Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1979-present)
- Tom Moraldo -- vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards
- Horizontal Ladies Club
Rating: **** 4 stars
Title: The Toms
Company: Black Sheep Records
Country/State: New Jersey, US
Grade (cover/record): NM/NM
Comments: sealed copy; reissue
Catalog ID: 3299
One of the all time great home studio albums, Tom Moraldo wrote and recorded what became "The Toms" over a three day period in his small, New Jersey home studio (the future Sonogram Studios). A true one man show, Moraldo wrote all twelve tracks, played all the instruments, and handled the arrangements and production.
1979's "The Toms" is one of those albums that's sought after by hardcore pop collectors. If you could track down an original copy on the Black Sheep label, it would easily set you back $100.00. And the funny thing is the collection's one of those rarities - it meets, or exceeds all the hyperbolic commentary that surrounds it. At least for this one golden moment, Moraldo managed to conjure up a near perfect mixture of all of the bands that had inspired him to take up music as a child. British Invasion groups, The Beatles, Cream, Procol Harum, The Stones and late-'70s power pop moves - it was all folded into this wonderful and criminally overlooked album. In fact this is one of those albums where the overabundance of goodness is almost a disadvantage. It just starts to overwhelm you. How do you pick from such a treasure trove of goodness?
Sadly, the small Black Sheep label was totally unprepared for dealing with an album like "The Toms". In spire of rave critical reviews, the company simply lacked the marketing muscle to push the album out to the buying public. The end result was a true lost classic.
"The Toms" track listing:
1.) Let's Be Friends Again (Thomas Moraldo) - 3:06 rating; ***** stars
If you were going to write some sort of computer code to churn out a classic power pop tune, I suspect it wouldn't sound all that different than 'Let's Be Friends Again'. If I had to come up with one word to describe this dazzling slice of power pop, "exuberant" might fit the bill. How Moraldo managed to pack so much energy into three minutes is a complete mystery. And those chiming guitars ... Most power pop bands would gladly have sacrificed their rhythm guitarist for a song half as good. Wunderbar !!!
2.) You Must Have Crossed My Mind (Thomas Moraldo) - 2:53 rating; **** stars
Shimmering jangle rock ballad that managed to take Merseybeat and update it. Amazing how Moraldo managed to multi-track his vocals with such skill and fineness. Simply wonderful.
3.) It's Needless (Thomas Moraldo) - 2:39 rating; **** stars
Interesting hearing a New Jersey guy managed to add just a hint of an English accent to the vocals on this sweet ballad. Were it not for the updated production, this one would not have sounded out of place on a mid-'60s Merseybeat album.
4.) Other Boys Do (Thomas Moraldo) - 3:07 rating; **** stars
'Other Boys Do' found Moraldo injecting a bit of jittery, new wave-styled energy into the mix. The results remained highly commercial and catchy (the chorus was almost addictive).
5.) The Door (Thomas Moraldo) - 3:05 rating; **** stars
Love the lyrics and jangle-rock guitars on 'The Door'. Damn, I'm humming it again as I type this.
6.) Wasn't That Love In Your Eyes (Thomas Moraldo) - 3:18 rating; **** stars
And just when you didn't thin the album could get any better, Moraldo unleashed the jangle rock masterpiece 'Wasn't That Love In Your Eyes'. Classic Beatles-styled pop-rock tune ... how did he managed to get those stellar harmonies on his own ? In a fair world, this would have tuned The Toms into massive international stars.
1.) I Did the Wrong Thing (Thomas Moraldo) - 2:18 rating: **** stars
Geez, the guy even had a sense of humor and could play decent drums ... Criminally addictive hook on this one.
2.) Hook (Thomas Moraldo) - 3:50 rating: ***** stars
OMG - the man just managed to teach a masters-level course in songwriting in a scant three and a half minutes. Shame this seems to be an art we've lost to auto-tuning software and the drones who've taken over the current music business.
3.) The Flame (Thomas Moraldo) - 2:05 rating: **** stars
Bands like The Shoes would have killed for a bouncy, radio friendly pop tune like this. Once again, the guitar riff is criminally addictive.
4.) Think About Me (Thomas Moraldo) - 3:01 rating: **** stars
If there was a mild disappointment, then I'd tapped the ballad 'Think About Me'. Well, I would have tapped it untill the chorus kicked in.
5.) Better Than Anyone Else (Thomas Moraldo) - 3:08 rating: **** stars
One of the tracks where Moraldo's '70s influences came to the front, though that didn't diminish the song's catchy quotient by any factor.
6.) The Bear (Thomas Moraldo) - 2:08 rating: **** stars
Somewhat atypical, 'The Bear' reflected one of Moraldo's patented sunny, jangle rock melodies, but an intriguing lyric set. I've heard it dozens of times and still don't have a clue what it was about.
Marolda's released a number of other solo albums and a couple of projects with Horizontal Ladies club. He has a web presence at: https://www.tommymarolda.com/
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