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Toto - 1988 The Seventh One



ARTIST: Toto
ALBUM: The Seventh One
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: CK 40873
YEAR: 1988
CD REISSUE: 2008, Columbia, 88697251262 (7) * 2015 Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY277

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Lukather - lead vocals, guitars * Joseph Williams - lead vocals * David Paich - keyboards, string arrangements, co lead and backing vocals * Mike Porcaro - bass * Jeff Porcaro - drums, percussion

Additional Musicians: Steve Porcaro - keyboards, electronics * Joe Porcaro - vibes, additional percussion * Lenny Castro, Jim Keltner, Michael Fisher - additional percussion * Tom Scott, Jerry Hey - horn arrangements * David Lindley - steel guitar * Andy Narell - steel drums * Jim Horn - recorder, flute, saxophone * Bill Payne - additional keyboards * Marty Paich, James Newton-Howard - string arrangements * Patti Austin, Linda Ronstadt, Jon Aderson, Tom Kelly - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Pamela * 02 You Got Me * 03 Anna * 04 Stop Loving You * 05 Mushanga * 06 Stay Away * 07 Straight For The Heart * 08 Only The Children * 09 A Thousand Years * 10 These Chains * 11 Home Of The Brave

WEBLINKS: www.toto99.com


Background
Having recently written the new State Cows article yesterday, it reminded me of the gap we've left in the Toto back catalogue which we haven't touched upon yet. That being 1988's 'The Seventh One'. With an album cover reminiscent of the 1978 debut LP, it is indeed a case of 'back to the future' with these L.A legends, as 'The Seventh One' delivers a variable set of tunes that range from incredulous pop to hard-out rockers, plus everything in between. The band continue their experiment with Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather sharing lead vocals. Though Williams is an undoubted vocal talent, his after hours activities were less talented (drug use), resulting in his sacking from the band following this album and the resulting world tour. Toto added a few guests to the recording sessions; namely Linda Ronstadt, Patti Austin, Tom Kelly (I-Ten) and Yes lead singer Jon Anderson. Also, former keyboardist Steve Porcaro is featured as a guest.


The Songs
Toto ease into things with the smooth but punctuated west coast sounds of 'Pamela'. It's a nice funky, quirky number that is kept smooth due to the lush production and arrangement. Venturing into hi-tech territory, 'You Got Me' is a victim of the times and has more in common with artists like Lionel Ritchie . I didn't really like this to be honest. Much better is the effortless ballad 'Anna' with Luke on lead vocal. This is quite a tender and melodramatic ballad, one of the best they've done (yeah, I've said that before). Joseph Williams is back on form with 'Stop Loving You', a glorious affair, with Mike Porcaro's bass plucks standing out for all to hear while Jon Anderson jumps in with some bird like warbling on the solo spot. 'Mushanga' continues Toto's love affair with all things Africa. Some nice steel drum work from Andy Narell, though the semi-political lyric is a bit wishy-washy, and Luke's flamenco guitar sounds out of place (I thought the flamenco was Spanish, not African?). 'Stay Away' has an 80's Yes like quality. Luke's guitar tone reminiscent of Trevor Rabin's sound. You can hear the lovely Linda Ronstadt adding backing vocals on the chorus too. Jeff Porcaro picks up the tempo on 'Straight For The Heart', a commercial track that is catchy and melodic. 'Only The Children' is one for the AOR freaks, check out the pompous synths and strident guitar work for evidence. The band slow up for the wistful 'A Thousand Years', a stripped back affair with an ambient and dream-like quality about it. I like the shuffleboard arrangement of 'These Chains' which is sung by Luke. It has a certain charm about it which lingers throughout your aural senses. Closing out with 'Home Of The Brave', this is classic Toto doing the pomp thing. It makes a similar impression as 'Jake To The Bone' did on 'Kingdom Of Desire'. David Paich and Joseph share the lead vocals, and it really is a bombastic fanfare from start to end. The keyboards, guitars and drums are all on OTT alert. Fantastic finish!


In Summary
'The Seventh One' featured two principle singles ('Stop Loving You' and 'Pamela', the latter making it to #22 on the Billboard charts). As a result, the album wasn't considered a success by Columbia/CBS, according to those naysayers at AllMusic. Statistically, that may have been true, backed up by the numbers from Billboard, but for those with a deeper affinity for good music in this genre of rock music, you still can't deny that there were some very good songs on offer here. Following this album, Toto's management did the unthinkable and bought in Terence Trent-Darby and Michael Jackson wannabe Jean Michel Byron as the new lead singer. What a dreadful choice! The South African singer was absolutely the wrong guy for the band and thankfully his tenure was shortlived although damaging to the band's credibility at the time. Thankfully, all of this was resolved by the time 1992's 'Kingdom Of Desire' was released, which bought its own set of challenges.. as many of us know.


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Comments
#1 | AOR Lee on July 05 2013 05:56:54
Being South African, I am still deeply ashamed of the Byron debacle. Shambolic nonsense to be honest, and thankfully very short lived as George mentions. Seventh One on the other hand is essential. Home Of The Brave and Only The Children just kill me guitarkeyboards
#2 | george_the_jack on July 05 2013 11:44:44
My favourite Toto disc and one of my most beloved records from the 80's. Jo Williams is really excellent here! Stop Loving You has to be my favourite Toto track ever along with ''I won't hold you back'' from IV.
#3 | Eric on July 05 2013 12:04:52
I really liked this record too, played it to death at the time. I remember seeing/ renting a video concert (on VHS of course) of the band with Byron and it wasn't THAT bad, but still....
#4 | roadrunner158 on July 05 2013 16:54:31
Fantastic record. Their best one IMHO. Not a single filler (well...'You Got Me' is pretty close, but not quite) and a couple of essential songs (Stop Loving You, Home Of The Brave, Only The Children, A Thousand Years, ...) for every lover of AOR/melodic rock/whatever you want to call this kind of music.
#5 | george_the_jack on July 06 2013 20:08:55
YouTube Video:
#6 | super80boy on July 23 2013 02:44:54
I like the variety of material on display for this effort. There's straight up AOR, High Tech, Westcoast and Pop Ballads. I also like the vocal duty changes. AllMusic gave this album a beating in their review, which was very unfair. The Seventh One was an excellent all around effort.
#7 | Eric on July 23 2013 03:32:52
Allmusic has never struck me as an AOR friendly operation.
#8 | AOR Lee on July 24 2013 06:23:14
That's true Eric, I've seen countless AOR albums I hold dear shredded by their clueless writing team
 
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