ALLEN TOUSSAINT passed away this week. I’m sure the first time I was aware of him was when I heard his great piano playing on ELVIS COSTELLO‘s “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror”. Thanks to Elvis, I discovered the great ALLEN TOUSSAINT. There is so much great music to be discovered by looking to our favorites and seeing where the chain reaction leads. With TOUSSAINT, I began to notice him on so many records. I quickly learned how much great music he had his hand in, either as a producer or as a songwriter. This path of discovery has been repeated so many times for me, but TOUSSAINT’s was less a path and more like the Pacific Crest Trail – epic! The trail led all over the place. His work as a producer can take the listeners in all different directions. His songs were covered by so many people and provided hits to many of them. His collaborations often blended genres. His signature arrangements, sought out by other legends, enhanced so many recordings. Finally, there is his wonderful piano playing. Listen to TOUSSAINT’s “Tipitina and Me” and try not to go dig up some PROFESSOR LONGHAIR. TOUSSAINT leads you to so many places.
After Hurricane Katrina destroyed TOUSSAINT’s beloved New Orleans, TOUSSAINT was quoted as saying “I know that for anything this bad to happen, there has to be something just as good coming along to balance it out.” That’s a remarkably positive attitude to have in the wake of that tragedy but it makes sense when you hear some of TOUSSIANT’s lyrics. Songs like “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further” or “Yes We Can Can” both speak the truth and inspire hope. His legacy is wide reaching and his talents inspired so many but I will always return to where the trail started – his piano and his songs.
This is a great version of my favorite TOUSSAINT song, this is what I’m talking about.
Another great one.
I can’t stop – one more…