The following was written by Garvey Ufot and is in response to the post entitled What if Bob Marley’s father was Black and Peter Tosh’s faher was Whitle?
Yes,there may have been some racism in the reaction to Bob and Peter by Western audiences, but the disparity is more about the comparative qualities of some of their great albums. I personally thought that the quality of Peter Tosh’s solo studio albums dropped drastically after ‘Equal Rights'(1977) even though it picked up again with ‘Wanted Dread & Alive'(1981). Thus, of Tosh’s seven major studio albums:
v.Wanted Dread & Alive(1981)
vii.No Nuclear War(1987)
Only numbers i), ii) and v) had solid all round quality to keep the reggae fire burning. I am a Peter Tosh addict, but I was profoundly disappointed by the blandness and unrootsy quality of the songs in ‘Mystic Man’ and ‘Mama Africa’ in particular. Pray, what is so reggae about the song ‘No Nuclear War’? Now, the reggae quality of Bob’s albums within the same period never dropped. Rather, it only got better. Take a look at Bob’s solo studio albums:
All these albums remained rootsy, reggae and melodious without compromising the social commentary and militancy. In fact, Tosh it was who struggled more to appeal to white audiences with watered down ‘reggae’ songs such as ‘You Gotta Walk (and Don’t Look Back)’, ‘Buckingham Palace’, ‘Mystic Man’, ‘Glass House’, ‘Johnny B Goode’ and ‘No Nuclear War’. These are songs which have never really captured the imagination of roots reggae fans the way ‘Legalize It’, ‘Ketchy Shuby’, ‘Equal Rights’, ‘Jah Guide’, ‘Reggaemylitis’ and ‘Coming in Hot’ did. In contrast, Bob’s songs remained uncompromisingly rootsy throughout. Thus, it was more the problem of quality of some of their albums and songs, rather than that of racism or skin colour, which gave Bob Marley a slight edge over Peter Tosh in international acceptance. However, I loved and still love both artistes equally because, for me, their music represents the quintessential dominion of Roots Rock Reggae.