A report on Allen Toussaint

Toussaint at the Freret Street Festival,
New Orleans, 2009
Toussaint performing in Stockholm in 2009
Allen Toussaint receiving the National Medal of Arts in 2013

American musician, songwriter, arranger and record producer, who was an influential figure in New Orleans rhythm and blues from the 1950s to the end of the century, described as "one of popular music's great backroom figures".

- Allen Toussaint
Toussaint at the Freret Street Festival,
New Orleans, 2009

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Dr. John at the 2007
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Dr. John

11 links

American singer and songwriter.

American singer and songwriter.

Dr. John at the 2007
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Dr. John at the 2006 Jazz à Vienne festival, in Vienne, France
Dr. John at the Liri Blues Festival, Italy, July 2010
Dr. John performing at Le Poisson Rouge, New York City, 2011

In 1973, with Allen Toussaint producing and The Meters backing, Dr. John released the seminal New Orleans funk album In the Right Place.

American DVD cover

Make It Funky (film)

11 links

2005 American documentary film directed, written and co-produced by Michael Murphy.

2005 American documentary film directed, written and co-produced by Michael Murphy.

American DVD cover

The film is narrated by Art Neville, and the interviewees include local music pioneers Allen Toussaint, Lloyd Price, Irma Thomas, and Aaron Neville, contemporary New Orleans musicians Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty, as well as rock musicians Bonnie Raitt and Keith Richards, who describe the influence of New Orleans music on their careers.

Lee Dorsey

6 links

American pop and R&B singer during the 1960s.

American pop and R&B singer during the 1960s.

Much of his work was produced by Allen Toussaint, with instrumental backing provided by the Meters.

The Meters performing in 2011

The Meters

7 links

American funk band formed in 1965 in New Orleans by Zigaboo Modeliste , George Porter Jr. (bass), Leo Nocentelli (guitar) and Art Neville (keyboards).

American funk band formed in 1965 in New Orleans by Zigaboo Modeliste , George Porter Jr. (bass), Leo Nocentelli (guitar) and Art Neville (keyboards).

The Meters performing in 2011

The band performed and recorded their own music from the late 1960s until 1977 and played an influential role as backing musicians for other artists, including Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint.

Thomas at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 2006

Irma Thomas

6 links

American singer from New Orleans.

American singer from New Orleans.

Thomas at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 2006
Thomas appearing with James Taylor and others in 2008

She then began recording on the Minit label, working with songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint on songs including "It's Raining" and "Ruler of My Heart", which was later reinterpreted by Otis Redding as "Pain in My Heart".

Porter Jr. performing in 2004

George Porter Jr.

8 links

American musician, best known as the bassist and singer of The Meters.

American musician, best known as the bassist and singer of The Meters.

Porter Jr. performing in 2004
Porter performs at Bimbo's 365 Club, San Francisco, May 2011

After a short time, however, the band was trimmed down to four core members - Art Neville, Zigaboo Modeliste, Leo Nocentelli and Porter Jr. The four were playing six nights a week at a Bourbon Street bar called Ivanhoe when they were approached by Allen Toussaint and asked if they wanted to sign a record deal.

Professor Longhair at 1975 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Professor Longhair

4 links

American singer and pianist who performed New Orleans blues.

American singer and pianist who performed New Orleans blues.

Professor Longhair at 1975 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Former home of Professor Longhair, in 2015
Piano excerpt from the rumba boogie "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (1949) by Professor Longhair. 2-3 clave is written above for rhythmic reference.

Music journalist Tony Russell (in his book The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray) wrote that "The vivacious rhumba-rhythmed piano blues and choked singing typical of Fess were too weird to sell millions of records; he had to be content with siring musical offspring who were simple enough to manage that, like Fats Domino or Huey "Piano" Smith. But he is also acknowledged as a father figure by subtler players like Allen Toussaint and Dr. John."

Original vinyl release

Working in the Coal Mine

3 links

Original vinyl release

"Working in the Coal Mine" is a song with music and lyrics by the American musician and record producer Allen Toussaint.

Side A of the US single

Lady Marmalade

3 links

Song written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, originally for Nolan's disco group.

Song written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, originally for Nolan's disco group.

Side A of the US single
Labelle in 1975

Crewe showed the song to Allen Toussaint in New Orleans, and Toussaint then decided to record the song with Labelle.

Fortune Teller (song)

2 links

"Fortune Teller" is a song written by Allen Toussaint under the pseudonym Naomi Neville and first recorded by Benny Spellman.