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Songbook (Deluxe Edition)

Allen Toussaint

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Album Review

Allen Toussaint experienced a late-career revival sparked, ironically enough, by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He had to leave his hometown New Orleans after the hurricane, relocating to New York City where he started to play regular gigs at Joe's Pub and, soon enough, he cut The River in Reverse with Elvis Costello. That 2006 album propelled Toussaint toward a greater audience, leading to more headlining concerts, two of which are chronicled on Rounder's 2013 release Songbook. Recorded in 2009 at Joe's Pub, Songbook features nothing more than Toussaint alone at a piano running through songs he's written over the decades. He sprinkles in a New Orleans standard here and there — there's an excellent rendition of "St. James Infirmary" — but the spotlight is on his peerless originals, songs that are standards in their own right: "Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)," "Holy Cow," "Get Out of My Life, Woman," "Yes We Can," a medley of "A Certain Girl/Mother-in-Law/Fortune Teller," "Southern Nights." Toussaint's voice sounds smooth and silky — he in no way seems as if he's in his seventies — and his piano is similarly nimble as it glides from signature New Orleans stride and boogie to sophisticated, elegiac chords. Perhaps this album packs no revelations — there are no rearrangements, nothing unexpected in the songs — but as an elegant summation of strengths, this Songbook is mighty attractive. [The Deluxe Edition included a second disc and a total of 50 tracks.]

Customer Reviews

Wow!

This album is not only fantastic, I'd say it's pretty close to essential for a well-rounded music collection. It's well worth it at almost any price, but the iTunes price is very reasonable, especially considering how much music is on here! Don't pass it up.

A-Mazing

Awesome. I loved it!

Biography

Born: January 14, 1938 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Producer, songwriter, arranger, session pianist, solo artist — Allen Toussaint has worn all these hats over the course of his lengthy and prolific career, and his behind-the-scenes work alone would have been enough to make him a legend of New Orleans R&B. Thanks to his work with numerous other artists, Toussaint bore an enormous amount of responsibility for the sound of R&B in the Crescent City from the '60s on into the '70s. His productions kept with the times, moving from rollicking,...
Full Bio
Songbook (Deluxe Edition), Allen Toussaint
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