In 1960 Allen (allentoussaint.com) joined Minit records as a producer. His first release was Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doo.” Today, 55 years later, this New Orleans R&B classic featuring Allen along with Jessie, Lee Allen, Earl Palmer, and Alvin “Red” Tyler resides at #1 on my all time Juke Box Top 100 list. Thanks Allen!
Check out some of these great resources for more on the legendary Allen Toussaint.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame writes:
As a producer, bandleader, arranger, songwriter, session musician and all-around musical eminence, Allen Toussaint impacted the New Orleans music scene of the Sixties in much the same way that Dave Bartholomew had in the Fifties. Toussaint, in fact, apprenticed under Bartholomew at sessions for such legends as Fats Domino, so it was a seamless transition when the R&B baton passed between generations in New Orleans. Born and raised in the Crescent City, Toussaint left his stamp on the city’s contemporary R&B scene. His greatest contribution was in not allowing the city’s old-school R&B traditions to die out but by keeping pace with developments in the rapidly evolving worlds of soul and funk. In addition, he brought the New Orleans sound to the national stage, and it remains a vital and ongoing part of our musical heritage to this day.
For more on Toussaint’s early life read his biography in the encyclopedia of Louisiana.
You can find Toussaint’s own reflections on his career in this 2013 interview with the Chicago Tribune. Toussaint explained his trepidation at playing live:
“When I first started doing Joe’s Pub, every moment was reluctant,” he says. “It was tough for me. My comfort zone was the studio — I had that scene down, getting that environment and spirit right. But for them to announce you and it’s just you, and the people are right there, it’s a whole different world for me. The first few times, I didn’t know if I was giving people what they deserve. I actually missed the arranged and produced versions of my songs, and seeing the backing voices working together. But I’m glad I had another chance to do it, and another. And I began to enjoy it. I’m glad to say it’s getting better and I even have a good time sometimes.”