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Album Review

Union's release in 1988 announced a bold, incendiary new voice in the singer/songwriter sweepstakes in Toni Childs. The well-traveled Childs, the short-term original lead singer for Berlin, draws upon the vast experiences of her life and delivers them with an urgency that is hypnotically compelling. It's all tied together by David Tickle's production and aided by first-rate backing by musicians including songwriting collaborator David Ricketts, drummer Rick Marotta and guitarist David Rhodes. The single "Don't Walk Away" kicks things off in high gear and Childs rarely looks back. Her take-no-prisoners vocal drives the funky, horn-driven track, which is backed by the gospel swell of the background vocalists. Although the rest of the album is a little more sedate, Childs never loses the urgent edge to her dusky voice. "Stop Your Fussin'" is sung to a restless lover over a Caribbean rhythm and "Hush" has a playful bounce to it. Elsewhere, "Zimbabwae" is a parable detailing African strife complete with chanting background vocals and "Dreamer" provides her with a bed of keyboards that shimmer like stars. The twice Grammy-nominated Union received universal critical acclaim and is riveting right through the moody poetry of the final track, "Where's the Ocean."

Customer Reviews

Lifelong favorite.

It is rare that an album can take you through a full range of emotion like this one has for me. I can listen to this entire album repeatedly from beginning to end.

One of my favorite albums of all time.

There are a few songs in each of our lives that touches us in a way that serves a purpose beyond entertainment, and in the process, making us somehow more complete, more human. Toni Childs, in Union, has an entire CD that accomplishes that. Her talent serves as a reminder that, when brilliant, music can be stimulating to the mind, salve for the heart, and inspiration for the soul. As she cries, "where's the ocean/ where's the moments I once knew inside my heart/ where's the Ocean for us," you will search for meaning in your life and love in your heart. Let her sing to you. It will be the best purchase of music you ever make.

Get the rest!

Really interesting album (wide range of folk influences along with more traditional instruments and hints of its late '80's time period) but 8/9 of it is missing here. You can find a lot of the others (the best tracks, particularly) on the Toni Childs compilation also on iTunes, but this still works better as a full album.


Born: October 29, 1957 in Orange, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Having had a pretty dark childhood, Toni Childs, born in Orange, California, faced one of two options: a descent into violence, or a journey of self-discovery. Thankfully, she opted for the latter and an extraordinary talent was born. The voyage saw Childs live in London, for a while writing lyrics for a Nigerian band. Returning to L.A., she fronted Berlin before backing David + David on their 1986 masterpiece, Boomtown. Together with producer David Tickle, she began work on what became her debut,...
Full Bio