Allen Toussaint (; January 14, 1938 – November 10, 2015) was an 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”. Many musicians recorded Toussaint’s compositions, including “Whipped Cream”, “Java”, “Mother-in-Law”, “I Like It Like That”, “Fortune Teller”, “Ride Your Pony”, “Get Out of My Life, Woman”, “Working in the Coal Mine”, “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky”, “Freedom For the Stallion”, “Here Come the Girls”, “Yes We Can Can”, “Play Something Sweet”, and “Southern Nights”. He was a producer for hundreds of recordings, among the best known of which are “Right Place, Wrong Time”, by his longtime friend Dr. John, and “Lady Marmalade” by Labelle.
Allen Toussaint (; January 14, 1938 – November 10, 2015) was an American musician, songwriter, arranger and cassette producer, who was an influential figure in New Orleans rhythm and blues from the 1950s to the terminate of the century, described as “one of popular music’s good backroom figures”. Many musicians recorded Toussaint’s compositions, including “Whipped Cream”, “Java”, “Mother-in-Law”, “I Like It Like That”, “Fortune Teller”, “Ride Your Pony”, “Get Out of My Life, Woman”, “Working in the Coal Mine”, “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky”, “Freedom For the Stallion”, “Here Come the Girls”, “Yes We Can Can”, “Play Something Sweet”, and “Southern Nights”. He was a producer for hundreds of recordings, among the best known of which are “Right Place, Wrong Time”, by his longtime buddy Dr. John, and “Lady Marmalade” by Labelle.
The youngest of three children, Toussaint was born in 1938 in New Orleans and grew in the works in a shotgun home in the Gert Town neighborhood, where his mother, Naomi Neville (whose make known he higher adopted pseudonymously for some of his works), welcomed and fed anything manner of musicians as they adroit and recorded gone her son. His father, Clarence, worked on the railway and played trumpet. Allen Toussaint scholarly piano as a child and took informal music lessons from an elderly neighbor, Ernest Pinn. In his teenage years he played in a band, the Flamingos, with the guitarist Snooks Eaglin, before dropping out of school. A significant before influence on Toussaint was the syncopated “second-line” piano style of Professor Longhair.
After a lucky break at age 17, in which he stood in for Huey “Piano” Smith at a put on an act with Earl King’s band in Prichard, Alabama, Toussaint was introduced to a society of local musicians led by Dave Bartholomew, who performed regularly at the Dew Drop Inn, a nightclub on Lasalle Street in Uptown New Orleans. His first recording was in 1957 as a performing arts for Fats Domino upon Domino’s record “I Want You to Know”, on which Toussaint played piano and Domino overdubbed his vocals. His first deed as a producer came in 1957 taking into consideration Lee Allen’s “Walking when Mr. Lee”. He began performing arts regularly in Bartholomew’s band, and he recorded in the same way as Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Lee Allen and additional leading New Orleans performers.
After living thing spotted as a sideman by the A&R man Danny Kessler, he initially recorded for RCA Records as Al Tousan. In to the lead 1958 he recorded an album of instrumentals, The Wild Sound of New Orleans, with a band including Alvin “Red” Tyler (baritone sax), either Nat Perrilliat or Lee Allen (tenor sax), either Justin Adams or Roy Montrell (guitar), Frank Fields (bass), and Charles “Hungry” Williams (drums). The recordings included Toussaint and Tyler’s composition “Java”, which first charted for Floyd Cramer in 1962 and became a number 4 pop hit for Al Hirt (also upon RCA) in 1964. Toussaint recorded and co-wrote songs in the same way as Allen Orange in the prematurely 1960s.
In 1960, Joe Banashak, of Minit Records and later Instant Records, hired Toussaint as an A&R man and record producer. He did freelance proceed for supplementary labels, such as Fury. Toussaint played piano, wrote, arranged and produced a string of hits in the before and mid-1960s for New Orleans R&B artists such as Ernie K-Doe, Chris Kenner, Irma Thomas (including “It’s Raining”), Art and Aaron Neville, The Showmen, and Lee Dorsey, whose first hit “Ya Ya” he produced in 1961.
