The Door To Yesterday vol. 4 No 14 Christmas Wreath. Allen Toussaint. Alan Warner. 2019

 

 

 

Southern Nights. The Songs of Allen Toussaint. Alan Warner. The Door To yesterday. 2019

 A cornerstone of New Orleans and its richly influential music scene, singer/songwriter/pianist/arranger/producer 

Allen Toussaint (1938-2015) was not only born in that city but his compositions and his piano playing embodied a style

 that instantly represented the Crescent City to millions of music lovers worldwide. His brand of joyous rhythm and blues 

was laced with an underlying syncopated tip of the hat to another legendary New Orleans pianist and

Allen’s lifelong mentor,Professor Longhair.

 

To begin this overview, here’s an example of Allen’s irresistible homegrown funk; it’s GET OUT OF MY LIFE, WOMAN,

 the most recorded of all his compositions. Here’s the standout 1968 version by one of the giants of soul music

 Solomon Burke who characteristically precedes theToussaint lyric with his own two-line rap: 

https://youtu.be/9QPrCqGA7hg


Beginning in the early 60’s, Allen wrote for and produced hits by a rich group of New Orleans artists including 

Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, Benny Spellman and Aaron Neville and on many of their sides, 

he was also the pianist and backup singer. 


His wealth of memorable compositions included

 WORKING IN THE COAL MINE, MOTHER-IN-LAW, YES WE CAN CAN,

 RIDE YOUR PONY and HOLY COW 

plus his reflective ballad SOUTHERN NIGHTS.

 

As a producer, Allen also helmed projects by such artists as

 Labelle, Dr. John, Chris Kenner, Aaron & Art Neville,Etta James and The Meters. 

In 2006, he collaborated with Elvis Costello for their memorable post-Katrina album “The River In Reverse”. 

Allen was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998 

and into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame thirteen years later.


Following is an alphabetical list of Allen Toussaint’s US & UK charted songs. 

Certain of his earlier compositions were credited as writer to his mother’s maiden name, Naomi Neville.   


ALL THESE THINGS

 (Naomi Neville)

by The Uniques Featuring Joe Stampley

 (Paula: 1966) 

US #97 Pop

by Joe Stampley

Pro: Norro Wilson

 (ABC/Dot: 1976) 

US #1 Country https://youtu.be/34OpgohUcb4

by Joe Stampley

Pro: Ray Baker 

(Epic: 1981) 

US #62 Country


A CERTAIN GIRL 

(Naomi Neville) 

by Ernie K-Doe

Pro: Allen Toussaint 

(Minit: 1961) 

US #71 Pop 

by Warren Zevon

Pro: Warren Zevon & Greg Ladanyi 

(Asylum) 

US #57 Pop.

 https://youtu.be/aRk8znla4H0 

Also recorded by The Yardbirds.


CONFUSION 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Lee Dorsey

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint 

(Amy: 1966) 

UK #38


DO IT ANY WAY YOU WANT

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by Robert Winters & Fall

Pro: Jimmy Bee

 (Casablanca: 1982) 

US #39 R&B in ‘83

A DREAMER OF A DREAM (Allen Toussaint)

by Candi Staton

Pro: Bob Monaco 

(Warner Bros: 1977)

 US #37 R&B


EVERYTHING I DO GONH BE FUNKY (From Now On) 

(Allen Toussaint)

by Lee Dorsey

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint 

(Amy: 1969) 

US #33 R&B, #95 Pop

 https://youtu.be/DKpucBPlUFw


FORTUNE TELLER 

(Naomi Neville)

by The Hardtimes

Pro: Richard Bock 

(World Pacific: 1966)

 US #97 Pop in ’67. 

Song written forBenny Spellman in ’62 

https://youtu.be/VEt8TJnSHLU  

and which was also cut by The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, The Merseybeats and The Who 

and most recently by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss together in ’07.

 

 

elvis costello and allen toussaint the river in reverse the door to yesterday. alan warner. 2019

 FREEDOM FOR THE STALLION

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by The Hues Corporation

Pro: John Florez

Arr & Cond: Gene Page 

(RCA: 1973) US #9 AC, #63 Pop.

