CD 5175 Union
Produced by David Tickle
Released on June 1988
Find it at GEMM
CD 5175 cover
[high resolution scan]

L ook, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I don’t like Toni Childs’ voice. It sounds like Joan Armatrading with a pack-a-day habit. Mind you, this seems to be a prejudice particular to me, since a lot of people were united around Union; the album even earned Childs a pair of Grammy nominations. The similar-sounding Alannah Myles topped the charts with “Black Velvet” the following year, and I hated that song, so what do I know? Personally, I would tell you that the late ‘80s were a musical wasteland anyway. The terrible “Do They Know It’s Christmas” ushered in a nuclear winter of global annoyingness, and I didn’t care to come out of my lead-reinforced hideout for “Zimbabwae” or the music of Midge Ure or anything else that had the stench of humanitarianism in it. Getting back to Union, most of the tracks are written by Childs and then-boyfriend David Ricketts (of David + David, because really you weren’t going to call it Ricketts & anything) and purportedly are about their relationship. I don’t see the connection, but they do make some beautiful music together: “Tin Drum,” “Walk And Talk Like Angels,” “Dreamer.” The album is masterful in the post-Gabriel/Winwood way that studio musicians learned to make passionate world music from machines. A less strident singer might have touched a deeper chord with these songs; I can never get around how frustrating it is that Toni Childs has to twist every word in her mouth. You want her to be normal for a moment, maybe even vulnerable, yet the voice refuses to quit fighting. She goes down swinging, I go out snoring, and if the Grammy noms grabbed your attention, remember that Tull won the metal category that year.

CD 5175 back sleeve
CD 5175 back sleeve


  1. DON'T WALK AWAY    (Toni Childs/Phil Ramacom)    4:00
  2. WALK AND TALK LIKE ANGELS    (Toni Childs/David Ricketts)    5:45
  3. STOP YOUR FUSSIN    (Toni Childs/David Ricketts)    4:38
  4. DREAMER    (Toni Childs/David Ricketts)    4:58
  5. LET THE RAIN COME DOWN    (Toni Childs/David Ricketts/David Batteau)    4:48
  6. ZIMBABWAE    (Toni Childs/David Ricketts)    6:18
  7. HUSH    (Toni Childs)    4:02
  8. TIN DRUM    (Toni Childs/David Ricketts)    5:41
  9. WHERE'S THE OCEAN    (Toni Childs)    4:42


TONI CHILDS -- vocals, guitar, bass
DAVID RICKETTS -- bass, guitar, keyboards, drum programs, associate producer
Gary Barlough -- synthesizers, Synclavier programs
Hans Christian -- cello
Renee Geyer -- backing vocals
Paul Hanson -- bassoon
Steve Hogarth -- keyboards
Dan Huff -- guitar
George Lee -- sax, percussion
Rick Marotta -- drums
Jeff Martin -- keyboards
New Generation (Zambia) -- backing vocals
  Frank Chitembwe
  Justin Ndhlovu
  Eddie Yumba
  Andrew Zulu
The Phantom Horns
  Gary Barnacle
  John Thirkell
  Pete Thoms
David Rhodes -- guitar
Sibane Semaswati Singers -- backing vocals
  Salamba Dlamin
  Sipho Hlatshwako
  Leonard Khumalo
  Richard Mabuza
  Titus Mabuza
  Job Masilela
  Samuel Mbuyisa
  France Mntshali
  Jabulane Ngwenya
  Elliot Nhcabatsi
Alex Weir -- guitar
Crystal Wilson -- backing vocals
Penni Wilson -- backing vocals
John "Tokes" Potoker -- mixing
Saul Raye -- additional engineering
Julie Last, Joe Schiff, Clark Germain, Steve MacMilan, B.K., Angus Davidson, Chris Fuhrman, Bob Vogt, Bill Dooley -- additional engineers
John Howard -- cover painting
Chuck Beeson, Melanie Nissen -- art direction
Victoria Pearson -- photos

US/CAN June 1988 A&M LP/CD/CS SP/CD/CS 5175 lyric sleeve
UK 1988 A&M LP AMA 5175 lyric sleeve
AUSL 1988 A&M LP/CS TVL/TVC-93284 lyric insert
GER 1988 A&M LP/CD 395175-1/2 lyric sleeve


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