hearing it makes me 'member seeing tosh at the palladium in dallas, summer of '78, right after he'd appeared on saturday night live with dick dagger. at the time, north texas still seemed like a kinda reactionary place to me (this was the era of savvy's, texxas jam, zz top, an' like that). tosh and his band (al anderson! earl "wia" lindo! sly dunbar! robbie shakespeare!) laid down the mighty one-drop and passed around spliffs the size of ears of corn. when they launched into "african" ("doesn't matter where you come from / long as you're a black man / you are an african"), the cat i was there with looked around the tee-totally anglo audience and said, "he's either going to win them over or really, really lose them, _right now_."
the song ended.
tosh strode up to the microphone and demanded: "is reggae music not a great music?"
there was a pause.
then the audience roared with affirmation.
i'm tearing up now as i type this.
it was maybe the first time it occurred to me that this might be a place where i wanted to spend the rest of my life.