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Archive for December 6th, 2012

Play Something Sweet: Ace Taps R&B and Rock Legends for “The Allen Toussaint Songbook”

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What is success? For Allen Toussaint, it’s been a career that’s lasted for over fifty years in which he’s created some of the most memorable music ever committed to tape: “Mother-in-Law.” “Whipped Cream.” Lady Marmalade.” “Working in the Coal Mine.” “Southern Nights.” “Yes We Can Can.” The latter song, a hit for the Pointer Sisters, took on added significance when it became associated with Barack Obama’s 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign. As writer, producer, vocalist and arranger, Allen Toussaint’s stamp has been made on not just the music of his hometown New Orleans, not just on the music of America, but on the entirety of popular music. U.K. label Ace has just celebrated this remarkable career with Rolling with the Punches: The Allen Toussaint Songbook. The 24-track anthology conclusively proves that yes he could.

Rolling with the Punches spans the period between 1961 and 1992, a little over thirty productive years in a career that spans to this very day. Naturally, some of the very finest artists in Louisiana music history are represented here, as most were affiliated with Toussaint at one time or another. Though “Mother-in-Law” is absent, Ernie K-Doe opens the set with his 1971 “Here Comes the Girls,” its insistent riff having thrived thanks to a 2008 ad campaign from retailer Boots and a Sugababes sample later the same year. Lee Dorsey, the original “Working in the Coal Mine” man, makes appearances with “Holy Cow” and the fiendishly memorable “Occapella,” on which Toussaint makes one of his many prominent vocal appearances on this compilation. (“Coal Mine” is here, too, in The Judds’ 1985 countrified version.) Toussaint’s magic touch was felt by the Neville Brothers, naturally, and Aaron Neville’s rare 1961 single “Let’s Live” has been included here. Its songwriting credit was ascribe to one of Toussaint’s most famous pen names, that of Naomi Neville. (No relation to the Brothers!) The Meters played on many of Toussaint’s most memorable productions, and he groomed them for fame on their own, too, with songs like 1970’s “Ride Your Pony.” Benny Spellman, the famous answer voice on Ernie K-Doe’s “Mother-in-Law,” got his own instant classic from writer/arranger Toussaint with “Fortune Teller” (also the title track of a recent, Toussaint-dominated singles collection from RPM). And no Toussaint collection would be complete without a track from Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans. She’s heard with “Sweet Touch of Love,” from her 1992 album True Believer.

There’s much more after the jump, including the full track listing with discography, and order link!

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Written by Joe Marchese

December 6, 2012 at 11:39

“Ram,” “SMiLE,” Woody Earn Catalogue Credits At Grammys

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Ram Box SetLet’s start the day with a quick, annual reminder of the hardworking people in the catalogue music business who were recognized for their efforts by way of nominations at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.

Three such box sets were nominated for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: Paul McCartney’s Ram: The Paul McCartney Archive Collection, The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls: Super Deluxe Edition and Woody Guthrie’s Woody At 100: The Centennial CollectionRam and Woody At 100 also shared nominations for Best Historical Album alongside the beautiful SMiLE Sessions box set by The Beach Boys, while three writers of notes for reissues and box sets were given nods in the Best Album Notes category.

The full list of relevant nominees are below, while the entire list (including an impressive six-way tie for most nominations by a single artist or band) is here.

Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Soundtrack From The Motion Picture)
Rob Sheridan, art director (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)
(Null/Madison Gate Records)

Go Fly A Kite
Liz Kweller, art director (Ben Kweller)
(The Noise Company)

Ram – Paul McCartney Archive Collection (Deluxe Edition)
Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul And Linda McCartney)
(Hear Music)

Some Girls: Super Deluxe Edition
Stephen Kennedy, art director (The Rolling Stones)
(UMe/Universal Republic)

Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection
Fritz Klaetke, art director (Woody Guthrie)
(Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)

Best Album Notes

Banjo Diary: Lessons From Tradition
Stephen Wade, album notes writer (Stephen Wade)
(Smithsonian Folkways)

First Recordings: 50th Anniversary Edition
Hans Olof Gottfridsson, album notes writer (The Beatles With Tony Sheridan)
(Time Life)

The Pearl Sessions
Holly George-Warren, album notes writer (Janis Joplin)
(Columbia/Legacy)

Piazzolla In Brooklyn
Fernando Gonzalez, album notes writer (Pablo Aslan Quintet)
(Soundbrush)

Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles
Billy Vera, album notes writer (Ray Charles)
(Concord)

Best Historical Album

He Is My Story: The Sanctified Soul Of Arizona Dranes
Josh Rosenthal, compilation producer; Bryan Hoffa & Christopher King, mastering engineers (Arizona Dranes)
(Tompkins Square)

Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music: 34 Historic Songs, Ballads, And Instrumentals Recorded In The Great Smoky Mountains By “Song Catcher” Joseph S. Hall
Kent Cave, Michael Montgomery & Ted Olson, compilation producers; John Fleenor & Steve Kemp, mastering engineers (Various Artists)
(Great Smoky Mountains Association)

Opika Pende: Africa At 78 RPM
Steven Lance Ledbetter & Jonathan Ward, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer (Various Artists)
(Dust-to-Digital)

Ram – Paul McCartney Archive Collection (Deluxe Edition)
Paul McCartney, compilation producer; Simon Gibson, Guy Massey & Steve Rooke, mastering engineers (Paul And Linda McCartney)
(MPL/Hear Music/Concord)

The Smile Sessions (Deluxe Box Set)
Alan Boyd, Mark Linett, Brian Wilson & Dennis Wolfe, compilation producers; Mark Linett, mastering engineer (The Beach Boys)
(Capitol)

Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection
Jeff Place & Robert Santelli, compilation producers; Pete Reiniger, mastering engineer (Woody Guthrie)
(Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)

Written by Mike Duquette

December 6, 2012 at 10:10