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Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint (born January 14, 1938) is an American musician, songwriter and record producer and one of the most influential figures in New Orleans R&B. Many of Toussaint's songs have become familiar through their numerous cover versions, including "Working in the Coalmine", "Ride Your Pony", "Brickyard Blues", "Get Out My Life Woman", and "Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky".

In the early 1960s he wrote and produced a string of hits for New Orleans R&B artists such as Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Art and Aaron Neville, The Showmen, and Lee Dorsey. Some of his songs from this period were published under the pseudonym Naomi Neville ("Ruler of My Heart", recorded by Irma Thomas, is one example; the song would go on to be recorded by Otis Redding under the title "Pain in My Heart".)

In the 1970s he switched gears to a funkier sound, writing and producing for The Meters, Dr John, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians tribe. He also began to work with non-New Orleans artists such as Robert Palmer, Elkie Brooks, Solomon Burke, and Scottish Soul singer, Frankie Miller. He arranged horn music for The Band's 1971 album Cahoots, and arranged horn parts for their concert repertoire.

Toussaint also launched his own solo career, which peaked in the '70s with the albums From a Whisper to a Scream and Southern Nights. It was during this time that he teamed with Labelle, and produced their highly acclaimed "Nightbirds" album from 1975, that spawned the Number One Hit, "Lady Marmalade" Two years later, Glen Campbell covered Toussaint's "Southern Nights" and carried the song to Number One on the Pop, Country and Adult- Contemporary Charts. Along with many of his contemporaries, Toussaint found that interest in his compositions was rekindled when his work began to be sampled by hip hop artists in the 1980s and 1990s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Toussaint grew up in a shotgun house in the New Orleans neighborhood of Gert Town, where his mother welcomed and fed all manner of musicians as they practiced and recorded with Allen. His friends often performed at a night club called "The Dew Drop", located on LaSalle street Uptown. This group of local musicians were known as the "Dew Drop Set".[1]

In his early years Toussaint worked mainly for Joe Banashak's "Minit" label, but after that label was sold to its distributor, he teamed up with Marshall Sehorn, starting their own record label variously known as Tou-Sea, Deesu or Kansu. In 1973 Toussaint and Sehorn created the Sea- Saint recording studio in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans.[2]

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Album Discography



Earl King
guitar, electric
Irma Thomas
voice / vocals
Lee Dorsey
voice / vocals
Aaron Neville
voice / vocals
Smiley Lewis
voice / vocals
The Meters
band / orchestra
Elvis Costello
voice / vocals

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