Allen Toussaint

Born 14 January 1938, Allen Toussaint is probably the single most important figure in the emergence of New Orleans R&B in the late fifties and early sixties, through his efforts as the writer of tracks including Working in the Coalmine, Ride Your Pony, Fortune Teller, Get Out of My Life, Woman, and Mother-in-Law and his role as a producer for artists including Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Art and Aaron Neville and Lee Dorsey

He’d recorded for RCA Victor as Al Tousan, and worked for Joe Banashak's Minit Records and Instant Records before teaming up with Marshall Sehorn as a collaborator on the Tou-Sea, Sansu, Deesu or Kansu record labels and the Sea-Saint recording studio in New Orleans. Some of his songs from the early sixties were credited to Naomi Neville (his mother's maiden name) due to obligation under an earlier songwriting contract, including Ruler of My Heart (Irma Thomas, reworked as Pain in My Heart by Otis Redding), A Certain Girl (Ernie K-Doe, The Yardbirds, Warren Zevon), Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette) (Benny Spellman) and Fortune Teller (covered by, among others,  The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Hollies)

The seventies saw productions for The Meters, Dr John, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians tribe, Robert Palmer, Willy DeVille, Sandy Denny, Solomon Burke and Frankie Miller, horn arrangements for The Band's Cahoots, Rock of Ages and The Last Waltz, a solo career including the albums From a Whisper to a Scream and Southern Nights and writing credits including What Do You Want the Girl to Do? (on, among others, Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees), Labelle (Lady Marmalade) and Glen Campbell (Southern Nights).

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011, Toussaint’s highest profile post Katrina collaboration was The River in Reverse, a collaboration with Elvis Costello, recorded in Hollywood and New Orleans (the first major studio session to take place after Hurricane Katrina, as featured in an early episode of Treme).

Partial Discography...

© Ian Hughes 2012