The into the future to mid-1960s are regarded as Toussaint’s most creatively well-to-do period. Notable examples of his be in are Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” (written by Hill and decided and produced by Toussaint), Ernie K-Doe’s “Mother-in-Law”, and Chris Kenner’s “I Like It Like That”. A two-sided 1962 hit by Benny Spellman comprised “Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette)” (covered by The O’Jays, Ringo Starr, and Alex Chilton) and the simple but effective “Fortune Teller” (covered by various 1960s stone groups, including The Rolling Stones, The Nashville Teens, The Who, The Hollies, The Throb, and ex-The Searchers founder Tony Jackson). “Ruler of My Heart”, written under his assumed name Naomi Neville, first recorded by Irma Thomas for the Minit label in 1963, was adapted by Otis Redding below the title “Pain in My Heart” later that year, prompting Toussaint to file a lawsuit next to Redding and his autograph album company, Stax (the claim was granted out of court, with Stax agreeing to financial credit Naomi Neville as the songwriter). Redding’s version of the make public was with recorded by The Rolling Stones on their second album. In 1964, “A Certain Girl” (originally by Ernie K-Doe) was the B-side of the first single forgiveness by The Yardbirds. The aerate was released again in 1980 by Warren Zevon, as the single from the album Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School it reached 57 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Mary Weiss, former pro singer of The Shangri-Las, released it as “A Certain Guy” in 2007. Linda Ronstadt released a jazzy credit of “Ruler of my Heart” in 1998 on We Ran.
Toussaint attributed about twenty songs to his parents, Clarence and Naomi, sometimes using the pseudonym “Naomi Neville”. These include “Fortune Teller”, first recorded by Benny Spellman in 1961, “Pain In My Heart,” first a hit for Otis Redding in 1963, and “Work, Work, Work”, recorded by The Artwoods in 1966. Alison Krauss and Robert Plant covered “Fortune Teller” on their 2007 album Raising Sand.
Toussaint was drafted into the United States Army in 1963 but continued to book when on leave. After his exoneration in 1965, he united forces subsequent to Marshall Sehorn to form Sansu Enterprises, which included a wedding album label, Sansu, variously known as Tou-Sea, Deesu, or Kansu, and recorded Lee Dorsey, Chris Kenner, Betty Harris, and others. Dorsey had hits subsequently several of Toussaint’s songs, including “Ride Your Pony” (1965), “Working in the Coal Mine” (1966), and “Holy Cow” (1966). The core players of the rhythm section used upon many of the Sansu recordings from the mid- to late 1960s, Art Neville and the Sounds, consisted of Art Neville on keyboards, Leo Nocentelli on guitar, George Porter Jr on bass, and Zigaboo Modeliste on drums. They cutting edge became known as The Meters. Their backing can be heard in songs such as Dorsey’s “Ride Your Pony” and “Working in the Coal Mine”, sometimes bigger by horns, which were usually approved by Toussaint. The Toussaint-produced history of these years backed by the members of the Meters, with their increasing use of syncopation and electric instrumentation, built upon the influences of Professor Longhair and others in the past them, but updated these strands, effectively paving the pretentiousness for the progress of a unbiased New Orleans funk sound.
Toussaint continued to develop The Meters taking into account they began releasing records under their own reveal in 1969. As part of a process begun at Sansu and reaching fruition in the 1970s, he developed a funkier sound, writing and producing for a host of artists, such as Dr. John (backed by the Meters, on the 1973 album In the Right Place, which contained the hit “Right Place, Wrong Time”) and an album by The Wild Tchoupitoulas, a New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians tribe led by “Big Chief Jolly” (George Landry) (backed by the Meters and several of his nephews, including Art and Cyril Neville of the Meters and their brothers Charles and Aaron, who far ahead performed and recorded as The Neville Brothers).
In the 1970s, Toussaint began to statute with artists from over New Orleans artists, such as B. J. Thomas, Robert Palmer, Willy DeVille, Sandy Denny, Elkie Brooks, Solomon Burke, Scottish soul singer Frankie Miller (High Life), and southern rocker Mylon LeFevre. He settled horn music for The Band’s albums Cahoots (1971) and Rock of Ages (1972), as with ease as for the documentary film The Last Waltz (1978). Boz Scaggs recorded Toussaint’s “What Do You Want the Girl to Do?” on his 1976 album Silk Degrees, which reached number 2 upon the U.S. pop albums chart. The appearance was with recorded by Bonnie Raitt for her 1975 album Home Plate and by Geoff Muldaur (1976), Lowell George (1979), Vince Gill (1993), and Elvis Costello (2005). In 1976 he collaborated in imitation of John Mayall on the album Notice to Appear.
