We’re always keen here on Gazfunk to bring you some tracks from lesser-known artists as there are plenty of other blogs (and radio shows) that regularly play the classics. However, sometimes you gotta return to those legendary artists as it would be quite unfair not to recognize their influence. Today’s selection certainly deserves his own post so is his importance in the soul/funk world.
Allen Toussaint was born in New Orleans in 1938 and his first break in the music business came at the age of 17 when he stood in for Huey “Piano” Smith during a performance with Earl King’s band. His first recorded works were under the name “Al Tousan” and it was a later pseudonym “Naomi Neville” (his mother’s maiden name) which was to see him record a string of hits for artists like Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, Lee Dorsey, Aaron Neville & others with songs like “Ruler Of My Heart”, “Working In A Coalmine”, “Get Out Of My Life Woman” and “Fortune Teller”
By the turn of the 60s, Toussaint’s writing took on a much funkier trip and it was he along with The Meters, Dr John & Eddie Bo who created the New Orleans Funk sound that became so loved by funk collectors the world over (and Soul Jazz’s “New Orleans Funk” compilation which, to this day still remains probably my favourite ever comp!)
The song that we bring you today was featured on his solo album “From A Whisper To A Scream” released in 1970. Some of you may well recognize this track as it appeared in a commercial a few years back for Lynx deodorant (or for our American cousins “Axe”) which was to win an advertising award. In recent times Toussaint released an album with Elvis Costello entitled “The River In Reverse” as well as appearing on Eric Clapton’s 2010 album “Clapton”. Toussaint has also appeared in David Simon’s fantastic “Treme” – a tale of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.