Culture Factory USA is fast becoming the go-to label for high quality CD reissues. The most recent entries to their vastly expanding catalogue are the first four releases from the Grammy Award-winning band Toto. All four releases are high definition remasters and come housed in Deluxe Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeves.
These four albums have never sounded better. If you are not familiar with Toto’s recordings before the multiplatinum album Toto IV, released in the spring of 1982, then now is the time to get acquainted with this great band. Their Top 10 self-titled debut Toto , which hit the charts in 1978, spawned the hits “Hold The Line” and “I’ll Supply The Love,” as well as the concert favorite “Georgy Porgy” and went on to sell 2 million copies in the US. Their follow-up, Hydra, didn’t fare as well as its predecessor and only managed to reach #37 on the album charts. That said, Hydra eventually went gold and did include the classic rock radio hit “99.”
Toto returned 2 years later with the highly underrated Turn Back . Upon its release “Turn Back” did not exactly set the world on fire. It spawned no hit singles or chart success of any kind and yet, of the four reissues, it is the album I would recommend that you get your hands on, because it is solid from start to finish. Co-produced by Geoff Workman (Journey, The Cars), Turn Back is a pop rock record that fits perfectly in the mold of radio hits of the time by bands such as Survivor and REO Speedwagon. It’s hard to say why this album never caught on when originally released because songs such as “Gift With A Golden Gun,” “Turn Back” and “Live For Today” are among the best songs the band has ever recorded.
After the disappointing reception of Turn Back, Toto regrouped in a big way and released Toto IV. The album was a success both critically and commercially and to this day is still the band’s highest charting and selling LP. Reaching #4 on the album charts, Toto IV produced two top 5 singles with the song “Africa” going all the way to #1. By year’s end Toto IV would go on to win 6 Grammy Awards including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for the song “Rosanna.”
Toto has gone through some personnel changes since their first four releases but with almost 40 years in music under their belts they continue to record and tour to this day. Here’s hoping that with these Culture Factory USA releases diehard fans will finally get to hear these albums in all their sonic glory, while new fans can discover what they have been missing all these years.
- Toto – 7 out of 10 drumsticks
- Hydra – 6 out of 10 drumsticks
- Turn Back – 9 out of 10 drumsticks
- Toto IV – 10 out of 10 drumsticks
More Pat Francis Reviews on PCB:
Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.