Peter Tosh’s musical legacy released

CD cover of Peter Tosh’s “Equal Rights.”

The first two solo albums by Peter Tosh on Columbia Records, cornerstones of the roots-rock-reggae movement, will be commemorated with the releases of “Legalize It: Legacy Edition” and “Equal Rights: Legacy Edition.”

Both double-CD packages will contain a lion’s share of previously unreleased material from the original sessions (and material previously available on very limited edition Dub Plates), along with new essays by Reggae scholar Roger Steffens (on “Legalize It”) and former manager Herbie Miller (“Equal Rights”). Both packages will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting June 21 through Columbia/Legacy, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

The re-releases of “Legalize It” (1976) and “Equal Rights” (1977) coincide with the 40th anniversary birthday in March 2011 of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, based in Washington, DC).

Tosh endorsed and supported the organization, and recorded a PSA (public service announcement) for NORML in 1976, promoting the legalization of marijuana. In 2011, Tosh’s PSA is being re-launched at radio in a partnership between Legacy and NORML.

Along with Tosh’s advocacy for NORML, “Legalize It” and “Equal Rights” serve as reminders of the glory of vinyl. In recognition, the two classic title tracks, “Legalize It” and “Equal Rights,” will be coupled as a special seven-inch vinyl single. The double-A sided single was released in conjunction with this year’s fifth annual National Record Store Day on Saturday, April 16.

Honoring the colors of Tosh’s beloved Rasta flag, the single is available in collectible red, green and gold vinyl editions.

Adding immeasurably to the historical impact of “Legalize It: Legacy Edition” is an evocative 2,000-word liner notes essay by Roger Steffens, a close friend to Peter Tosh in his lifetime, and an enduring keeper of the flame as the curator of the Reggae Archives, the world’s largest collection of Wailers and Peter Tosh material.

Herbie Miller, who wrote the liner notes essay for “Equal Rights: Legacy Edition,” is internationally known for his work as the trusted former manager of Peter Tosh and a highly-respected member of the Jamaican community. He is the director/curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, based in the Institute of Jamaica in downtown Kingston.

Thirty-five years have passed since the release of “Legalize It,” Tosh’s first album as a solo artist after more than a decade in the Wailers with Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston.

“Legalize It.”

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