As it’s been said before, the value of a man is as he is remembered. That applies in so many ways that it would be impossible to list them all here. In the world of music, the value is the body of work an individual (or band) has left behind. When I say left behind, I’m talking when the ability to create music no longer is any kind of option. On Tuesday, November 10 (2015), the world lost a monumental talent to a heart attack. But while the ailments that lie in wait and thieve are not worth talking about, the people that death takes are immeasurably worth talking about. In the world of music, that particularly applies to Allen Toussaint.
Allen Toussaint led a remarkable music life. Not only was the New Orleans-based Jazz pianist respected in his field, he was also revered in the grounds that he covered outside of Jazz. Notably, he wrote “Working In The Coal Mine”, originally recorded by Lee Dorsey. But so many artists recorded his music in covers too beautiful to imagine. Some of these include “I Like It Like That” (Dave Clark 5), “Southern Nights” (Glen Campbell), “Get Out Of My Life, Woman” (Iron Butterfly, Jerry Garcia, The Doors, Paul Butterfield, Gerry Rafferty, to name a few), “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)” (3 Dog Night, Maria Muldaur, Frankie Miller, BJ Thomas), and many more. Some other artists that recorded Allen Toussaint songs also include Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Robert Palmer, Ringo Starr, Paul Weller, the list goes on and on.
The list of bands that Allen Toussaint has collaborated with is even longer than the people who covered his works. Some of those include The Rolling Stones, The Band, Elvis Costello, John Mayall, Dr John, Paul McCartney & Wings, etc.
The shock that Allen Toussaint’s death was met with is commensurate with the depth that he permeates the world of music. It’s not everyone that can do that. We will miss the presence of Allen Toussaint’s wonderfully musical soul. I take comfort in the line from Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die”, “…there’ll be one child born in the world to carry on…”. Even so, the departure of Allen Toussaint requires big shoes to fill! BIG shoes!