In the earliest days, The Wailers were Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh. Peter was the guy in the band who was a foot taller than everyone else; also the only one who could play any instruments. A huge guy with a huge voice, his songs never in a hurry, and there are a few that people will be listening to centuries from now. For instance, Downpressor Man.

This is from Equal Rights, a really remarkable recording that includes chestnuts like Get Up, Stand Up and Stepping Razor. It’s just a big warm slow bath end-to-end; the words and politics are cutting but the sound is gentle and cradling. It helps that Sly and Robbie are in the bend, which is to say probably the best rhythm section that has ever walked the earth, trailing clouds of ganja smoke.

Equal Rights by Peter Tosh

Peter Tosh sold quite a few records and seemed to enjoy life despite some rough patches; he was eventually gunned down in his own home in Kingston; his killer is still in jail, last time Wikipedia checked. Sadly, I never saw him live.

I’m not really sure what to say about Downpressor Man; it’s not complicated and after you’ve heard the first verse go by you know what the rest will sound like. But it sounds awfully good; a showcase for Tosh’s velvet voice, and like I said, Sly and Robbie.

Downpressor Man / where you gonna run to? … You drink your pink champagne and laugh / Ha ha ha ha … I wouldn’t like to be a flea / under your collar man / all along that day.

This is part of the Song of the Day series (background).

Links · Spotify playlist. This tune on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon. Here’s live video with decent sound and picture, although Peter’s voice doesn’t quite have the beautiful texture he captured on the self-produced Equal Rights.


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From: Walter Underwood (Mar 15 2018, at 09:32)

This is the song "Sinner Man", sometimes "Sinnerman", with the word "Downpressor" substituted. Clever trick, because it makes it a given that oppression is a mortal sin.


From: john hinckley (Mar 30 2018, at 19:50)

Ah, and I can't think about Tosh these days without going back to this wonderful video I discovered a few years back.

Don't know why they worked together so well, and don't need to be able to put it into words, just Keep on Walk, Don't Look Back...

Peter Tosh & Mick Jagger - Walk And Don't Look Back


author · Dad
colophon · rights

March 15, 2018
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