I’ve mentioned it before on these pages: Toto divides the world into two halves, either you hate them or you love them. I belong to the second category and was therefore delighted and somewhat surprised that founder/songwriter/keyboardist/singer David Paich has now come up with a solo album, his debut in fact. Although, it might not be surprising as his Toto colleagues and friends Joseph Williams (Denizen Tenant) and Steve Lukather (I Found The Sun Again) also released solo material in the middle of the pandemic. The first mentioned is also the catalyst, Joseph Williams being the man who led Paich to go into the studio and dust off those old, forgotten songs and re-record them. And so it happened. The album has been given the appropriate title Forgotten Toys, a collection of old(er) material that sounds sparkling and varied in a new guise, co-produced by Williams.
Paich kicks off solo with Forward, an ultra-short instrumental prelude. The song reminds me somewhat of film music and holds a promise that isn’t quite fulfilled. The instrumental is almost immediately followed by willibelongtoyou, a Toto-esque song with shared lead vocals with buddy Joseph Williams, with the well-known Toto format of the lower vocals (Paich) and the high-pitched voice (Williams). A fine piano part supports this lovely tune, which, if you’re not careful, will prove to be quite an earworm.
Spirit of the Moonrise is my personal favourite on Forgotten Toys, the ultimate Toto song: an up tempo rock song, up there with the best of Toto/Paich. Already at the intro it becomes clear that this is a special song, among other things because of that wonderful characteristic guitar solo by Steve ‘Luke’ Lukather. With lead vocals by Paich, the choruses and Michael McDonalds’ recognisable outbursts do the rest.
The pace slows down for First Time, an autobiographical song about the growing up of a daughter, with background vocals by the very same daughter, Elisabeth Paich. With Queen Charade, Paich et al take a completely different approach, this time it’s a down and dirty blues song, in the best tradition of the Rolling Stones. Not entirely coincidental with current Stones drummer Steve Jordan behind the kit. The whole is complemented by the harmonica and saxophone of Warren Ham and the slide guitar of ex-Eagle Don Felder.
No shortage of variety, All the Tears That Shine is a moving ballad about a lost love. The oldest song on this mini-album, it might have been more suited to Michael McDonald’s voice, but the fact that Paich used the original demo with the voice of his old comrade and co-writer Michael Sherwood (elder brother of Yes bassist Billy, who also does some background vocals) is an equally fitting tribute: the man passed away a few years ago.
As the final track of Forgotten Toys we are presented with a wonderful piece of flowing and light-hearted jazz in the form of Lucy. The song is an ode to his deceased sister, whom he compared to Lucy, the girl from the Peanuts cartoon. It evokes the image of a number of musicians playing jazz and having fun in a smoky room on a weekday evening. The piano of Paich and Michael Lang (it gets monotonous: he died in early August, just before the release of the album), the scat vocals of James Tormé and the percussion of Toto veteran Lenny Castro indicate that this is certainly not your average jazz ensemble.
The solo debut of six-time Grammy winner, Toto founder and songwriter David Paich, Forgotten Toys is a pleasant and varied sequence of apparently quite different songs. Of course, the Toto connection is clearly present, there is no other way; the band is engrained in the deepest fibres of Paich’s body. Yet the surprises are plentiful, with blues and jazz being the highlights. One could say that it’s a very short album, at about half-an-hour it’s more of an EP than a full-fledged album. Extra compliments for the cover design by wife Lorraine, clearly some thoughts have gone into this. This first exercise by the veteran leaves you wanting for more, hopefully he sees it the same way himself and this album will get a sequel. Recommended for all Toto fans but also for people who just love good music.
[You can read Alex’s recent interview with David Paich HERE.]
01. Forward (0:30)
02. willibelongtoyou (4:20)
03. Spirit of the Moonrise (4:53)
04. First Time (5:06)
05. Queen Charade (4:26)
06. All the Tears That Shine (5:22)
07. Lucy (4:31)
Total Time – 29:08
David Paich – Piano, Synth, Organ, Bass, Lead Vocals
Joseph Williams – Lead Vocals, Background Vocals
Michael Sherwood – Lead Vocals
Dean Parks – Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Steve Lukather – Electric Guitars
Fredrik Halland – Electric Guitars, Electric Bass
Davey Johnstone – Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Ray Parker Jr – Guitars
Don Felder – Slide Guitar
Lenny Castro – Percussion
Robin DiMaggio – Drums, Percussion
Steve Jordan – Drums
Gregg Bissonette – Drums
Warren Hamm – Saxophone, Harmonica, Flute
Nathan East – Electric Bass
Brian Eno – Intro Beacon
Mike Valerio – Upright Bass
Michael Lang – Acoustic Piano
Jon Diversa – Horns
Michael McDonald – Background Vocals
Hannah Williams – Background Vocals
Ray Williams – Background Vocals
Fredrik Halland – Background Vocals
Elizabeth Paich – Background Vocals
Billy Sherwood – Background Vocals
James Tormé – Background Vocals
Monet Owens – Background Vocals
Pat Knox – Background Vocals
Record Label: Mascot Label Group
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 19st August 2022
David Paich – Facebook