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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Allen Toussaint. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Allen Toussaint. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Superstar Records artist: Tom Hambridge - The Nola Sessions - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The NOLA Sessions from Tom Hambridge and it's got real feel. Opening with Easy flowing, Blues Been Mighty Good To Me, Hambridge has lead vocal and of course drums backed by superstar Allen Toussaint on piano, max Moran on bass and Wendy Molten on backing vocal. Smooth opener. On Bluz Crazy, Hambridge has a distinctive slap on the snare that I really like and the lope of the track is further enhanced by John Fohl on guitar with Tommy MacDonald on bass and Kevin McKendree on piano. Very nice. Sonny Landreth's Slydeco guitar on This End Of The Road gives the track a real nice edge on a John Hiatt style track. Great two stepper. With real New Orleans style, I Love Everything has a great melody and sense of rhythm. With Shance Theriot on guitar, Calvin Turner Jr. on bass, David Torkanowsky on piano, McKendree on B3, SaRachael on backing vocals and The Naughty Horns this track rocks! Landreth is back again on Little Things, funky New Orleans style blues rocker. Gotta love his slide work and Hambridge really works the skins over. Very nice! Save Me has a cool country rock flavor and strong melody with outstanding backing vocals by The McCrary Sisters and super punchy horn work by The Naughty Horns. Wrapping the release is Faith, a quiet acoustic track featuring Hambridge on vocal, with Fohl on guitar, macDonald on bass and Nathaniel Smith on cello. This is a really nice closer to a very enjoyable release.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Allen Toussaint – American Tunes - New Release Review - Stilladog - Guest Writer

On 4th of July, America’s birthday, we review American Tunes...  the last, and posthumously released, album by one of the USA’s most influential, diverse, and loved musicians, composers, and musical luminaries, the late.

This album finds Toussaint many times alone at his piano. When he is accompanied it is often sparse but with impeccable precision.   As his persona requires, all the accompanists are top notch musicians in their own right.

A man well known for his own compositions, American Tunes instead features Toussaint’s unique interpretations of other people’s American music.  Many are well known classics from his hometown, New Orleans.  

The album starts off with Delores’ Boyfriend with Toussaint alone at the piano doing what I call a “sportin’ parlor ragtime blues.”  It sounds and smells like pure New Orleans, and is the first of only 2 cuts on the album written by Toussaint himself.

The second track, Viper’s Drag,  is an old Fats Waller tune also in the ragtime vein.  Accompanied only by drummer Jay Bellerose and upright bassist David Piltch, Allen seems to just be having fun with this one.

Confessin’ (That I Love You), a jazz standard from the 1930s comes next.  This tune was popularized by Louis Armstrong.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone so comfortable in front of a keyboard as Allen is on this number.  There’s a mighty tasty little bass solo by David Piltch in this one too!

Next is a familiar song by another New Orleans legend, Professor Longhair’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans.Showcasing Toussaint again alone at the piano this tune is done at a much slower tempo than usual. As such, it yields an elegant version of this party tune.

This is followed by Lotus Blossom, a song written by Duke Ellington’s keyboardist, Billy Strayhan.  Naturally it was popularized by the Ellington Orchestra back in the 1950s.  Again at ease with an old jazz standard, the notes just flow like water down a lazy stream.

Another jazz standard, this one from the 1960s, Waltz For Debby is the next up.   A tune by Bill Evans originally recorded in 1961 is very tastefully done by just the trio.

But we’re back solidly in the Crescent City with a solo rendition of Earl King’s Big Chief which was popularized by Professor Longhair.

Then comes my favorite tune on the album, and they bring out extra instrumentation for this one. Duke Ellington’s Rocks In My Bed!  Guitar part by Bill Frisel lincluding a wonderful slide solo is complemented by absolutely magnificent vocals by Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops).

Danza, Op. 33 (Louis Moreau Gottschalk) showcases the diversity of Toussaint’s virtuosity.  A classical number that combines polka music with Caribbean rhythms it just seems a perfect fit for displaying the broad range of styles that influenced Toussaint’s songwriting.

Another Professor Longhair tune, Hey Little Girl, injects some more fun into the session as only the good Professor could do.  It is followed by the Earl “Fatha” Hines theme song, Rosetta.  Few people have been more integral to the development of jazz music than Earl Hines and this rendition gives him his due.

A second Ellington song, Come Sunday again features Rhiannon Giddens on vocals.  (Before I read the liner notes I thought it was Catherine Russell).

The other Toussaint original included here is an instrumental version of Southern Nights made famous by Glen Campbell. The album concludes aptly with American Tune by Paul Simon with Toussaint on vocals.

