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Rock - Released June 25, 1991 | A&M Records

Toni Childs followed up her critically acclaimed Union in 1991 with House of Hope. Once again, Childs wrote the bulk of the album with David Rickets (David and David) with whim she co-produced the album. Despite those facts, and despite the return of guitarist David Rhodes and drummer Rick Marotta, House of Hope fails to match the impressive standards of Childs' debut. Childs treads much of the same ground as on Union, both lyrically and musically, but too much of House of Hope feels incomplete. What the record lacks, however, is almost made up for on the tracks that do work beginning with the lead-off "I've Got to Go Now," a tale of a woman leaving an abusive relationship. Childs dramatic vocals imbue the protagonist with willful, albeit fragile, resolve and a spirit that is moving. "Heaven's Gate" is a lovely ballad resembling a lullaby (which chronicles a widow's longing to be reunited with her husband) over a graceful soundtrack of piano and acoustic guitar. And on "The Dead Are Dancing," Los Lobos' David Hidalgo adds guitar and accordion to the ode to the disappeared dissidents of Chile. ~ Tom Demalon
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Pop - Released January 1, 1988 | A&M Records

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." ~ Tom Demalon
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Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Hip-O (UC)

Toni Childs spits out lyrics on up-tempo tunes like rounds blasting from an AK-47. Unfortunately, she doesn't do many ups. She's easier on ballads and mid-tempo songs, but still register red-zone readings. The singer/songwriter has been labeled everything from alternative rock to pop/rock -- everything but the soul singer she is. Aretha Franklin singing an album of folksy tunes doesn't make her a folk singer. Childs' recordings reflect the material she writes, which is not necessarily the direction that's best for her; with the right producer, she could be Tina Turner. This collection features not only her compositions (the ferocious "Don't Walk Away," the heady "I Just Want Affection," and the Janis Ian-ish "I Met a Man"), but a couple she didn't scribe, such as Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross." ~ Andrew Hamilton