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DAVID PAICH – Forgotten Toys (Review, 2022)

92/100

DAVID PAICH is of course one of the founding members of Grammy Award winning and multi-million record selling band TOTO. As a backbone of the band, he has earnt the respect and admiration of millions of fans. He is also an in-demand session musician that has made a career out of making other people look great, rarely seeking time in the spotlight for himself. It’s hard to believe that it has taken 5 decades in the music business to finally put his own name on a record.

On his debut solo release ‘Forgotten Toys’, David Paich finally corrects that oversight. TOTO fans are well versed in his brilliance, now it’s time for the rest of the world to learn the truth.

The Toto sound is naturally in his DNA and the way he writes, so there are immediate similarities and familiarities to the chart-topping band on ‘Forgotten Toys’. But there is also a lot more. The full musical personality, the heart and soul of David Paich the songwriter and arranger is on show.

The EP may be called ‘Forgotten Toys’, but the ideas that make up the debut solo release from the Toto founding member and principle songwriter DAVID PAICH have remained in the back of his mind for many years. The self-described foundation of “Half written/half ideas” came to be expanded upon during the extended Covid lockdown, a period where David finally found himself with spare time. Emboldened with “incredible encouragement’, he set about making the first music outside of his role in Toto since the band started some 45 years ago.

David Paich may be expressing himself outside of the band, but he still enlisted all his friends to help bring these songs to life. Toto brethren Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather are heavily involved helping fashion the EP’s sound, as are some other familiar Toto faces – Lenny Castro, Warren Ham and Nathan East.

But they aren’t alone. The guest list on this record mirror the who’s who of the classic rock world.

To understand ‘Forgotten Toys’, a track by track look at the EP is essential.

A brief intro titled ‘Forward’ suggests David missed a potential career in scoring films, his natural flair to create a dramatic soundscape is ever-present.

The short intro flows seamlessly into the classic Toto sounding mid-tempo ‘Will I Belong To You’, which features a duel piano/organ approach from David, topped with a warm vocal and a classic tenor chorus from Joseph Williams. Gregg Bissonette provides drums; Nathan East bass and Dean Parks and Steve Lukather the electric guitars. A perfect opening salvo.

‘Spirit Of The Moonrise’ sees David Paich flex his musical muscle in more than one way. The tougher sounding rock track picks up angst and energy, plus it also features David playing the bass parts alongside his usual organ and piano role. His lead vocals guide the track with an unexpected authority. Toto alumni Lenny Castro (percussion), Warren Ham (saxophone) and Steve Lukather (guitars) join the party, with a chorus of all-star harmony vocals from Anna Williams, Joe Williams, Michael McDonald, Pat Knox and Ray Williams.

‘First Time’ brings back a more familiar David Paich musical vibe. The dreamy love song laments the feel-good moments of young love with a rich musical tapestry of percussion (Lenny Castro and Robin DiMaggio), rhythmic drums (DiMaggio), moody guitar work from Fredrik Halland and Dean Parks and even some flute courtesy of Warren Ham. A stepout vocal from David’s daughter Elizabeth Paich adds a touching layer.

‘Queen Charade’ sees style and expectations turned on their head. Showing yet more versatility to the Paich writing and vocal library, this bluesy, dirty rock n roll number shows a playful side to Paich not previously displayed. You can almost hear the smile on David’s face as he blasts through a raspy lead vocal and some honky tonk piano, with Don Felder supplying slide guitar and Steve Lukather again doing his part. Add harmonica and saxophone from Warren Ham and some southern grove from drummer Steve Jordan to make this track a focus on fun. Adding to the atmosphere and some classy background vocals from Monet Owens and Pat Knox.

‘All The Tears That Shine’ will be a very familiar track for Toto fans, the song originally appeared on their 2015 album Toto XIV. David takes the original foundation of the soulful track with his vocals and in place of Joseph Williams comes the raspy Michael Sherwood to give this gorgeous song a new feel entirely. The extra mood and ambience are created by the talented cast assembled for this track. Davey Johnstone (Elton John) on guitar; Fredrik Halland (bass); Mike Valerio (upright bass); and Lenny Castro and Robin DiMaggio on percussion and drums. Actually reminds me of a Lukather solo rocker.

‘Lucy’ closes out the ‘Forgotten Toys’ release with the song you knew was coming, the song we just had to have. Going back to his earliest musical roots, this song strikes at the heart of what makes David Paich tick. The freeform jazzy instrumental is the ideal way to end proceedings and really ensure every base is covered. With a cast that includes background vocals & scatting by James Torme; Guitar by Ray Parker Jr.; Gregg Bissonette on drums; Horns by Jon Diversa; Lenny Castro on percussion and the man himself, David Paich on Piano, organ and synth.

‘Forgotten Toys’ adds to the deep musical legacy of David Paich. It may only be an EP, but the 6 full-length tracks hold more class than some full albums do.

Absolutely essential for Toto fans.