 Here’s the brilliant version by Elvis Costello from “The River In Reverse”, 

the 2006 Verve Forecast album that he recorded with Allen. 

https://youtu.be/Tl-F0q_0p7M


FUN TIME 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Joe Cocker

Pro: Allen Toussaint

Exec Pro: Michael Lang 

(Asylum: 1978) US #43 Pop


GET OUT OF MY LIFE, WOMAN 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Lee Dorsey

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint 

(Amy: 1966) 

US #5 R&B, #44 Pop & UK #22. 

https://youtu.be/uxp0Kfgpft8 

 The many other recorded versions included those by Solomon Burke, Joe Tex, Iron Butterfly, Jerry Garcia,

 Albert King, The Doors and Byron Lee & The Dragonaires. Song was also sampled by many artists.


GIRL CALLIN'

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by Chocolate Milk

Arr & Pro: Allen Toussaint 

(RCA: 1978) 

US #14 R&B.

https://youtu.be/a5Ao7XI9ZaQ  

Song was often sampled as shown at the end of this list.


GOD MUST HAVE BLESSED AMERICA

 (Allen Toussaint)

 by Glen Campbell

Pro: Glen Campbell

Arr: Glen Campbell & T.J. Kuenster)

 (Capitol: 1977) 

US #39 Country in ‘78


GO-GO GIRL 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Lee Dorsey

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint 

(Amy: 1967)

 US #31 R&B, #62 Pop


GOING DOWN SLOWLY

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by The Pointer Sisters

Pro: David Rubinson 

(ABC/Blue Thumb: 1975)

 US #16 R&B in '76, #61 Pop in ’75

 https://youtu.be/Wovz9dKG7JE


GREATEST LOVE

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by Judy Clay

Pro: Jerry Wexler & 

Tom Dowd

 (Atlantic: 1970)

 US #45 R&B 

https://youtu.be/1DLyte51MWU


HAPPINESS 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by The Pointer Sisters

Pro: Richard Perry

 (Planet: 1979) 

US #20 R&B, #30 Pop

 https://youtu.be/ggBX1xMfxv4


HERE COME THE GIRLS

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by Ernie K-Doe

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint 

(Janus: 1971) 

Reissued on UK Soul Jazz: 2007: UK #43 

https://youtu.be/CejaCa6Eewc


 

 

Lee Dorsey. Allen toussaint. The Door To yesterday. 2019

 HOLY COW 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Lee Dorse

/Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint

 (Amy: 1966) 

US #10 R&B, #23 Pop

 https://youtu.be/qANTSHIivRY

by Jamey Ryan

Pro: Roger Sovine 

(Show Biz: 1970) 

US #75 Country


I CRIED MY LAST TEAR

 (Naomi Neville) 

By Ernie K-Doe

Pro: Allen Toussaint 

(Minit: 1961) US #69 Pop

 https://youtu.be/0k5WNWMQuCQ

As I’VE CRIED MY LAST TEAR

by The O’Jays

Pro: Tommy LiPuma

Arr: Nick de Caro

 (Imperial: 1965) 

US #94 Pop 


I KEEP ON LOVIN' YOU

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by Z.Z. Hill

Pro: Allen Toussain Denny Diante & Spencer Proffer

Strings Arr: Allen Toussaint

Horns Arr: Jimmie Haskell 

 (United Artists: 1974) 

US #39 R&B 

https://youtu.be/rkRXGIha2Tg


IT’S RAINING 

(Naomi Neville)

by Irma Thomas

Pro: Allen Toussaint 

(Minit: 1962) US Regional hit

 https://youtu.be/7-Ofyo24UZc

by Shakin’ Stevens

Pro: Stuart Colman 

(Epic: 1981) 

UK #10


JAVA 

(Allen Toussaint/Freddy Friday/

Marilyn Schack/Alvin ‘Red’ Tyler)

by Floyd Cramer

Pro: Chet Atkins 

(RCA: 1963) 

US #49 Pop, #12 AC

by Al Hirt

Pro: Chet Atkins & Steve Sholes

 (RCA: 1964) US #4 Pop, #1 AC 

https://youtu.be/7jZLsOtVPUs


KEEP IT TOGETHER (Declaration Of Love) 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Rufus

Pro: Rufus & Roy Halee

Arr & Cond: Ernie Freeman  

(ABC: 1978) US #16 R&B in '79

 https://youtu.be/DPEeRPu6TBc


LIPSTICK TRACES (On A Cigarette)

 (Naomi Neville) 

by Benny Spellman

Pro: Allen Toussaint 

(Minit: 1962) 

