The Second Disc

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Archive for April 7th, 2011

Legacy Grows New Reissues by Peter Tosh

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In 1970, a non-profit organization, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), was created to influence public opinion on the legality of cannabis use in America. With the support of advisory board members like Willie Nelson, Bill Maher and Tommy Chong, it’s arguably one of the best-known and best-organized groups on marijuana advocacy.

Six years after NORML was created, one of the most potent pro-pot songs was released – Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It.” Tosh was a luminary figure on the reggae music scene, having been a founding member of The Wailers with Bob Marley (his work can be heard up through the Burnin’ album in 1973). Tosh eventually struck out on his own and created some of the most evocative music of the genre, particularly his first two albums for Columbia, Legalize It (1976) and Equal Rights (1977).

This month, Legacy kicks off a celebration of the late Tosh’s life and career, first by releasing the title tracks to those two albums on a special 7″ single for Record Store Day (available on red, yellow or green vinyl) and by re-releasing his 1976 NORML public service announcement to radio stations across America. Then, on June 21, Legacy will release some fully-loaded Legacy Editions of both albums.

Each two-disc set is filled with scores of rare and unreleased material: Legalize It features one disc with the original album and seven unreleased demo versions, and another with Tosh’s original, unreleased mix for the record (allegedly “rescued from the garbage heap by someone ‘with a keen eye,’” according to a press release) and a handful of extremely rare “dub plate” versions pressed as high-quality acetates for use in clubs and dance halls.

Equal Rights, which featured the drum-and-bass team of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare (soon to become one of the most beloved production teams in reggae and dance music history), is similarly packed, featuring 22 rare and unreleased bonus tracks, including outtakes, demos, alternate versions and more dub plates. Both are also augmented with new liner notes by Roger Steffens (for Legalize It) and Herbie Miller (for Equal Rights). Both men are well-known as reggae enthusiasts and personal contacts of Tosh; Steffens is the curator of The Reggae Archives, a large collection of Wailers and Tosh ephemera, and Miller, Tosh’s former manager, curates the Jamaica Music Museum in Kingston.

Check the track listings for both versions after the jump and order them here and here at Amazon. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 7, 2011 at 13:23

Posted in News, Peter Tosh, Reissues

Review: Leon Russell, “The Best of Leon Russell”

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There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Leon Russell, upon accepting his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, thanked Elton John for rescuing him from “a ditch beside the highway of life.”  Thanks to the success of The Union, the collaborative album between John and his early idol, Leon Russell’s profile has been considerably high of late.  It’s been so high, in fact, that one member of the Steve Hoffman Music Forums even queried of the community, “Is Leon Russell getting too much exposure?”  Judging by the new The Best of Leon Russell (Capitol/EMI 509990 71044 2, 2011), the answer is most definitely “No!”

The Best of Leon Russell is the pianist/arranger/composer’s first anthology since Retrospective, released by Capitol’s The Right Stuff imprint in 1997.  Its 16 tracks have 11 in common with that compilation, but one added track is among the album’s most important, and trumpets this collection’s raison d’etre: “If It Wasn’t For Bad,” from The Union.  This is the third track on this set, and it signals that The Best of Leon Russell has been largely designed as a primer for Russell fans who might have discovered the idiosyncratic artist from the John collaboration.  It also happens to be a fine reminder of a musician who, indeed, spent too long on the side of that highway.

Hit the jump for more on The Master of Space and Time! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 7, 2011 at 12:15

Posted in Compilations, Leon Russell, Reissues, Reviews

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