Peter Tosh on the "shytstem"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Dec 14 09:24:42 MST 2000

>From RootsWorld Bulletin: Reggae Special

Peter Tosh Live at the One Love Peace Concert JAD Records (JAD-CD-1009)

The five word review of this album would be "Tosh speaks truth to  power."
In the legendary 1978 One Love Peace Concert intended to heal the  wounds
caused by warring supporters of the two main Jamaican political  parties,
attended by their leaders (then Prime Minister Michael Manly of  the
liberal Peoples National Party and Edward Seaga of the rightist  Jamaican
Labor Party), an equally luminous lineup of reggae stars offered  their
talents for the sake of peace.  Bob Marley's famous act of calling  the two
politicians onstage for a handshake was recorded on film in the  Canadian
documentary "Heartland Reggae," but to this point Tosh's  performance has
been unavailable to the public.

Happily, this release not only offers fans the audio of Tosh's musical set
that night, but includes the extended and scathing comments against the
nation's leadership and police.  The former Wailer directed an unrelenting
but also amusing diatribe about the 'shytstem,' police brutality, and
legalization that at Manley and Seaga as they squirmed uncomfortably in
their seats with 40,000 Jamaicans, 200 foreign journalists and countless
police to witness the lambasting.  Five months after his speech at the
concert, Tosh was arrested and beaten to the edge of his life in a Jamaican

Historical significance of the recording aside, it's not the best set
though it certainly is passionate.  Tosh, backed by the rhythm duo of Sly
Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, played renditions of "Igziabeher," "400
Years," "Equal Rights," and, of course, "Legalize It."  This recording was
culled from tapes from the master sound board and is generally  excellent.
In addition to the audio, reggae chronicler Roger Steffens  contributed
extensive and illuminating liner notes on the concert, while  reggae
historian and former Tosh manager Bernie Miller transcribed the
performer's original patois commentary into Standard English. - Craig Tower

Louis Proyect
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