New Orleans songwriter, producer, arranger, and recording artist Allen Toussaint celebrates his 77th birthday today. This week seems to be jam packed with birthdays of soul folks I've had the honor of interviewing or collaborating with. Mr. Toussaint's roll in r&b, rock n roll, soul, and funk is monumental, and yet I found him to be extremely humble and soft-spoken. He's worn so many hats in the music business, including that of record label owner, I asked him which roll was his favorite. Arranger, he said.
You'll find Allen Toussaint's sweet touch of soul on all of the following:
Walking with Mr. Lee - Lee Allen
I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Some Day - Fats Domino
Ooh Poo Pah Doo - Jessie Hill
Mother In Law - Ernie K-Doe
Fortune Teller - Benny Spellman
Lipstick Traces - Benny Spellman
It's Raining - Irma Thomas
Ruler of My Heart - Irma Thomas
I Like It Like That - Chris Kenner
Nearer to You - Betty Harris
Working In A Coal Mine - Lee Dorsey
Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky - Lee Dorsey
Sophisticated Cissy - The Meters
Yes We Can - Lee Dorsey (also the Pointer Sisters)
Going Down Slowly - The Pointer Sisters
Lady Marmelade - Labelle
and countless others. It's mind-blowing how many classics this fella cranked out. In addition to all of his work for other artists, he is one of the most influential and defining piano players out of New Orleans.
Since Mr. Toussaint has done so much to help other people shine, I thought it would be nice to spotlight one of his own recordings. "From A Whisper to A Scream" may be better known to some by Esther Phillips, but Allen Toussaint's original haunting and theatrical slice of psych soul (featuring dramatic backup vocals by Merry Clayton and Venetta Fields) is brilliant example of vivid musical storytelling. It's the perfect listen for an overcast Pacific Northwest winter day.
DJ Action Slacks
I'm excited to highlight some of my favorite records in a variety of genres (soul, R&B, classic country, rockabilly, oldies, garage rock, etc). These won't all necessarily be "dance" records per se. They will all be records that I believe deserve a special listen. I simply love good music, rare or not. Hopefully you will spend some time here and love music right along with me! Lets give this a shot!