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Scrolls of the Prophet: The Best of Peter Tosh
Peter Tosh
Scrolls of the Prophet: The Best of Peter Tosh
Genres: World Music, Pop
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

For all Peter Tosh's great vocal texture and wonderful songwriting, he's always seemed best in a live setting. This collection of 13 well-regarded songs--as well as a live acoustic version of "Get Up, Stand Up" and one unr...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Peter Tosh
Title: Scrolls of the Prophet: The Best of Peter Tosh
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 7/6/1999
Release Date: 7/6/1999
Genres: World Music, Pop
Styles: Caribbean & Cuba, Jamaica, Reggae
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 074646592120, 0074646592120, 5099749449725, 074646592144

For all Peter Tosh's great vocal texture and wonderful songwriting, he's always seemed best in a live setting. This collection of 13 well-regarded songs--as well as a live acoustic version of "Get Up, Stand Up" and one unreleased track--only shows more firmly how great Tosh was as a songwriter and singer, but it also shows why he was often at his best live. When caught in concert, Tosh reached feverish jubilance and intensity, as Captured Live attests. But these studio tracks divulge a split, sometimes overproduced, personality: half-brilliant and half-envious (or incredulous) that he hadn't reached the commercial peak of his former Wailer-mate Bob Marley. There are standout reggae champ tunes, the original "Get Up, Stand Up" and "Downpressor Man" among them, and then there are lots of middling works that beg the question of why Burning Spear or Lee "Scratch" Perry haven't reached the spotlight the way Tosh did. If you're a Tosh fan, this is a great single-CD set of works that count as catalog staples. --Andrew Bartlett

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CD Reviews

On why pride is the deadliest sin . . .
sacramentoscrivners | Sacramento, CA United States | 02/13/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)

"By now most agree that the late Peter Tosh's career seemed dominated more by his outsized ego than by artistic triumph. That his greatest hits album is titled "Scrolls of the Prophet" should warn the wary. A genuine prophet is concerned with his message, not himself.Tosh's career has benefitted from more than a little revisionist history. The breakup of the Wailers is, in reality, well documented. Reviewer Sean's note that Bob's career was promoted due to his lighter skin color is startling, and untrue, and I wonder about his source for that. The simple fact is that the Wailers reorganized around Bob's material in the late 1960s at the behest of Lee Perry. Perry-produced releases from that era (especially the crucial "Rasta Revolution" and others compiled on "African Herbsman") were the first "Bob Marley and the Wailers" records. It's beyond comprehension that Scratch cared a wit about the color of Bob's skin; the dreadest of the dread producer obviously cared everything about the quality of Bob's songs. Peter's just didn't measure up. Only two of Tosh's albums are worth discussion, the fair "Legalize It" and Tosh's best, "Equal Rights." Tosh is often credited for "fiery social commentary," but in fact his songs are hardly insightful, never revelatory. Other artists (and Marley too) are simply more interesting on these subjects.Tosh's songs assert, they don't explain, and thus just don't have the artistry and impact of others. Marley (and Bunny, and Burning Spear) can tell you why Jah rules (a considerable challenge); Tosh never gets beyond the assertion. Marley (and Culture, and Black Uhuru) will tell you society is oppressive, and also tell you what to do about it; Tosh would just grab a gun. Tosh undoubtedly was a genuine "stepping razor," but legions of Jamaican singers have plausibly claimed to be just as tough.Tosh's songwriting has its moments, but too often his albums just drone, and get lost in repetitive, bombastic proclamation. "Legalize It" took over two years for Tosh to complete, and the record accordingly suffers from overproduction. The title song is clever, but the message is simplistic, and it and the album will eventually bore you. The "Equal Rights" album is more focused and sounds rawer. "Stepping Razor" is wonderful, rough and tough. The song "Equal Rights" is Tosh's best social commentary, though it takes more than lyrics like "I don't want peace, I want equal rights" to be insightful. His following albums, which account for only a few songs on "Scrolls," sink into a self-absorbed morass.Tosh's main attractions were his distinctive baritone and use of rock-style guitar leads, which gave his sound some menace. And Tosh was definitely a superior live performer.But it's no coincidence that "Scrolls Of the Prophet" is dominated by "Equal Rights" songs, because Tosh's career was otherwise fairly unremarkable, and hardly prophetic. Buy this CD if you must, but all you really need is "Equal Rights.""
The Bush Doctor Is Now In!
John Peterson | Marinette, WI USA | 04/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This, along with The Best Of Peter Tosh: Dread Don't Die (which duplicates only the Tosh/Jagger duet "(You Gotta Walk And)Don't Look Back") makes for a fine introduction to Tosh's excellent songs. My only quibble is that it includes the Wailers "One Love", which features Bob Marley's lead vocals. As great as the song is, it was recorded over a decade before these songs were released. The stylistic shift along with the inferior sound quality was jarring to me. That aside, I like this CD very much. Buy these CDs now and enjoy!"
Most of the Best
Truth | DC | 03/01/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Released by Sony's Columbia/Legacy imprint, this collection primarily focuses on songs recorded 1976-1978, taken from the albums "Legalize It" (1976), "Equal Rights" (1977), and "Bush Doctor" (1978).

SCROLLS OF THE PROPHET: THE BEST OF PETER TOSH consists of 15 songs, most from the late 1970s; songs are not in chronological order. Disc packaged in clear jewel case; total running time: 72:46. Booklet includes an essay by KROQ's Native Wayne Jobson, several small b&w photos, and track information (recording dates for all but track 11, albums of origin, and songwriter credits). Sound quality is good.

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 are from "Equal Rights"
Tracks 7, 9, 12, and 13 are from "Legalize It"
Tracks 5 and 8 are from "Bush Doctor" (track 5, "(You Gotta Walk And) Don't Look Back", is a duet with Mick Jagger)
Track 15 is from "Honorary Citizen" and track 10 is from 1981's "Wanted Dread or Alive".
Track 14 is a 1964 version of "One Love" by Bob Marley & the Wailers featuring Peter Tosh (an up-tempo version different from the "One Love/People Get Ready" Bob Marley recorded in the `70s)
Track 11, "Mystery Babylon" is "an updated version of Babylon Queendom".

This is far from a comprehensive compilation (two of my favorite songs, "Where You Gonna Run" and "That's What They Do", are not included), but it is enjoyable, and a decent tribute to the late great Peter Tosh.