Friday

Allen Toussaint

The Complete Warner Recordings - 1972-1978

Collecting 1972's Life, Love and Faith, 1975's Southern Nights and 1978's Motion, as well as a bonus disc of a complete 1975 concert, The Complete Warner Recordings is the rare compilation that serves as both highlight reel and in-depth tutorial. To call Allen Toussaint "underrated" is both fitting and a slight understatement, as though his recorded output over the past 50 years has been incredible (for those who've been keeping track), he's best known as the writer of other people's hits. Glenn Campbell made "Southern Nights" his own in his 1977 album of the same name, Bonnie Raitt used "What is Success" as the centerpiece to her 1974 Streetlights LP and just about everyone has their own version of "Working in the Coal Mine." Looking back on his string of LPs for Warner/Reprise in the mid 70s though, it's amazing Toussaint didn't hit it big in his own right. The first of the bunch, Live, Love and Faith, overflows with hits, touches on tripped out funk and, though bordering on genre exercise, manages to hold together quite nicely, but his second LP for the label, Southern Nights, is the true masterpiece. Held together by the title track, sections of which weave in and out of the LP in ghostly apparitions, Southern Nights is a classic fusion of southern soul and tasteful psychedelia in the hands of a true master - impeccably arranged from end to end and fascinating through a set of headphones. Its follow up, Motion, doesn't quite move me as do its predecessors, but I'm sure it will eventually, so it's great to have on deck. Highlights of the live set include "Last Train" and "Southern Nights," but really, it's incredible all the way through to Toussaint's closing statements.

2 comments:

Miles said...

A very generous share, my friend. Thank you! I've caught Toussaint a few times in the last two years and he seems to be as energized as ever. A powerhouse and always a joy to hear. I believe him to be a true American treasure.

JR Heat Warp said...

Glad to share some Toussaint with a fellow fan. I'd love to catch him myself one of these days. Don't be a stranger.