In 1973 Toussaint and Sehorn created the Sea-Saint recording studio in the Gentilly section of eastern New Orleans. Toussaint began recording under his own name, contributing vocals as competently as piano. His solo career peaked in the mid-1970s subsequently the albums From a Whisper to a Scream and Southern Nights. During this times he teamed subsequently Labelle and produced their venerated 1975 album Nightbirds, which contained the number one hit “Lady Marmalade”. The similar year, Toussaint collaborated taking into consideration Paul McCartney and Wings for their hit album Venus and Mars and played on the song “Rock Show”. In 1973, his “Yes We Can Can” was covered by The Pointer Sisters for their self-titled debut album; released as a single, it became both a pop and R&B hit and served as the group’s initiation to popular culture. Two years later, Glen Campbell covered Toussaint’s “Southern Nights” and carried the song to number one on the pop, country and adult contemporary charts.
In 1987, he was the musical director of an off-Broadway show, Staggerlee, which ran for 150 performances. Like many of his contemporaries, Toussaint found that concentration in his compositions was rekindled afterward his feign began to be sampled by hip hop artists in the 1980s and 1990s.
Most of Toussaint’s possessions, including his house and recording studio, Sea-Saint Studios, were lost during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He initially sought shelter at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel upon Canal Street. Following the hurricane, whose aftermath left most of the city flooded, he left New Orleans for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and for several years approved in New York City. His first television song after the hurricane was on the September 7, 2005, episode of the Late Show past David Letterman, sitting in in the heavens of Paul Shaffer and his CBS Orchestra. Toussaint performed regularly at Joe’s Pub in New York City through 2009. He eventually returned to New Orleans and lived there for the dismount of his life.
The River in Reverse, Toussaint’s collaborative album with Elvis Costello, was released on May 29, 2006, in the UK on Verve Records by Universal Classics and Jazz UCJ. It was recorded in Hollywood and at the Piety Street Studio in the Bywater section Toussaint’s indigenous New Orleans, as the first major studio session to take place after Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, Toussaint performed a duet next Paul McCartney of a heavens by New Orleans musician and resident Fats Domino, “I Want to Walk You Home”, as their contribution to Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard Records).
In 2008, Toussaint’s song “Sweet Touch of Love” was used in a deodorant personal ad for the Axe (Lynx) brand. The public notice won a Gold Lion at the 2008 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. In February 2008, Toussaint appeared on Le Show, the Harry Shearer operate broadcast upon KCRW. He appeared in London in August 2008, where he performed at the Roundhouse. In October 2008 he performed at Festival New Orleans at The O2 alongside acts such as Dr. John and Buckwheat Zydeco. Sponsored by Quint Davis of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Philip Anschutz, the business was meant to spread around New Orleans music and culture and to revive the gone lucrative tourist trade that had been with reference to completely lost following the flooding that came as soon as Hurricane Katrina. After his second play-act at the festival, Toussaint appeared contiguously Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu.
Toussaint performed instrumentals from his album The gleaming Mississippi and many of his older songs for a taping of the PBS series Austin City Limits, which aired upon January 9, 2015. In December 2009, he was featured on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle program on the Sundance Channel, singing “A Certain Girl”. Toussaint appeared on Eric Clapton’s 2010 album, Clapton, in two Fats Waller covers, “My Very fine Friend the Milkman” and “When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful”.
His late-blooming career as a artiste began afterward he all the rage an pay for to comport yourself a regular Sunday brunch session at an East Village pub. Interviewed in 2014 by The Guardian′s Richard Williams, Toussaint said, “I never thought of myself as a performer…. My comfort zone is in back the scenes.” In 2013 he collaborated upon a ballet like the choreographer Twyla Tharp. Toussaint was a musical mentor to Swedish-born New Orleans songwriter and player Theresa Andersson.