Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Allen Toussaint Songbook Rounder Records 2013

Music that embraces your heart and makes your soul want to dance...
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com

Rounder Records is America's premier independent label and with the Allen Toussaint release Songbook there can be no argument. Some review write themselves, other reviews are some pointless attempts at critical evaluation of genius that should simply go unchallenged, such is Allen Toussaint.

On Sept. 24th the world will be treated to a release that fully captures the spirit of the man and the essence of his music that has captivated audiences for just about as long as I have inhabited this planet. The Toussaint discography is unmatched in banging out consistent hits across pop, R&B, country, and even dance charts. From the shiny silver disc to the small screen via television themes and jingles you have come to know and love Allen Toussaint is indeed the consummate musician and certainly worthy of the title living legend. His influence among his contemporaries is a historic roll call of who's who in popular music both in the United States and across the globe.

The deluxe version offers a twenty five track compact disc along with a 90-minute DVD that captures the second of two live shows filmed at Joe's Pub in September of 2009. Perhaps the most important piece in this documentary of sorts is the interview with Allen Toussaint where he shares his own unique perspective on his life in music. Humble, modest but with an unbridled joy of creativity the life force that springs forth from the compact disc will unearth old memories and recreate the joy of new making new memories, that is a beautiful thing and what the true essence of music should be no matter the genre.

The ironic back story here is that it was the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina that forced Toussaint to relocate to New York where he began using Joe's Pub as sort of a home base. With his career rejuvenated and the New Orleans spirit perhaps a little battered but never broken he returned to his beloved New Orleans where he sums things up nicely:
"I apologize to anyone who can truly say that he has found a better way."

Allen Toussaint may bristle or shun the label "American Icon" but...it is what it is.
None better.

Tracks: It's Raining; Lipstick Traces; Brickyard Blues; With You In Mind; Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?; Sweet Touch of Love; Holy Cow; Get Out My Life Woman; Freedom for the Stallion; St. James Infirmary; Shrimp Po Boy (Dressed); Soul Sister; All These Things; We Are America / Yes We Can; Optimism Blues; Old Records Certain Girl Medley; New Orleans Thing; Crawfish, Everyday; No Place Like New York; Southern Nights.