"Honorary Citizen" is broken down into three discs, each examining a portion of Peter Tosh's life. Disc One is entirely filled wtih rare Jamaican singles, most of which the average fan of Peter Tosh's has never heard. Most of these Jamaican singles feature Peter Tosh as lead vocalist in the early days with the legendary Wailers. Peter Tosh was always well-spoken and well-informed of the world's problems, and this first disc shows the roots of Peter's commentary on life. Songs like "No Mercy", "You Can't Fool Me Again" (A rejection of Christianity), and "Arise Blackman" show Peter's ability to take the everyday shit-uations and report them through his songs.
What's most amazing is that these songs remained unheard by so many for so long, even though they are still relevant issues today, and need to be heard by as many people as possible. All of the tracks on this disc are outstanding, but some stand-outs include a touching remake of the Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun", the original Wailers' version of "Fire Fire" and a great live version of "Bumbo Klaat". Adjectives like excellent, a true-blessing, precious, gems, treasures, heavenly, pure gold, magical, all come to mind upon listening and re-listening to this first disc. It's hard to stop playing this disc over and over.
Disc two encompasses a collection of live songs, mainly from 1982. These songs show Tosh in a different setting and arguably where Tosh was at his finest, the live stage. The 1982 tour took Tosh all across the United States and Canada, and featured such legendary bandmates as Constantine "Dream Vision" Walker, Fully Fullwood, and Santa Davis. The 13 plus minute version of "Rastafari Is" from the Roxy in "Hell A" (Los Angeles) is extraordinary! Other cities that Tosh touched during the 1982 tour, that are featured on this disc, range from the hippie town of Boulder, Colorado to the motor city of Detroit, Michigan. The live songs on this disc are interspersed with snippits of Peter Tosh's spoken words.
Peter Tosh had already conquered the recorded music world, and this live disc shows how he also mastered the live stage as well. The only thing missing from this disc is the absence in the liner notes of the exact days that these shows were performed on. The final track on this disc is an acoustic solo version of "Get Up Stand Up" that Tosh did for WXFM Radio in Chicago, Illinois in 1976. This is part of only one of two known acoustic live performances that Tosh ever did, the other being KZEL Radio in Eugene, Oregon in 1977. This acoustic version showcases Tosh's tremendous guitar playing abilities as well as his poetic song writing and melodic voice.
Disc three features the classic standards of Tosh. There's nothing new here but the disc was an integral portion in capturing the complete Peter Tosh. Included on this disc are such tracks as "Equal Rights", "African", "Stepping Razor", and many others. The final track on this disc is a tribute song to Peter, entitled "Honorary Citizen". Pauline Morris, Peter's cousin, took a quote of Peter's, "I'm an equal, lawful, upright, honorary citizen,"and incorporated it into a song. The song is a fitting tribute to a truly great human being.
To accompany the fabulous music, are the set's liner notes, co-written by reggae-ologists Roger Steffens and Leroy Jodie Pierson. The set includes extensive track-by-track liner notes to each song, which details the story behind each recording. You can find when and where the song was recorded, and read about interesting tidbits about each recording. One such interesting tidbit is in reference to the song "Here Comes The Judge", which features the voices of the early Wailing Souls band (Pipe and Bread). The set also features a detailed Peter Tosh biography, written by Roger Steffens. This is really the first time that a complete and authoritative biography of Tosh has ever been written, and is a great source of information for a fan to get to know more about Peter. Also featured in the text of the book, is a listing of Tosh-isms, where Peter would put a spin on an everyday word. For example Christopher Columbus becomes "Christ-t'ief Come-rob-us". There is also a comprehensive songography of Peter Tosh's songs from 1964 until 1985.
To compliment the music and the extensive liner notes, is the beautiful artwork from the front cover to the back cover, and all the way in between. Many of the images were computer-enhanced from original photographs and brought into a new life for this set.
This set will make a new Tosh fan, as well as the die-hard Tosh fan, very happy. From rare Jamaican singles to live versions to the Tosh standards, this set has something to offer everyone. But you can't just read a review of Peter Tosh's work, you have to hear it first hand and experience the magical sound of Tosh's, to fully appreciate his work. We would like to thank everyone who helped to put this set out! It is an incredible piece of work and a fitting tribute to a music master.