Toto, “Gypsy Train” from Kingdom of Desire (1992): Toto Tuesdays

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A distinctive Jeff Porcaro rhythm begins 1992’s Kingdom of Desire, then comes a riff that points to something entirely new. This was NOT the Toto of old. This was a band trying something new, taking their music in a direction they’d never taken it before.

For those only familiar with their hits, “Gypsy Train” surely would have been a jolt. And yet it’s still distinctly Toto: David Paich’s keyboard flourishes are in full effect, the rhythm section is chugging away at full speed and despite Steve Lukather’s gritty and raw vocals, it comes across just as polished as their earlier material.

There’s a naked and raw energy that permeates throughout “Gypsy Train,” and while other tracks on Kingdom of Desire may be catchier, few other songs on this or any other Toto album have this kind of pure, raw energy.

In hindsight, beginning this project with “Gypsy Train” was beyond obvious. Anywhere else on the album would have been jarring. By opening the album like this, the band served notice to listeners that they were in for something completely different than what they’d come to expect.

Sadly, the untimely passing of Jeff Porcaro brought this phase of Toto to an abrupt end. Given the taste of this new direction gave their fans, it would be interesting to see the band continue to evolve in this direction. In the absence of that, this album is a statement and “Gypsy Train” is its exclamation mark.


Toto Tuesdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the band’s rich musical history. They returned in 2015 with ‘Toto XIV,’ the group’s 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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  • Preston Frazier

    A weird kickoff to a Toto album with Luke’s David Lee Roth inspired vocals. The near lack of keyboards signals this is not your normal Toto album. This could have easily been a Luke solo track even though it was band written and produced.

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