Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
Tuesday, 22 October 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRO - CARIBBEAN " PETER TOSH " A SINGER, MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER , A FOUNDER MEMBER OF THE WALLERS AND ALSO A SOLO ARTIST : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY Singer, musician, composer, and rebel Peter Tosh cut a swathe through the Jamaican musical scene, both as a founding member of the Wailers and as a solo artist. He toured with the Rolling Stones and had an international hit with a duet with Mick Jagger, then toured again to equally rapturous world audiences as the headlining act. His words would cause an uproar at the One Peace concert, but then unlike fellow Wailer Bob Marley, Tosh always made his true feelings known. He was born Winston Hubert McIntosh on October 19, 1944, in the small rural village of Grange Hill, Jamaica. Like so many young island teens searching for a better life, he left home at 15 and headed for Kingston. Once there, he made his way to Joe Higgs' tenement yard, joining other aspiring youths eager for the vocal coaching lessons the singing star provided to local teens. Amongst these youthful wannabes were Bunny, Bob Marley, and the much younger Junior Braithwaite; the four, buttressed by backing vocalists Cherry Green and Beverley Kelso, joined forces initially as the Teenagers before eventually settling on the moniker the Wailers.
Success was immediate; the group's debut single, "Simmer Down," was an instant hit, and the band's career was off and running. Tosh's talent didn't end with his vocal skills as he was also an excellent guitarist; his playing was first showcased in 1963 on the Wailers' single "I'm Going Home." He was also a gifted songwriter, as was Bunny Livingston, which helped the band survive Marley's hiatus from the group while he went to work in the U.S. in 1966. the Wailers, by then reduced to a trio with the departure of Braithwaite, Green, and Kelso, continued on without him. During this time, the remaining duo, with Constance "Dream" Walker filling in, continued releasing singles now credited to either the Wailers, Tosh, or Livingston alone. Thus, over the next year, Tosh's dance-friendly "Hoot Nanny Hoot," "The Jerk," a cover of Sir Lancelot's calypso hit "Shame and Scandal in the Family," the R&B-fired "Making Love," and "It's Only Love," a duet with Rita Marley, all arrived from Studio One. "Rasta Shook Them Up" celebrated Haile Selassie's Jamaican visit, while Tosh also offered up the rudie-fueled "The Toughest."
With Marley's return, the Wailers departed Studio One and launched their own short-lived Wail'n'Soul'M label. With its demise, they returned to the studio circuit. Sessions with producer Bunny Lee went nowhere, but Lee and Tosh had a rapport, and between 1969 and 1970, the Wailers cut a string of instrumentals for the producer and released them under the alias Peter Touch. Tosh was now attempting to learn to play the melodica, and the singles chart his progress on the instrument. "Crimson Pirate," "Sun Valley," the almost psychedelic "Pepper Seed," "The Return of Al Capone," "Selassie Serenade" (actually a rather frenetic version of "Blue Moon") and more, were the end results.
However, in 1971, Tosh made the momentous decision to pursue a true solo career in conjunction with his work with the Wailers. His debut single, "Maga Dog," was cut with producer Joe Gibbs. The song had initially been recorded by the Wailers with Coxsone Dodd, and in its original rhythm arrangement was suspiciously similar to "Simmer Down."
Gibbs would totally re-create it, slowing the tempo down and creating a rhythm perfect for the latest dance rage, the John Crow skank. The single was a major hit and became a favorite of the DJs, with a flood of versions quickly following. The equally hard-hitting "Dem Ha Fe Get a Beating" arrived soon after. In the brief period Tosh spent with Gibbs, he recorded a clutch of seminal numbers, including "Arise Blackman," "Black Dignity," and "Here Comes the Judge." The latter track was built around the haunting rhythm from the Abyssinians' "Satta Massa Gana," but lyrically hearkened back to Prince Buster's "Judge Dread," as Tosh's magistrate tries and convicts Christopher Columbus, Sir Francis Drake, and Vasco da Gama for myriad of crimes against black people. Even on a cover of "Nobody's Business," Tosh's militancy shines through, with the line "Leave my business and mind your own," carrying a definite hint of menace in the delivery. Jumping on the current bandwagon for golden oldie medleys, the singer also delivered up a trio of rude boy hits, Desmond Dekker's "Rude Boy Train" and "007 Shanty Town," and his own, "I'm the Toughest." Tosh split with Gibbs before the end of the year, allegedly over the lack of money he'd received from "Maga Dog." The artist's retaliation was swift and the self-produced "Once Bitten" was allegedly aimed directly at the producer. That single utilized the "Maga Dog" rhythm, as did its follow-up, "Dog Teeth." Initially, Tosh was releasing his latest self-produced solo singles via the Wailers' own Tuff Gong label, but soon the artist set up his own label, Intel Diplo HIM (Intelligent Diplomat for His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie). The label was inaugurated with "Dog Teeth," with "Ketchy Shrub" following before the end of 1971.
As the Wailers' international breakthrough began, Tosh had less and less time to devote to his solo career. However, a few singles did arrive during 1972, including "No Mercy" and "Can't Blame the Youth." More followed in 1973, among them "Mark of the Beast," "Foundation," "What You Gonna Do," and a re-recording of "Pound Get a Blow," originally a single released by the Wailers back in 1968. At the end of the Wailers' 1973 U.K. tour, Livingston announced he would no longer tour outside of Jamaica with the band. The group initially carried on without him, completing a tour of the States, then a second tour of Britain. Tensions were already high between Tosh and Marley, and the situation finally came to a head on November 30, in Northampton. It ended with a punch up and Tosh quitting the band. Although the Wailers reunited six months later for a benefit show, and again in late 1975 for another benefit concert, the group itself was now defunct, and the Wailers went their separate ways.
Tosh's first post-Wailers solo single, "Brand New Secondhand," was a new version of a song initially recorded by the Wailers for Lee Perry. However, it was Tosh's follow-up, "Legalize It," that packed the greatest punch and swiftly becoming a ganja anthem even though the single was slapped with a radio ban.
However, he returned with a vengeance in 1981, releasing the Wanted Dread & Alive album, which shot into the lower reaches of the U.S. chart, and toured both the U.S. and Europe. After all that activity, the artist took the next year off, returning in 1983, with a phenomenal cover of "Johnny B. Goode" which landed in the lower reaches of the U.S. Top 50. The single was a taster for his new album, Mama Africa, which also arrived that year. Another tour followed, including a concert in Swaziland and headlining appearances at the Reggae Super jam festival in Kingston. Captured Live, released the following year, was recorded during these tours. Tosh then disappeared off the musical map for the next three years, and it wasn't until 1987 that a new single, "In My Song," arrived. In September, it was joined by the album No Nuclear War.