Click to return to Dave’s Music Database home page.

Charted: August 16, 1986

Rating: 4.532 (average of 12 ratings)

Genre: rock > album

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Welcome to the Boomtown [5:31]
  2. Swallowed by the Cracks [4:16]
  3. Ain’t So Easy [4:51]
  4. Being Alone Together [5:31]
  5. A Rock for the Forgotten [4:26]
  6. River’s Gonna Rise [4:29]
  7. Swimming in the Ocean [4:00]
  8. All Alone in the Big City [4:42]
  9. Heroes [3:10]

All songs written by David Baerwald and David Ricketts.

Total Running Time: 40:56

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 0.5
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 0.5


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 39
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Welcome to the Boomtown (8/16/86) #37 US, #8 AR
  • Swallowed by the Cracks (10/25/86) #14 AR
  • Ain’t So Easy (1/10/87) #51 US, #17 AR


One of my personal top 100 albums of all time. Click to learn more.

David + David
“On their debut album, David Baerwald and David Ricketts have come out of nowhere to write and perform a fearless, loose suite about victory and loss; friends, lovers and family; work and Los Angeles.” JHBoomtown is a hard look at urban life in the 1980s, a time when many were fulfilling the American Dream of financial success and upward mobility.” MO

“Musically, Boomtown is a piece of the ’80s, although…it holds up better than other albums of the period. The synths and drum machines are there, but you can tell they’re being used by guys who started using them because they were living in a one-bedroom apartment above a Mexican restaurant and couldn’t afford a full band setup, not because they wanted to sound like the latest Jellybean Benitez production. There’s a difference.” JB

“It is not an easy album to listen to, as the characters depicted in the songs are often dealing with major problems such as drugs and domestic violence.” MO “Although there are often hints of hope and seemingly a sense of compassion toward the subjects in the songs, it is not apparent that most will eventually pull themselves out of their predicaments.” MO “But it is an artful record, full of poetry and convincing stories of the hard times that many silently endured. At times the record is full of pop hooks, and at other stages a more bleak sound dominates.” MO

“The vocals of David & David are…effective in telling the tales” MO as “these two studio rats know the follies of their chosen profession; they don't romanticize them much--or else they romanticize them effectively, which is even rarer.” RC This is a “piece of beautiful-loser mythology… [crafted by] two guys with the guts (and interest) to apply their craft to at least one revolutionary fantasy.” RC

“Often there is a shrill, despondent quality that complements what is being related to the listener,” MO a feat which “proves that involving arrangements can enrich even the most literate and melodic of songs.” JH

Indeed, this album has “got the goods technically – songs, hooks, subtle little touches.” RC The album is produced by Davitt Sigerson, “who’s made a career of justifying such mannerisms as critic and artist.” RC With his hand guiding the way, there are “unobtrusive bits of dobro, lap steel, mandolin, harmonica and Paulinho da Costa's percussion worked into the superbly balanced mix of bass, guitar and drums.” JH “In particular, the drums have kind of a hushed sound to them, and the guitars often purvey sounds of doom through distortion or other means.” MO

Welcome to the Boomtown opens [the album] with an image of a fated woman high behind the wheel of her Porsche; Baerwald sings, deadpan, ‘Pick a habit/We got plenty/To go around.’” JH It “is one of various cuts that convincingly detail the many trials of the characters such as Kevin, who ‘deals dope out of Denny's keeps a table in the back.’” MO

“On Swallowed by the Cracks, Baerwald speaks about a previous generation's creative ambitions fading into aimlessness. Singing his heart out in a lively guitar-led setting, talking as much to himself as to anyone else, he decides, ‘You're only out when you stay out/You stay out when you don’t believe.’” JH

“On Ain't So Easy, an adult love song, the narrator sings, ‘I'm sorry about your eye/I'll find a way to make amends,’ and then offers a transcendent chorus that stands as good a chance of winning back the woman he wronged as any chorus might. This is exemplary Eighties rock & roll, generous and unblinking.” JH

Being Alone Together is about “a man who's ‘just a little bit tattered’ [who] wakes up and imagines that his lost girlfriend is still around; he later consoles himself with his little sister's advice that he's ‘better off.’” JH

River's Gonna Rise points out cruelty and repression among today's South African ‘church bells’ and ‘thieves,’ though it doesn't build musically to the frenzy it narrates. But on A Rock for the Forgotten, a bartender effortlessly describes L.A. characters (‘When I pour they smile’) to a spry groove.” JH

Then David and David go for their grand statement. On Heroes, a jangling country rocker…, they're all there – ‘the punks and the drunks and the bad guitar players.’ On this song, David and David realize that all their stories and sobs and fantasies are, well, part of their job, too.” JH

Full of “intelligent tracks, long on rhythm and mood,” JH Boomtown is an “often extraordinary record is about how not to be swallowed by the cracks.” JH “One may not want to listen to this record to lift the spirit, but it is a strong reminder of difficult situations faced during what can be perceived by many as the best of times.” MO

Review Sources:

Related DMDB Links:

Previous Album: Sensible Shoes EP (1982) David Baerwald’s DMDB page Tuesday Night Music Club’s DMDB page Next Album: Bedtime Stories (1990)

Welcome to the Boomtown

Click on box above to check out the DMDB on Facebook.

Last updated March 12, 2011.