Skip to main content

Allen Toussaint Remembered

We lost another musical giant yesterday.

Allen Toussaint (that's "too-sant" for the Non Orleanians) died in Madrid from a heart attack after a concert. He was only 77 years old.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Toussaint was one of the best known performers, writers and personalities in the city. He worked for my Uncle Smitty at Minit Records in the 60s. That's when I knew him. I was just 10 then and used to hang out at his house and play on his upright piano. He lived down the street from us in an old shotgun house. Every day, people were there playing, singing on the porch and telling jokes. Irma Thomas, Benny Spellman, Ernie K-Doe, Lee Dorsey ... I was in awe. I had NO IDEA that I was in the middle of greatness all around me and not one of them ever made me feel like the stupid kid that I was. They were all encouraging as I plunked away on the piano.

Just in case you never heard of him, here's a partial list of what he wrote:

"Working in the Coal Mine" for Lee Dorsey
"Right Place. Right Time" for Dr. John
"Mother In- Law" for Ernie K-Doe
"Ruler of My Heart" and "It's Raining"  for Irma Thomas
"Fortune Teller" for Benny Spellman
"Southern Nights" for Glenn Campbell            

He also wrote for and produced with Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Bonnie Raitt among hundreds of others. Every year he played at the Jazz and Heritage Festival until Katrina destroyed his house and most of his manuscripts. He moved to New York for a while and then came back home a few years ago.

He was in the Right Place ... at the Right Time ... for yours truly.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SAMMY: The Novel (An Overview)

I finished writing Sammy:The Novel. 

So ... I called my good buddy and excellent writer, Dave Scheiber, to help me write an overview to pique the interest of publishers. The stuff that Dave wrote made me want to read my own book! We combined our efforts and here's what we came up with:

SAMMY (An Overview)

Sammy Levine, 86-year-old resident of Star of David nursing home, was not happy with his daily existence and dreamed of taking one last trip with his wife Esther (presently residing in an urn on the third shelf in his room). Sammy was careful about not exposing his plan to anyone, especially his son, Barry, who dutifully visited regularly and tried to make sure that he lived out his remaining days comfortably.

Through a carefully choreographed plan, Sammy managed to access personal information on three recently deceased residents from the nursing home’s computers. Then he applied for and obtained three new credit cards. Armed now with available cash and credit, he loaded up Esth…

Close Call

I was just putting the finishing touches on my new novel, Sammy, which will be available to order in November (shameless self promotion!) ... when I started thinking about some of the characters in my past life. One character I've actually written about in the past just popped into my head. It's a repeat story but I hope you enjoy it ... again.

When I was a Freshman at LSU, our dorm was set up like a suite with two adjoining double rooms and a common kitchen and living room. "Suite" really makes it sound much fancier than it was. Actually, living room makes it sound much fancier than it was. The walls were cinder block and the living room was about 100 square feet. I don't think four of us could even stand up in there at one time.

One of the four guys in our suite was the place kicker for the LSU Tigers. His name was Phil and he was from Bogalusa, Louisiana. He had the bed next to mine. Phil was about 6'8" and weighed well over 300 pounds. He was a big …

Princess Grace's Diary

We surprised our little princess, Grace on Friday with a last minute visit to Savannah. She and her BFF Stella had a joint princess birthday party.

It was of course no surprise to Deb and me that the trip had a few surprises for us, too.

It started out with a light show at the airport (we chose to fly rather than drive the 12 hours back and forth for one day). Lightning strikes were coming fast ... so the tarmac was closed until it settled down. We had to get to Atlanta in time to catch what had become the LAST flight of the night to Savannah at 11:20 PM.

We made it ... barely ... and fell asleep at 2 AM.

Up at 8 and out the door via Uber to The Landings (a mere 45 minute drive) and just in time to see this adorable duo.

Big brother Cole was  one of the "hosts".

Pony rides were there for the guests.

Matching Princess cakes (of course).

Lots of fun.

At about 2, Deb and I headed back to the airport with Nikki driving and made it in PLENTY of time to find out that there were n…