Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vinyl Exams: David and David "Boomtown" (1986)

I recently picked up another used copy of David & David’s only release, 1986’s “Boomtown” .I’ve owned the cd before and must have sold on Ebay. I also owned the LP when it was first out. The store had a “buy 1 used get the 2nd half off “ deal. I was in the mood to hear it and the sticker said $3.99. 

The title track “Welcome to the Boomtown”, was a hit on AOR stations when it was released. The follow-up feature track, “Swallowed by the Cracks” was a minor success.

The guys apparently did a club tour around the albums release and then never did another album or tour together! Lead singer, David Baerwald , did continue to record for A&M as a solo artist. His 1990 release “Bedtime Stories”, is a fine release in the same vein with a few of the rough edges polished off. (They did both participate in the "Tuesday Night Music Club" with Sheryl Crow among others. much of that material became Crow's debut album, much to the chagrin of the other members causing hard feelings that last to this day>)

I’ve never read an explanation as to why they did not continue the partnership. David Ricketts did go on to work with his girlfriend, Toni Childs, on her successful debut “Union”, released in 1988.(Childs sings backup on “Boomtown”) It is possible he wanted to focus more on the production side and his relationship with her..

As far as “Boomtown”, the music holds up very well, only some of the keyboards and drum programming may date it
Baerwald has a smooth yet powerful voice and his strength is in his lyric writing. He was obviously a fan of creating a mood and creating a narrative; a fan of detailed fiction. His characters were people who seemed disappointed, disillusioned and struggling to survive. They maybe once had potential, but life dealt them some difficult cards….

                                                "Welcome to the Boomtown"

Looking at the cover, the guys were definitely dressed down more like the roots rock bands of the era. In fact, they look like they got caught in the rain. They were definitely not vain like some of the “Hair bands” or the “new-wave”/pop bands. They were actually ahead of their time with their look, Ricketts dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans.

The music was more developed and sophisticated that their look. The guys, along with producer  Davitt Sigerson , create songs with rich layers of guitars and keyboards.  The use of drum machines and keyboards never stripped the music of its depth or mood. The guitars were prominent. There are only 9 tracks and all are good. It is a good listen from start to finish.
                                               "Swallowed by the Cracks"


In the late 80’s my younger brother got into reggae so I lent him a cassette I made of Bob Marley’s “Legend” on one side and David and David on the other. Once “Legend” was over he would let the auto-reverse do it’s thing and play the David and David. He said “Those guys on the other side of the tape are pretty good!”.

After “Bedtime Stories” failed to catch fire, Baerwald went off into a more political direction with some of the lyrics. I found “Triage” to be a tough listen and I still find it boring to be lectured and preached at.

These days you can follow Baerwald on Facebook (he still seems to be into the leftist politics, so I will pass..).
David Baerwald on Facebook:

As far as Ricketts, apparently he did work again with Toni Childs a few years back but not sure what he is up to otherwise. I’d say the time would be ripe for these guys to reunite and develop some new characters who live in THESE difficult times.

Best tracks: “Welcome to the Boomtown” “Swallowed by the Cracks”, “Ain’t So Easy”, “River’s Gonna Rise”

                                                 "river's Gonna Rise"

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