Page 1 of 2

Allen Toussaint @ The Barbican

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:04 am
by garth cartwright
ALLEN TOUSSAINT@ THE BARBICAN 4 JUNE 2007

The man is back with no sign of “special guestsâ€

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:18 am
by Rob Hall
Garth's professional job has spared you my amateur musings on Allen Toussaint in Basingstoke on Saturday.

I can only add that I was very disappointed that, on Saturday, not only did he not do "Freedom For The Stallion", but he didn't do "Brickyard Blues" for us either.

And yes, that drummer with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a master, isn't he? His playing was the best thing about them for my money. By the way Garth, did the trumpet plkayer remember to do his flies up on Monday? Once I'd spotted that they were open on Saturday (we were pretty close to the stage) it was hard to concentrate on the music.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:13 pm
by NormanD
Well, I'll add my two pennorth from last night at The Barbican, but I can't top Rob's story re. the trumpet player.....

Allen Toussaint has a decent singing voice, but familiarity with the originals overshadowed his own versions. His faultless and natural piano playing rang through every tune, and his extended pieces were certainly the highlight - his memories of Professor Longhair from the post-Katrina tribute album stood out. He was, I reluctantly admit, playing Tipitina better than the Professor did on his London gig in the 70s (though the guy had had a stroke). AT's encore was a rather reluctant affair - a banged-out version of "Happy Birthday To You" to an audience member whose anniversary was the next day, and an advert for his forthcoming UK tour with Elvis Costello (he certainly likes him, even though he's not a Forum favourite). But AT's the maestro - he can do exactly what he likes, and encores have become too much of a stylised ritual anyway, and I'd support a universal ban on them.

I initially had my doubts about the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Snob that I am, the predominantly older age of the audience (even older than me, that is) suggested that many had come to hear an evening of non-threatening jazz. OK, we didn't get an evening of the avant garde, but they were a tight bunch of hard playing musicians who were in love with their instruments, and in greater love with their musical heritage and their city. They took time to get into their stride (or maybe it was me who had to relax into theirs), and then the groove just happened. Rob and Garh have both commented on how good the drummer was - not flashy, just whacking out those rhythms and time sigs you associate with New Orleans music - whether it's funk, jazz or R&B, it's unmistakeably from New Orleans.

Norman

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:20 pm
by Con Murphy
Glad you mentioned Costello, Norman. I'd forgotten how far back their relationship goes - all the way to EC's Spike album nearly 20 years ago, possibly further. He played piano on what might be Elv's last great song, Deep Dark Truthful Mirror. Sorry, Garth, I'll shut up about him now.

I had a bit of a Toussaint day on Sunday, digging out some old Neville Bros/Meters stuff and Charly comps. Anyone remember Sehorn's Soul Farm? Every other track a Toussaint-penned gem. It would be great to see that album re-released on CD.

normand wrote:I initially had my doubts about the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Snob that I am, the predominantly older age of the audience (even older than me, that is) suggested that many had come to hear an evening of non-threatening jazz.


You should have been at the Anvil, we had Waldorf and Statler behind us grumbling exactly those sentiments. Still, I guess it lent the evening a uniquely Basingstokian air...

Agree about the drummer, but I want to put a word in for the slide trombone player (I think? Or trumpet. Brass thingy, anyway) who looked like the cooler-than-coolest bank manager in creation. There's hope yet for those of us with side-partings.

allen toussaint's back

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:38 pm
by NickH
Those of us in the cheap stalls seats at the front had a good view of Allen Toussaint's back for the entire Barbican performance. I rather liked Allen's promise that next time he played at the venue he would ensure that he was wearing a Toussaint lookalike mask on the back of his head.

I was considering going home during the early part of The Preservation Jazz Band set, but the band seemed to improve immensely when Toussaint joined them on piano for a couple of tunes. The drummer and tuba player were also rather impressive on the intro to the lively Mardi Gras in New Orleans encore.

I also enjoyed the Frankie Miller anecdote & Allen's version of Brickyard Blues and have just placed an internet request for the Highlife LP (thanks for the tip, Norman).

Anyone familiar with the Allen Toussaint's intriguing 1977 collaboration with the Mighty Diamonds? The LP doesn't work particularly well as a reggae record, but it does include a not bad version of Sneaking Sally Through the Ally.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:13 pm
by Rob Hall
Maria Muldaur does a great cover of "Brickyard Blues" on her album "Waitress In A Doughnut Shop" - it's well worth getting hold of.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:38 pm
by NormanD
Why is "Brickyard Blues" sometimes sung as "Junkyard Blues"? No urgent need to know, just one of those mild questions you wouldn't mind an answer to. A.T. first collaborated with E.C. in 1983, he said last night, on a Yoko Ono cover "Walking On Thin Ice". I'll dig that one out again (yes, me too - I was big on him back in the day).

