Talk From The Rock Room: Peter Tosh- All Rise Up - Long Island 1979 - 'We Will Love Each Other’

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Peter Tosh- All Rise Up - Long Island 1979 - 'We Will Love Each Other’

On the evening of a solar eclipse, August 22, 1979, Peter Tosh in his band played the Calderone Concert Hall in Hempstead, Long Island. Recently (at the end of 2020) on the official Peter Tosh You Tube channel a FM Soundboard performance has been published. After some sleuthing the 'rock room' found there are lossless digital files around on the web, but as far as I could find no physical product. The concert is only titled as Peter Tosh: All Rise Up Long Island, NY 79,WLIR Broadcast, but after some additional internet searches the ‘rock room’ has matched the set list of the performance with the set provided by the fantastic Peter Tosh: Children of the Ghetto website. The ‘rock room’ asserts this concert hails from the end of the 1979 Mystic Man tour. The ‘rock room’ believes the circulating soundboard may have been misdated due to Tosh and band also hitting the metropolitan NY area in March of 1979. If you have any additional information regarding this show feel free to reach out to the 'rock room'. If you follow Talk from the Rock Room, you understand our passion for physical media and the hope is that the Tosh Estate makes this available for us rockers on beautiful vinyl or in a boxset sooner or later.

What’s fantastic about this set is that is spotlights a number of road practiced songs from the current Mystic Man album as well as a number of classics. The streaming soundboard begins with a swirling slow roach introduction before the band slides into the patient groove of ‘400 Years’. The song, an in concert standard of Tosh, this version is hearty like the stickiest field herb. Tosh’s syrupy rhythm guitar is out in front building a strong foundation.  A deliberate and steady version follows. Without a pause the band segues as seamlessly as smoke into ‘Steppin Razor’.  One of Tosh’s most famed tracks the double hit to open the show sets the table for a musical feast yet to come. ‘Razor’ moves with the same patient groove as the opener but soon sprouts with alternating percussion and kinetic instrumentation.

Tosh is singing beautifully and the band is screwed down tight. Per usual Peter’s band is comprised of pros of the reggae scene. The muscular rhythm section is made up of the legendary duo of Robbie Shakespeare on bass and Sly Dunbar on drums. Coloring the riddim for Tosh’s collective is also Darryl Thompson on guitar, Mikey Chung on guitar, Robert Lynn on keyboards and Keith Sterling and the Tamlin’s on backing vocals. Tosh referred to this collaborative as Words, Sound and Power.

Cuts, new for the time and like all of Tosh’s catalog, completely relevant songs for even today follow with, ‘The Day the Dollar Die’, and ‘Recruiting Soldiers’.  ‘The Day the Dollar Die’ examines the power that currency has over us all and how its demise would be cause for celebration. A mournful and descending Tosh melody contrasts with the hopeful anticipation of the chorus. In the ‘rock room’s’ opinion one of Tosh’s finest hybrids of lyric and melody. Seamlessly the song falls into the militant drum introduction to ‘Recruiting Soldiers’ another recently released song on the 1979 LP Mystic Man. An album brimming with Tosh’s serious attitude yet comforting melodies, ‘Recruiting Soldiers’ is Tosh’s mission statement as a militant, musical missionary disseminating the gospel of JAH.  The song concludes with its percussive march heading toward the horizon as it began the song.

‘African’ is another standard of Tosh’s performances during this era due to its collaborative message of bringing all descendants of African heritage together and encouraging them to be aware as well as proud of their history. The tune is squishy, driven by a funky reggae keyboard bubble and phased dressings over the groove. When the song reaches its conclusion it cracks open an extended and syncopated percussion jam in which Tosh joins in on a hand drum.  A tough and funky beginning to the concert to which the crowd responds in kind.

A double banger from 1978’s Mystic Man comes next with “I’m the Toughest’, and ‘Bush Doctor’. The first track, ‘I’m the Toughest’ is a light and airy song propelled across glass ocean waters by a straight forward 4/4 groove. ‘Bush Doctor’, is played next, the title track from Tosh’s third 1978 LP. The cut is a multifaceted piece with a substantial introduction, major guitar work, and a plethora of flashing keyboard coloring. Tosh’s viscous guitar work holds it all together with his unique polyrhythmic strumming. This song is the centerpiece of the performance with multifarious percussion and rhythmic interplay that increases the intensity. The song concludes with a soaring aggressive guitar and percussion battle that falls back into the song’s prelude. The crowd explodes in kind when the song ends.

