Toni Childs

Union

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AllMusic Review by

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."

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