Toto, “Home of the Brave” from The Seventh One (1988): Toto Tuesdays

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Toto’s “Home of the Brave” isn’t a song. It’s an anthem; it’s the storming crescendo of 1988’s The Seventh One. While all of Toto’s songs in some way or another illustrate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, “Home of the Brave” puts an exclamation mark on the old adage.

The track opens with David Paich’s keyboards, followed shortly thereafter by Steve Lukather – who echoes Paich’s flourishes on his guitar. Paich then adds relaxed and somewhat understated vocals. The beauty of those vocals is that they serve as a brilliant counterpoint to Joseph Williams’ soaring turn at the mic.

The juxtaposition of the two drastically different vocal styles is the key element that makes “Home of the Brave” work so well. Paich delivers the message and then Joe comes in and kicks that message up to 11. In the case of the Live in Poland, Williams brings more than 10,000 screaming fans into the mix as well, bolstering the song with a veritable wall of power.

The instrumental portions give each member a chance to truly shine. Jeff Porcaro’s drumming is a force unto itself on the original studio version, of course. But successor Simon Phillips managed to put his own stamp on “Home of the Brave,” creating something that was certainly equal (albeit distinctly different) to both the legacy of Toto and of the song itself in concert.

Having heard “Home of the Brave” performed with various different vocal combinations on Toto’s live releases has only, over time, further illustrated how the tandem of David Paich and Joe Williams made this track so special in the first place. No offense to Toto vocalists Bobby Kimball and Greg Phillinganes, but this song is Paich and Williams’ to sing.

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

Perplexio

Perplexio

Perplexio also maintains a stand-alone blog called The Review Revue, where he explores music, movies and books. He spearheaded 'Saturdays in the Park,' our weekly multi-writer, song-by-song series focused on the music of Chicago. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Perplexio
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