While the temperature in the Long Island venue is worthy of a Negril beach the band throws down a weighty ‘one drop’ of the Peter Tosh/Bob Marley co-written ‘Get Up Stand Up’. Tosh’s band plays the song like a dictation from above, a shady and sneaky groove is again highlighted by churning percussion. Tosh’s voice reverberates from a smoky shrouded mountain top in Nine Mile, he sings like he is 100 feet tall. This reading passes seven minutes and features another smoking guitar solo spot by Darryl Thompson.

Now that Tosh has the assembled crowd at full attention, feeling irie, and on the edge of their respective seats. The Temptations 1965 song, ‘Don’t Look Back’ is played next, a song originally played by Tosh with the ‘Wailers’ as an early Jamaican cut. Here, Tosh plays the tune to great feedback as the song was a minor reggae hit he had scored with Mick Jagger joining on vocals on the studio version.

The extended and disco influenced ‘Buk-In-Hamm Palace’, another song from Mystic Man, comes next and surpasses ten minutes. Beginning with a firm kick drum stomp, the percussion soon joins in followed by funky cymbal work. Dramatic washes of synth work increase the drama. Tosh enters and extols the importance of Reggae music before reaching the central line, ‘Light up your spliff, light up your chalice, we gonna smoke in Buckingham Palace’. The music shifts underneath Tosh and the vocalists, a departure from the usual Reggae elements. While Sly and Robbie drive the rock beat forward, funk guitar lines and laser shots of keyboards and call and response organ pump up the groove. The song performs like as a mantra. Similarly, to other shows played on the Mystic Man tour, the song lands into a rattling percussion jam. The backing singers, musicians and Tosh all grab something that shakes or bangs and enter into a trance inducing groove.

The instruments begin to percolate and the smoke rises. The song proper begins to reveal itself again as we approach ten minutes. Tosh enters and free forms with the backing vocalists as the jam roaches weightlessly. While the band rolls on, the MC introduces Tosh and band aptly named, Word Sound and Power.  The MC announces ‘Round Two’ and asked the crowd if they are ready for ‘Round Two’. The enthusiasm from the crowd is tangible on the tape. A ‘Word Sound and Power’ chant begins to gain momentum between the stage and the crowd with the percussion driving the message home.

Tosh returns to the stage and the concert concludes with two substantial readings of Tosh classics. The first, ‘Mystic Man’, is the title track of Tosh’s current record and the name of the tour. The second is 'Legalize It', a title track as well and perhaps the song Tosh is most well known for. 'Mystic Man' is steady and sneaky, with Tosh listing in call and response fashion the things that 'I Man' don't deal with. The chorus reply is glorious as it brakes through the dirt of the verses to bask in the resplendent sun of the chorus changes. Cause I'm a man of the past, and I'm living in the present and I'm walking in the future'. The song fades with teletype percussion and Tosh and the vocalists singing out the title. 

The percussion rises as a bed of organ is laid over the top of the drums before falling gently, the crowd is digging it. ‘Legalize It’, is an obviously fitting conclusion of the show. The backing vocals enter over a kinetic bed of drums. Slower than the studio version and some other live versions, this one has a stony end of show vibe that fits like seed in soil. This reading stretches toward nine minutes and concludes with a reciprocal singalong between crowd and artist that illustrates the ideal that 'music is the healing of the nations' as Peter would often say. As the band is introduced the existing tape fades to silence.

There is an abundance of Peter Tosh and his live concert appearances available in both official and unofficial channels. Most if not all have something musically unique to offer the listener. This particular concert comes from a strong tour and with an amazingly stellar band of musicians. I’m content that the Peter Tosh Estate has uploaded this performance for our listening pleasure, though it is unfortunate that the concert is not available on physical media. Hopefully in the future these releases will make it to LP or CD even in a limited state as I wasn’t even aware that this concert existed officially until recently. I understand times are changing but it is still a good idea to immortalize these special musical moments when possible. 

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