They say after Hurricane Katrina that, perhaps out of necessity, Allen Toussaint took to performing live and touring much more.  It is also said that his performances were often totally unscripted.  He would sit down at the piano and play whatever was in his head or his heart that day.  Since he could play damn near anything, these shows were quite a treat! And so it is that this album seems to be a collection of Allen Toussaint’s favorite songs.  American Tunes.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Allen Toussaint has passed - My thoughts and prayers are with his family

MADRID (AP) — Legendary New Orleans pianist, songwriter, producer and performer, Allen Toussaint, who penned or produced such classics as "Working in a Coal Mine" and "Lady Marmalade," has died after suffering a heart attack following a concert he performed in Spain. He was 77. Rescue workers were called to Toussaint's hotel early Tuesday morning and managed to revive him after he suffered a heart attack, Madrid emergency services spokesman Javier Ayuso said. But Toussaint stopped breathing during the ambulance ride to a hospital and efforts to revive him again were unsuccessful, Ayuso said. Toussaint performed Monday night at Madrid's Lara Theater. "He was a legend in the music world," said Quint Davis, who produces the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Toussaint performed there so often — frequently as a headliner — that Davis said he referred to it as his "annual concert." Toussaint was born in New Orleans' Gert Town, a working class neighborhood where he lived in a "shotgun" house — so-called because you could stand at the front door and fire a shotgun through to the other side of the house. He went on to become one of the city's most legendary and celebrated performers and personalities. At first he worked as a producer for the New Orleans-based Minit Records in 1960 before being drafted in the Army for two years. He later went on to create his own recording studio in 1973 with fellow songwriter Marshall Sehorn, called Sea-Saint Studio. There he worked with a succession of musicians including Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Patti LaBelle, the late Joe Cocker and Elvis Costello. Toussaint has hundreds of hits to his name and received the Recording Academy Trustees Award during the 2009 Grammy Awards. He penned the 1966 Lee Dorsey classic "Working in a Coal Mine" and produced Dr. John's 1973 hit "Right Place, Wrong Time" and 1975's "Lady Marmalade" by the vocal trio Labelle. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He's also a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In 2013 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama at a ceremony in Washington. He worked with some of the greatest names in music: Irma Thomas, the Meters, Cocker and the late Ernie K-Doe. Approaching 80, he was still active touring and performing. He had been expected to perform a benefit concert along with longtime friend Paul Simon in New Orleans on Dec. 8 at Le Petit Theatre to raise money for the organization, New Orleans Artists Against Hunger And Homelessness. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 flooded not only his home but his legendary studio, forcing Toussaint to flee to New York. Davis, from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, said during Katrina he also lost most of his manuscripts, his gold records and the often elaborate outfits in which he performed onstage. "You always saw Allen with a coat and tie and wearing sandals," Davis said. In New York, Toussaint focused largely on performing, often taking the stage at Joe's Pub on Lafayette Street in solo concerts. But like many New Orleanians, Toussaint was not able to stay away forever. Nearly eight years after Katrina, Toussaint returned permanently to the city of his birth and so much of his musical inspiration.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

LRBC #25 Updates! Oct. 2015 Big Easy/Fantasy

Your deposit to reserve a stateroom is $500 per person ($1000/single) payable by Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
Please email for a copy of applicable terms and conditions.

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Buddy Guy, one of this year's Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients, is headlining the October cruise, marking his First Appearance Ever on our Blues Cruise Charters!

"Whenever I accept an award like this I do it for all the Blues men and women who came before me and never got the recognition they truly deserved." - Buddy Guy
For a man who name is nearly synonymous with the Chicago blues sound, Buddy Guy has one of the warmest smiles in the business. Rock titans, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan have all cited him as a major influence on their own music. Now 78, the 2005 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has barely slowed down as he continues to encourage and inspire a new generation of musicians.
A Self-Taught Legend: Born to Louisiana sharecroppers Sam and Isabel Guy on July 30, 1936, George "Buddy" Guy taught himself to play guitar as a young boy. He took a train to Chicago in 1957, and landed at the famous 708 Club where he became a sideman for legends such as Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter and Muddy Waters. By the early 1960s, Guy was a first-call session man at Chess Records.
After years of touring and recording, the musician opened Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago in June of 1989. As the premiere blues club in the world, its stage has hosted myriad of blues and rock greats. Guy inked a deal with Silvertone for three albums that began with the 1991 comeback smash Damn Right, I've Got the Blues (reissued in 2005), which he followed up with 1993′s Feels Like Rain and 1994′s Slippin' In. All three earned Grammy Awards.
Guy has firmly cemented a blues legacy that places him squarely in the company of his heroes who came before. In 2012, he published his autobiography, When I Left Home: My Story. He has said he feels an obligation to keep their legacy alive. Guy still holds a 16-show residency at his eponymous Legends club in Chicago every January. After one of his shows seven years ago, Guy met then eight-year-old Quinn Sullivan (who also joins us on LRBC #25), a budding blues guitarist. Now a mentor to the teenaged musician, Guy tours with him and produced his first album. "I learn from Buddy every day," Sullivan says.

The clubs are lining up bands already...

Announcement soon, including Surprise/Special Guests!

Just announced!

RANDY MCQUAY II(IBC 2015 Solo/Duo Winner)

Special Guest HAROLD BROWN (Lowrider Band)

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"THE BLUES IS A WOMAN" Play written by Theodis Ealey & Tom Jones. Featuring: Lacee, Bernardine Mitchell & Theodis Ealey

RANDY MCQUAY II(IBC 2015 Solo/Duo Winner)






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