I'd forgotten about that Frankie Miller album until reminded last night from the stage. Hope it's worthwhile, Nick. "Shoo Rah Shoo Rah" is another great track on it. I sometimes wonder how singers from over here got together with big time US producers, as on this album. Elkie Brooks with Leiber & Stoller is another good example. Probably a combination of singers' good tastes and the record label being prepared to put up the money.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:57 pm
by Rob Hall
normand wrote:I'd forgotten about that Frankie Miller album until reminded last night from the stage. Hope it's worthwhile, Nick. "Shoo Rah Shoo Rah" is another great track on it. I sometimes wonder how singers from over here got together with big time US producers, as on this album. Elkie Brooks with Leiber & Stoller is another good example. Probably a combination of singers' good tastes and the record label being prepared to put up the money.


Add Robert Palmer's "Sneaking Sally Through The Alley" to the list, neatly connecting both Elkie Brooks and Allen Toussaint.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:25 pm
by garth cartwright
Good trombone. Very good banjo. Decent trumpet (no flashing as far as i could see). But the drummer . . . he could or worked with The Meters. Really. No flash but those Tony Allen-style polyrhythms . . . You could hear them when they did the walkabout wanting to break loose - the banjo player, a youngish black guy, started chanting "hey pokey way" for a minute and i thought they were going to push the envelope but no.

Anyone have any favourite NO brass bands? I was saying to Fanfare's management that they should do a sound clash with a NO brass band.

Highlife still sounds pretty good to me - tho i only got round to getting a copy last year after a friend tipped me that it was a much better collaboration than the Elvis one! Allen should write a book - his recall of Frankie Miller's eyes and sandy hair and bag full of Miller beer was the stuff of great detective novels: character character character.

He also has good recall of all he has done with Elvis C - i thought most pro musicians just looked at the cheque and couldn't recall the gig!

I had the Toussaint-produced Mighty Diamonds album on vinyl as a teen and inevitably got rid of it cos it wasn't "roots" enough - yes, the music snob you encounter now was just the same decades ago. Of course, today i would love to hear how the NO-JA collaboration sounds!

Norman: you saw Professor Longhair? Oh-My-God . . .

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:54 pm
by davidt
I was hoping he'd play "Life". I had a front row seat and would have shouted out for it, but discovered during the "oops" of working in a coal mine that I'd lost my voice completely.
Was it the amplication or what (?) but to my mind the Steinway went badly out of tune for the last ten minutes of his set, especially causing intonation problems in Southern Nights.
It seemed alright for the Preservation Hall Orchestra. Did you see anyone tune it at half time?

I was a sceptic before seeing the Preservation Hall having spent the 70s watching a few UK bands doing New Orleans. But I loved the piano player Rickie Monie. I thought he turned in a great blues performance on most tunes that I don't hear when I hear vintage New Orleans Jazz on records. Closer to Dr John than Jelly Roll Morton and Sweet Emma we saw in the pre-set film.

I sense this forum doesn't like Elvis! I was almost expecting a hattrick. Inspired by Honky Tonk gig lists I'd seen him as plain DP Costello way back and he walked on stage when I went to see Ricky Skaggs back in 85, but I was denied a hattrick of sightings last night :-(

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:06 pm
by davidt
While I think of it, the *yard Blues reminds me of a Donald Sutherland film in the 70s. Steelyard Blues. Was there any connection there?
I recall a bluesy soundtrack.

I have a nice CD called Bluesiana Hot Sauce with a lot of Alan on it including Brickyard Blues. Great version of you You Don't Know Me on there. It's a sort of successor to the Bluesiana Triangle albums Dr John recorded.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:27 am
by Con Murphy
garth cartwright wrote:Anyone have any favourite NO brass bands?


I'm probably outing myself as really ignorant here, but the inevitable answer has to be the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. I seem to recall Charlie playing a really good cover of Ruler of My Heart by them a while back, with Norah Jones on vocal.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:37 am
by Con Murphy
davidt wrote:I sense this forum doesn't like Elvis!


Au contraire, we love him. We just struggle to find much of worth in his oeuvre since about 1986. Oops, that's two French phrases in two sentences - how very recherché of me.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:12 am
by tulsehill charlie
The praise meted (metered) out by forum members for the PHJB drummer got me interested - and jealous since I gave up the opportunity to go to the concert for a band practice. Since nobody mentioned a name, here's who I think he must be - Shannon Powell. Is this right?
There's an interview with SP at http://www.offbeat.com/artman/publish/p ... 1148.shtml

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:18 am
by Rob Hall
Con Murphy wrote:
garth cartwright wrote:Anyone have any favourite NO brass bands?


I'm probably outing myself as really ignorant here, but the inevitable answer has to be the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. I seem to recall Charlie playing a really good cover of Ruler of My Heart by them a while back, with Norah Jones on vocal.


I've struggled with this one too. The only other NO brass band that I can remember hearing is the Rebirth Brass Band though, truth be told, I'd be lying if I said I could tell one from the other if you played them back to back.