- Released: July 6, 1999
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
Rolling Stone - p.1064.5 stars out of 5
-- "Tosh is plenty fiery: Over deliciously spongy roots grooves, he states his politics both personal and political..."
Spin - p.80
"EQUAL RIGHTS is roots reggae nonpareil and one of the most powerful political statements in any genre."
The Wire - p.72
"[T]here are some enormous dubs here -- check how the birdsong is worked into the London sound system dub plate of 'African'."
CMJ - 7/19/99, pp.27,35
"...among the most crucial reggae albums ever released....EQUAL RIGHTS [is] considered by many to be Tosh's best studio effort....Smoke it up, kid."
Q (Magazine) - p.1093 stars out of 5
-- "The chilling 'Equal Rights' took on apartheid-era South Africa, unequal rights and police oppression. Its fury remains almost palpable..."
Q (Magazine) - p.1234 stars out of 5
-- "[A] direct protest album, touches of American-friendly rock bringing a new sound to 'Get Up, Stand Up'..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1205 stars out of 5
-- "Tosh makes Joe Higgs' 'Stepping Razor' his own signature tune..."
- 1.GET UP, STAND UP
- 2.DOWNPRESSOR MAN
- 3.I AM THAT I AM
- 4.STEPPING RAZOR
- 5.EQUAL RIGHTS
- 7.JAH GUIDE
- 9.PICK MYSELF UP (LIVE VERSION)
- 10.AFRICAN (LIVE VERSION)
Personnel: Peter Tosh (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Al Anderson, Abdul Wali, Karl Pitterson (guitar); Dirty Harry (tenor saxophone); Bobby Ellis (trumpet); Harold Butler (Clavinet); Earl Lindo, Tyrone Downie (keyboards); Robbie Shakespeare (bass); Sly Dunbar, Carlie Barrett (drums); Skully (percussion); Bunny Wailer (background vocals)
Producer: Peter Tosh.
Reissue producer: Bruce Dickinson.
Includes liner notes by Roger Steffens.
Digitally remastered by Chris Athens (Sterling Sound, New York, New York).
Peter Tosh served as a counterpoint to the worldwide success of his former partner Bob Marley. Their relationship is often compared to that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with Tosh playing the role of the cynical Lennon to Marley's love-song-oriented McCartney. The analogy worked loosely at best, as both musicians simply followed different muses after the 1974 break-up of the original Wailers. Tosh's recorded output had as much cross-over appeal as Marley's more commercial work, culminating in a duet with Mick Jagger on the song "Walk And Don't Look Back." But Tosh always had the more militant stance which resulted in many beatings and arrests leading up to his murder in 1987.
Tosh's 1977 album, EQUAL RIGHTS, is a peak in his career. It begins with a new version of "Get Up, Stand Up," one of Marley's signature songs (co-written by Tosh). Tosh's version is more sinewy than Marley's, with biting guitar lines snaking throughout. Likewise, "Stepping Razor" struts with a dangerous swagger, "African" plays like a mirror to Marley's pan-Africanism, and "Apartheid" shows that Tosh is not afraid to indict any enemy, no matter how large. But the most chilling song is the title track, where Tosh sings, "Everyone is crying out for peace/None is crying out for justice," a self-assured call-to-arms as pertinent today as it was eighteen years ago. EQUAL RIGHTS represents Tosh to a tee--no-nonsense, gritty, political reggae with some of the most fully realized and best produced tracks this side of Tuff Gong.