Two years after the fact, the European Disky label gave a budget release to the EMI Gold Collection set. In a sad kind of way, Gold was the perfect fodder for the casual U.S. reggae fan. Obviously it was going to hone in on No Nuclear War, the set that won Tosh a posthumous Grammy, but tossing in the entire album, bar "Fight Apartheid," does seem a little much. Which means, the rest of his EMI albums don't get much of a look-in. In fact, Captured Live is omitted entirely, Mystic Man is dismissed with a single track, and Wanted Dread & Alive and Mama Africa rate a measly two numbers each. A far from even-handed overview, then.
Of course, Tosh had been a relatively new artist in the States when EMI signed him, for by the time Americans picked up on the Wailers both he and Bunny Livingston were gone. Europeans knew better and were familiar with his overall career and, more importantly, his radical views and rough persona. Little of that is evident on this set, though; there's no "I'm the Toughest" or "Dem Ha Fe Get a Beating," no controversial songs like "Oh Bumbo Klaat" or "Buk-in-Hamm Palace," while such biting (excuse the pun) numbers as "Vampire" and "Maga Dog" are the later, more insipid remakes, not the growling Jamaican originals.
Instead, listeners are introduced to the pop idol of "Reggaemylitis" and the introspective, emotive artist behind Nuclear War. They get the hits, but not the heft that made Tosh the toughest and the greatest; but at a budget price this set surely brought in the punters. And hey, EMI was so impressed with their own efforts that they reissued the album in the States the following year. But don't believe for a second that this was the best Tosh had to offer. ~ Jo-Ann Greene