the Toughest
  10. Apartheid
  11. The Day the Dollar Die
  12. Soon Come
  13. Dem Ha Fe Get a Beatin'
  14. Don't Look Back (You've Gotta Walk) [Dub]