Allen Toussaint: Songbook
Allen Toussaint’s talents as a masterful songwriter, rootsy New Orleans R&B pianist, and earnest singer are well displayed on Songbook, which captures the Crescent City’s favorite son, unaccompanied, over two nights at Joe’s Pub in New York City. (The club served as his home base in the months following Katrina.) Nearly all the Toussaint favorites are here, from opening lost-love ballad, “It’s Raining,” a hit for Irma Thomas, to the nostalgia-laced
“Southern Nights,” a country and pop chart-topper for Glen Campbell. Also a stomping take on “Brickyard Blues,” recorded by no less than five notable artists in 1974, and songs popularized by Lee Dorsey and others, including a funky version of “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further?,” “Freedom for the
Stallion,” and a medley stitching “Certain Girl” to “Mother-in-Law,” “Fortune Teller” and “Working in the Coal Mine.” Alternately rousing and moving.