Allen Toussaint: Soul Sister
Love, Life and Faith (Reprise, 1972)
Allen Toussaint: Southern Nights
Southern Nights (Warner, 1975)
Both available on The Allen Toussaint Collection
The last few weeks have left me spiritually, mentally and physically exhausted so I’ve been slower on the posts. I wanted to do a NOLA-related post today but honestly, I’m not going to do this the kind of justice it deserves. I refer people, as always, to the excellent NOLA-inspired blog Home of the Groove, which has been doing an amazing job of staying on despite how difficult it must be for Dan Phillips to trudge on as his city has gone under (literally and metaphorically).
That said though, I felt like it’s only right to direct some attention at the musical legacy of NOLA – not as an elegy, but just as a reminder of how rich this city’s history has been. With that, I start with Allen Toussaint, arguably the city’s most renown arranger, producer, etc.
Though Toussaint is usually better known by his compositions as done by others, I wanted to go with two songs that he actually performs himself. The first is “Soul Sister,” originally from 1972, which resounds with this feel-good, folk, rock, soul mix, all underlined by a strong, funky rhythm section. Awesome song.
Meanwhile, “Southern Nights” was made far more famous when Glen Campell recorded it but this original is a revelation – it’s eerie and dreamy, very far from Campbell’s rousing Dixie-rock version even though that familiar chord progression is distinctive on both.
By the way, Toussaint had gone missing a few days but was found at the Superdome and is now, presumably, relocated elsewhere.
As for the Meters’ “Message From the Meters,” this formerly 7″ only track has gone on to become a cult favorite, covered by both Funk Inc., and Leon Spencer, sampled by various rap artists and it’s just one helluva monster groove, with some vocal upliftment. Feel this – we got to get together.