Peter Tosh
Legalize It



by Badmoon USER (65 Reviews)
April 15th, 2005 | 22 replies

Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Pre-1976, Winston McIntosh (AKA Peter Tosh) was not as recognized nearly as much as he is today. Though he was an important creative forces within the Reggae greats known as The Wailers, Tosh along with a variety of other talented members were overshadowed by front man Bob Marley. However, Tosh still managed to write some of Reggae’s key songs and guitar licks while with The Wailers. But of course, those two factors did not bring him as much appreciation as he deserves, that is until he finally left.

Finally after leaving the Wailers, Peter Tosh would embark upon a solo career that would get him much recognition as a radical musician and a leader for many. Albums like Equal Rights and Mama Africa would gained the Jamaican respect among Jamaicans and generally most. But before all of these constant radical movements, Tosh had set himself off with a rebellious album of the lightest, that would surprisingly be the climax to his career, in the opinions of many.

Legalize It is surely as close to perfection as an artist could possibly get. The album contains hardly any weak moments, making Legalize It practically a perfect example of a classic Reggae album. The nine tracks that make the album are merely a combination of catchy and lively tracks, and a variety of ballads and slower tunes. Though every track is quite simple, the vocals do not contain the highest rank of talent and the writing is not as special as it will become, Legalize It is oddly satisfying and enjoyable. Tosh’s quirk and personality shines through each of the nine tracks wonderfully along with his own style being lodged in their somewhere.

Peter Tosh’s debut album starts off a little weaker than the oncoming songs, but still quite nicely with the title track, “Legalize it". Though the song contains a wonderful rhythm, the lyrics are where the song comes up short. Now I may be wrong, but I have always been told that marijuana (The drug discussed in the song) was legal in Tosh’s native Jamaica; making this track’s topic to be pointless, but I’m probably wrong. Other than the iffy lyrics, the song does not incorporate the most appealing melody. It is just rather not the best moment.

Following the title track comes a fantastic piece of work in “Burial". This melodically wonderful display of catchiness and Reggae revived my attitude towards this debut. Though the lyrics are quite incoherent and rather hard to grasp, it is almost irrelevant; Tosh’s style and sound just matches the music so wonderfully that the meanings of the words hardly matter. The tune is of course based upon a solid beat (similar to most Reggae songs) which enables Tosh to sway the melody a variety of times, but still keep consistent. “Burial" is an absolutely wonderful song, however the track did not appeal to me nearly as much on my first listen as it does currently.

In my opinion, it would be quite hard to make a follow up track that can even compare to “Burial". Surprisingly, Peter managed to write a song that is arguably one of the best songs I have ever heard, let alone my favorite Reggae song. “Whatcha Gonna Do" is simply a upbeat track with (once again) a fantastic melody. I have never really acknowledged how wonderful of a melodic writer Tosh is until now. This third track is simply about various members of a family who happen to get arrested/held captive for marijuana possession, along with other reasons. “Whatcha Gonna Do" is most certainly the climax of Legalize It.

Next up is much less strait forward and angry/depressed song. “No Sympathy" is of course about the title; a lack of sympathy. “No Sympathy" is definitely a well done track. It is filled with nice lead guitar lines, a powerful rhythm provided by many of his friends and familiar contemporaries, and a wonderful attitude let out from Peter Tosh. “Why Must I Cry" follows. This fifth track is kind of a pessimistic song that is sung in a depressive manner, but with an upbeat musical accompaniment. The drumming and percussion along with Tosh’s voice particularly stick out in my opinion.

Following “Why Must I Cry" will be “Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised)". This track obviously contains some religious meaning and reference, but I do not completely understand the meaning or complete point of every aspect of the song. However, I do realize it of course has to do with marijuana (like various tracks on this very album). For the line, “He maketh the grass to grow for animals. Jah make the herb for man" clearly reveals some of the song’s meaning. Like its questionable concept, the song is also interesting. It most certainly includes an amount of enigmatic attitude coming from Tosh, with help from the odd sound effects and the synthesizer in the background. The track’s formula also slightly resembles the title track’s formula.

An upbeat track appears once again. “Ketchy Shuby" is a nice and catchy song with what seems to be a simple meaning. The lyrics are of course not poetically genius, but they present no reason for one to complain. The tune is quite strait forward, with an exception due to the title. I cannot tell you what ketchy shuby exactly is, but it seems to be some kind of game, though I am most likely incorrect. Good song.

“Till Your Well Runs Dry" is a pleasant slow track with occasional spurts of upbeat patterns and some oddities. One oddity being some of the lead guitar lines. A variety of them seem country influenced, which would make this album a bit more interesting; it is not all that common to find a Country-Reggae song (with the exception of several later day Grateful Dead tracks). “Till Your Well Runs Dry" upsets in no way; the song is completely satisfying in my eyes and should be looked at as a highlight.

Peter Tosh decides to conclude this terrific album with a song that differs from every other tune off of Legalize It. For a difference, Tosh seem to have looked to lead guitar lines, odd rhythmic patterns and a larger role for backup singers. Apparently, the man had made a smart decision; his outcome is great. “Brand New Second Hand" concludes Legalize It very nicely. Ultimately making the album quite consistent.

Rating: 4.9 - 5 Stars

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user ratings (142)

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 16th 2005


Nice work mate. I might get this.

April 16th 2005


I like the title

BlackDeathMetalJazz or really ANYTHING else please-
April 23rd 2005


I will do my best to find it or you could just send it to me.

Great reveiw as always and please keep on making reveiws. :thumb:

Zesty Mordant
May 2nd 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

That is such a sweet album cover.

and great review too. I've been downloading a bit of Peter Tosh for awhile now and I've been meaning to pick up one of his albums.

Love Krook
March 12th 2006


Honestly, this is the best reggae album ever.

April 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I agree, this is the best conventional reggae album ever.

May 18th 2006


I was under the impression that not only was marijuana illegal in Jamaica, but that they have some of the strictest anti-weed laws in the world. I could be wrong, though, as I've never been to Jamaica.

June 30th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, this album is a definite Reggae classic. But I think it overshadows some of Tosh's other works which are almost just as good.

dub sean
June 30th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

No way, Legalize It is his best.

July 20th 2007


I have to say that cover pwns.

July 21st 2007


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This is the best reggae album that I've ever listened to. Legalize It is easily superior to anything that Bob Marley has ever released.

September 21st 2007


I don't know about that, but this is very, very good.

Legalize it, Don't critisize it
Legalize it, and i will advertise it.

Great song. Maybe the greatest reggae song ever.

February 15th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0


November 28th 2013


don't criticize it

December 1st 2013


I will advertise it

Digging: Kode9 - Nothing

December 26th 2013


catchy catchy

December 26th 2013


This is great, but I like Equal Rights a lot more. It's one of the best reggae albums for me.

Digging: Sleep - Dopesmoker

December 26th 2013


gonna listen to it cause this is so nice

December 26th 2013


It's straight up roots reggae.

May 22nd 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

Finally revisited this, sweet stuff.

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