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Allen Toussaint at 2015 Waterfront Blues Festival / Photo by Anthony Pidgeon.
Allen Toussaint at 2015 Waterfront Blues Festival / Photo by Anthony Pidgeon.

Allen Toussaint: Familiar songs and brand new tunes at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival

By TOM D'ANTONI // Restored to the new OMN site on what would have been is birthday in 2017. This is from 2015

New Orleans music fans, in fact, music fans in general got real excited when they found out that Allen Toussaint was coming to play at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival this year. He is the man responsible for so many million-sellers, producer and writer of nearly every hit that came out of New Orleans after the Dave Bartholomew/Cosimo Matassa era, particularly in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

He wrote, mostly for others, not really having a hit on his own, although some of his versions of songs made popular by others are vastly superior. “Southern Nights” is a good example. A dreamy tune of great beauty, it was turned into a thin top 40 hit by Glen Campbell, although it earned Toussaint a lot of money. On the other hand, the Pointer Sisters did a perfect, classic interpretation of "Yes We Can."

His collaborations are legendary. Ernie K-Doe's "Mother In Law," the many hits of Lee Dorsey, iconic tunes like Jessie Hill's "Ooo Poo Pah Doo"...it would take the rest of the page to list them all.

He lost most of his things in the Katrina flood, forcing him to move temporarily to New York, but re-energizing his career, ironically. He moved back home and has continued to produce memorable music, including the totally unexpected album of Jazz, The Bright Mississippi.

He's a virtuoso, a master, a professor in the New Orleans music sense of the title; and he is a gracious gentleman.

He was in his office in New Orleans on a recent morning when we talked:

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