Allen Toussaint


Allen Toussaint (January 14, 1938 – November 10, 2015) was an American musician, songwriter/composer, record producer, and influential figure in New Orleans R&B. Many of Toussaint's songs became familiar through versions by other musicians, including "Working in the Coal Mine", "Ride Your Pony", "Fortune Teller", "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)", "Southern Nights", "Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky", "I'll Take a Melody", "Get Out of My Life, Woman" and "Mother-in-Law". Toussaint (/ˈtuːsɑːnt/) grew up in a shotgun house in the New Orleans neighborhood of Gert Town, where his mother, Naomi Neville (whose name he later adopted pseudonymously for some of his works), welcomed and fed all manner of musicians as they practiced and recorded with her son. After a lucky break at age 17 in which he stood in for Huey Smith at a performance with Earl King's band in Prichard, Alabama, Toussaint was introduced to a group of local musicians who performed regularly at a night club on LaSalle street Uptown; they were known as the Dew Drop Set. He initially recorded for RCA Victor as Al Tousan and recorded an album of instrumentals, including the song "Java", which became a #1 hit for Al Hirt (also on RCA) in 1964. In the 1960s and 1970s, Toussaint was a prolific writer, producer and arranger, creating numerous hits for a variety of artists including Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, The Showmen, The Meters, Betty Wright, Solomon Burke and Willie West. He produced material for Dr John...

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