Allen Toussaint What Is Success: The Sceptor And Bell Recordings
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- Released: October 8, 2007
- Label: Kent Records Uk
- 1.Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky
- 2.Get Out Of My Life, Woman
- 3.Sweet Touch Of Love
- 4.From A Whisper To A Scream
- 6.Gotta Travel On
- 7.The Chokin' Kind
- 8.Cast Your Fate To The Wind
- 9.We The People
- 11.Number Nine
- 12.What Is Success
- 14.Working In The Coalmine
- 15.I've Got That Feeling Now
- 17.Hands Christianderson
Personnel: Allen Toussaint (vocals, piano); Mac Rebennack (guitar, organ); Terry Kellman (guitar); Earl Turbinton (alto saxophone); Clyde Kerr (trumpet); Ed Greene, Fred Staehle, John Boudreaux (drums); Merry Clayton (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.
Leave it to the chaps over at the U.K.-based Ace Records reissue subsidiary Kent Soul to create the first comprehensive Allen Toussaint anthology covering his late-'60s/early-'70s output. While the Allen Toussaint (1970) long-player has been on CD before, What Is Success: The Scepter & Bell Recordings (2007) offers up a handful of rare 45 rpm sides that are making their digital debut on this 17-track compilation. Perhaps owing to their very scarcity, the Bell Records singles "Get out of My Life, Woman" b/w "Gotta Travel On," "I've Got That Feelin' Now" b/w "Hands Christianderson," and "We the People" b/w "Tequila" have actually been mastered from vinyl (rather than tape) sources. While surface noise is audible throughout, each of the selections is thoroughly listenable, thanks to Rob Shread's effective audio restorations. The core content surrounds the nearly dozen tunes that the artist initially cut in 1969 for what would become his second solo album -- alternately known as either Allen Toussaint (1970) or From a Whisper to a Scream (1971). Allen Toussaint (piano/vocals) is supported by his Crescent City soul mates Mac Rebennack (organ/guitar) (aka Dr. John), Terry Kellman (guitar), Eddie Hohner (bass), Freddie Staehle (drums), John Boudreaux (drums), Clyde Kerr (trumpet), Earl Turbinton (alto sax), as well as the respective super lungs of the dynamic studio session duo Merry Clayton (backing vocals) and Venetta Fields. As the material is presented without regard to chronology, it is more difficult for modern listeners to chart Toussaint's stylistic progress. That said -- with nearly two decades as a contributor in and around the Nola-based R&B scene under his belt -- it would seem that he had long reached his full potential. The stylistic breadth is beyond impressive, especially the instrumentals, as they range from the empathetic reading of Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" to the mini-masterpiece "Pickles" or the upbeat gospel-flavored soul stepper "Hands Christianderson." Equally appealing are Toussaint's take on songs initially made famous by others, such as "What Is Success," which Bonnie Raitt would interpret to considerable note. Plus, the Lee Dorsey hits "Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky," "Working in the Coalmine," and "Get out of My Life Woman." The latter was likewise introduced to an entirely different audience via the Jerry Garcia Band's long and often winding live performances. The liner booklet has an informative bio/essay from compiler Tony Rounce, and reproductions of the original LP and 45 rpm labels for an added touch of authenticity aimed at collectors and enthusiasts. ~ Lindsay Planer
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