Music: Burdened Spirits, Soaring Songs

Burdened Spirits, Soaring Songs

TONI CHILDS has done something tougher than just make another terrific record here. She has beat the jinx. Her debut album in 1988, Union, was one of those comet-like appearances that occur more frequently in pop music than they do in the firmament, leaving the listener simultaneously dazzled and wondering, a bit uneasily, if she could ever do it again. Many don't, after all. But then, it's becoming increasingly clear that Toni Childs plays only by her own rules. HOUSE OF HOPE (A&M) is a record about emotional battering: in love, in childhood, in marriage. The songs, mostly written and produced...

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