Allen Toussiant is the man responsible for the "New Orleans Sounds" Creator of such hits as: Artists who have recorded Toussaint's songs: Allen has added to his gold record collection by producing/arranging: Some of the artists who have travelled to New Orleans and recorded at Allen's studio include: NewOrleansTalent.com at Tedschmidt@aol.com or 1-800-972-1108
WORKING IN THE COAL MINE
RULER OF MY HEART
RIDE YOUR PONY
I LIKE IT LIKE THAT
SNEAKIN' SALLY THRU THE ALLEY
YES WE CAN, CAN
ALL THESE THINGS
THE POINTER SISTERS
THE ROLLING STONES
GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS
THREE DOG NIGHT
SAM & DAVE
DR. JOHN-RIGHT PLACE WRONG TIME PAUL SIMON- KODACHROME
PATTI LABELLE-LADY MARMALADE
PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS
ALLEN TOUSSAINT, perhaps more than any other contemporary musical personality, embodies the spirit and soul of New Orleans music. Through the countless
songs written and records he produced when he was barely in his 20s, he became one of the primary creators of the legendary New Orleans rhythm and blues sounds. He has consistently defied classification playing every role from composer to performer to
producer--in every style from classical to funk.
Born in the heart of the Crescent City on January 14, 1938, Toussaint began playing music at an age which precedes his memory. He played professionally in clubs and studio sessions while still in his teens. Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino's long-time partner, was so impressed by Toussaint's versatility that he called upon the young pianist to lay some tracks for the touring "Fat Man." The session was a success, and Allen Toussaint was on record.
Toussaint's first solo album followed soon after he was hired to accompany sessions for independent talent scout Danny Kessler, holding auditions in New Orleans. After three days of backup playing, Kessler was so impressed with Toussaint, he signed him on, and Wild Sounds of New Orleans by Al Tousan was released on RCA in 1958. He went on the road briefly with Shirley & Lee; but perhaps his most vivid memory of that period is that he always had a pen in his hand, continually refining his songwriting and arranging skills.
That pen has turned out a vast number of hits which filled the airwaves for more than a generation. The Toussaint catalog numbers over six hundred songs--some written under his mother's maiden name, Naomi Neville. It includes such rock and soul classics as Working in the Coal Mine, Lipstick Traces, Ruler of my Heart (Pain in My Heart), Ride Your Pony, I Like It Like That, Mother-In-Law, Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley, Fortune Teller, Freedom for the Stallion, and summing up the Toussaint musical philosophy, Everything I Do Gunna Be Funky and Yes We Can, Can.
As far as recent popular music goes, Toussaint's songs were "crossing over" before the term was in usage. Broadcast Music, Inc. has recognized him on fourteen occasions with top honors, in the categories of pop, country, and rhythm & blues. Two of his earliest tunes quickly became instrumental standards: Java, which put fellow New Orleanian Al Hirt on the charts; and Whipped Cream, the Herb Alpert hit (also used as TV's Dating Game theme.) All These Things, written for long-time friend Art Neville in 1962, had several cover recordings. Joe Stampley's 1977 version made it a country hit.
On July 4, 1976, the editors of Billboard named Allen Toussaint "One of the top 200 Executives of Tomorrow." The following year, one of his compositions hit the top of the magazine's charts. It was Southern Nights, recorded by Glen Campbell. Recognized by BMI As "the most performed song of the year, it was nominated by both the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy Awards) and the Country Music Association for song of the year. In 1978, the Nashville Songwriters' Association International honored Toussaint's "creative genius in words and music," recognition not often accorded a legend of New Orleans rhythm and blues.
The variety of artists who have recorded Toussaint songs further attests to the ubiquitousness of his music: the Pointer Sisters, Boz Scaggs, the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Manhattan Transfer, Ringo Starr, Gladys Knight & the Pips, B.J. Thomas, Esther Phillips, the Band, Otis Redding, Little Feat, Three Dog Night, Maria Muldaur, José Feliciano, Jean Knight, Devo, Robert Palmer, Sam & Dave, Blue Swede of Stockholm, Johnny Winter, the Judds, Bruce Willis and countless others.
Toussaint came into his own as a producer around 1960 with New Orleans based Minit Record, working with artists like Ernie-K-Doe, Jessie Hill, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Benny Spellman, and the late Lee Dorsey. After a two year Army span, Toussaint returned to New Orleans and formed Sansu Enterprises with partner Marshall Sehorn. To help keep his hometown in the forefront of the music scene, he and Sehorn opened New Orleans' first 24-track recording facility in 1973. Sea-Saint Studio has recorded international artists ranging from Paul McCartney and Wings to New Edition, as well as a full roster of home-grown talent. There Toussaint has produced albums for Joe Cocker, Etta James, Mylon LeFevre, Frankie Miller, Ramsey Lewis, Eric Gale, John Mayall, and King Biscuit Boy, naming a few.
Toussaint added to his gold record collection by producing Right Place, Wrong Time for Dr. John; Nightbirds and Phoenix for the group LaBelle, and Patti LaBelle's first solo LP, Release. Some of his arranging credits include Paul Simon's Kodachrome, Peter Yarrow's solo LP, the Band's Rock of Ages, and Elvis Costello's Out of Our Idiot, as well as his own six solo albums. He has also had a hand in numerous radio and TV spots as composer, arranger, produces and/or performer.
Toussaint's credits extend into the theater as composer/lyricist for the play, We Love You, William and the movie score for Black Samson. He wrote the music and lyrics and performed in Vernel Bagneris' play, Staggerlee, which ended a successful off-Broadway run. The music won the prestigious Outer Critics Circle Award for best music in an Off- Broadway musical for 1986-1987! High Rollers Social and Pleasure Club, a Broadway musical revue, had an entertaining but short run at the Helen Hayes Theater in the spring of 1991. Toussaint's music earned another nomination for the Outer Critics Circle Award (granted before the show's official opening) and his co-star, Vivian Reed, a Tony nomination.
Traditionally, comfortable in his many behind-the-scenes roles, Toussaint as performer remained an on-stage rarity through much of his career. Although choosing to limit touring commitments, he has made successful appearances i n Europe, Japan, Switzerland, and many parts of the United States. His riverboat concert was a highlight of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and his outdoor show, which closed the 1986 fest, set an all-time attendance record! With a new-found enjoyment of the live audience, Toussaint is playing an increasing number of tour dates. While at home, he is also constantly involved in benefit performances, most recently writing, recording and performing for the Louisiana S.P.C.A., New Orleans Symphony, New Orleans Audubon Zoo, United Way, New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, the Cabildo, and innumerable other groups. He has become a toast of the city, receiving numerous honors from local organizations, as ell as receiving national recognition for his works, the most recent being the Louisiana Lifetime Achievement Award issued at the Governor's Mansion.
Although his music has touched many millions of people, and he is considered by music scholars to be one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, the biggest mystery and irony about Toussaint is that the general public has no idea that he is the one who composed this exceptional body of musical works. Allen Toussaint is still turning out hits that can be found on the recordings of a veritable "Who's Who" of internationally known performers such as Rita Coolidge, Aaron Neville and Etta James joined by Bruce Hornsby. Even the rap group Heavy D & the Boyz recorded one of his compositions. Many of his classics are still used on the big screen.
Allen Toussiant is the man
responsible for the
"New Orleans Sounds"
Creator of such hits as:
Artists who have recorded Toussaint's songs:
Allen has added to his gold record collection by producing/arranging:
Some of the artists who have travelled to New Orleans and recorded at Allen's studio include: