Toto, “All Us Boys” from Hydra (1979): Toto Tuesdays

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I mentioned at the beginning of the Toto Tuesdays series that there are several Toto songs which left me cold on first listen but grew on my over the years. “All Us Boys” is not one of them.

The Hydra album started with great promise and a mythical theme with the title track and “St. George and the Dragon.” While not strictly following that theme, “99” nevertheless presented a science-fiction element to the album. “Lorraine,” the last song on side one was an interesting combination of musical ideas and musical styles.

Toto’s “All Us Boys” starts side two of Hydra by throwing all of the previous themes out the window. Musically, the song is a first-class rocker. Jeff Porcaro and David Hungate provide a solid and relatively straight-forward back beat. Steve Porcaro adds a few gentle synthesizer touches, and composer David Paich offers dependable rock and roll piano parts.

<<< BACKWARD (“Lorraine”) ||| ONWARD (“Mama”) >>>

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the track is the tight and muscular rhythm guitar part is provided by David Hungate. Hungate, an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, picked up the guitar because Steve Lukather was unavailable for the basic tracking session. Hungate does not disappoint. Lukather did overdub the guitar solos, which are among his strongest on the album.

Did I forget to mention vocalist Bobby Kimball? His contribution, which consists of a screaming the bridge, is best forgotten. Despite how good the music is on “All Us Boys,” there is also the matter of the lyrics – which are unfortunately juvenile.

I’m sure mama told you ‘bout making love
And the skies above
With fallen angels
Diet pills
Female thrills
But mama never told you ‘bout all us boys …

David Paich sings this in a voice meant to simulate that of a snotty 15 year old who’s had too much sugar … I think.

“All Us Boys” might have been a fine bonus track, but for it to kick of the second side of Toto’s Hydra, let along be the album’s third single is a little confounding. Luckily, we move on to two of Toto’s strongest tracks on Hydra

Toto Tuesdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the rich musical history of Toto. The group returned in 2015 with ‘Toto XIV,’ their first album since 2006.

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