US #28 R&B

by The O’Jays

Pro: Tommy LiPuma & Joe Saraceno

Arr: Harold Battiste 

(Imperial: 1965) US #28 R&B, #48 Pop 

https://youtu.be/S87UUcE9XEo

by Jimmie Peters

Pro: Jerry Gillespie 

(Mercury: 1977) 

US #73 Country

by The Amazing Rhythm Aces

Pro: Jimmy Johnson 

(ABC: 1979) US #88 Country

 

 

Ernie K Doe Mother In law. The Door ToYesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 MOTHER-IN-LAW

 (Allen Toussaint)

by Ernie K-Doe

Pro: Allen Toussaint

 (Minit: 1961) 

US #1 R&B, #1 Pop, UK #29

 https://youtu.be/6EN5eJf5h_k

by Clarence Carter

Pro: Rick Hall 

(Fame: 1973) 

US #24 R&B, #80 Pop. 

This was Allen’s first chart-topping composition. 

Other recordings including versions by The Ohio Players and also Huey Lewis & The News.


MY OLD CAR 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Lee Dorsey

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint 

(Amy: 1967) 

US #97 Pop


NEARER TO YOU (

Allen Toussaint) 

by Betty HarrisPro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn/Arr: Allen Toussaint (Sansu: 1967) 

US #16 R&B, #85 Pop 

https://youtu.be/Jrec4R2xNAg 

 

NIGHT PEOPLE 

(Allen Toussaint)

by Lee Dorsey

Arr & Pro: Allen Toussaint 

(ABC: 1978) 

US #93 R&B


OVER YOU

 (Allen Toussaint/Allen Orange) 

by Aaron Neville

Pro: Allen Toussaint 

(Minit: 1960) 

US #21 R&B 

https://youtu.be/_Ln1Q0gz6aQ


PAIN IN MY HEART 

(Naomi Neville) 

by Otis Redding

 (Volt: US #11 R&B, #61 Pop)

 https://youtu.be/bKlI4l62bjQ  

Adapted from Allen’s song RULER OF MY HEART 

which was first recorded by Irma Thomas. PAIN IN MY HEART 

was also recorded by The Rolling Stones.


PLAY SOMETHING SWEET (Brickyard Blues) 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Three Dog Night

Pro & Sound: Jimmy Ienner 

(Dunhill/ABC: 1974)

US #33 Pop 

https://youtu.be/RcaYxAjOUSk


RELEASE (THE TENSION) 

(Allen Toussaint)

by Patti LaBelle

Pro: Allen Toussaint

Assoc Pro: Patti Labelle & James ‘Bud’ Ellison 

(Epic: 1980) 

US #61 R&B


RIDE YOUR PONY 

(Naomi Neville) 

by Lee Dorsey

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint

 (Amy: 1965) US #7 R&B, #28 Pop

 https://youtu.be/P78AZ5zntGg

by The Fleshtones (in a medley)

Pro: Richard Mazd

a (I.R.S: 1982) 

US #29 Dance


SHOORAH! SHOORAH!

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by Betty Wright

Pro: Willie Clark

Horns Arr: Mike Lewis 

(Alston: 1974) US #28 R&B & UK #27 both in ’75 

https://youtu.be/29TrwWaXHR4

As SHOORA SHOORA: 

by Jenny Jackson 

(Farr: 1976) 

#75 R&B

 

 

S

 SOUTHERN NIGHTS 

(Allen Toussaint)

by Glen Campbell

Pro: Gary Klein

Arr & Cond: Charlie Calello (Capitol: 1977) 

US #1 Country, #1 Pop, #1 AC, UK #28. 

https://youtu.be/FsokkO0o3bw  

Allen’s original version on which he sang through a Leslie speaker 

was on his “Southern Nights” album two years earlier:

 https://youtu.be/mCscZ2tPFmI

When Allen performed this song in concert, 

he began with a spoken introduction, setting the scene for the lyric 

which described his childhood memories of nighttime in the Louisiana backwoods.

 Here’s a clip: 

https://youtu.be/9ctIIxC8XWg


WHIPPED CREAM 

(Naomi Neville) 

by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass

Pro: Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss

Arr: Herb Alpert 

(A&M: 1965) 

US #13 AC, #68 Pop.

 https://youtu.be/pp4hXEm0Ses  

Tune was used on early seasons of TV’s “Dating Game” show.  


 WHOEVER'S THRILLING YOU (Is Killing Me)

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by Rufus

Pro: Bob Monaco 

(ABC: 1973) 

US #40 R&B 

https://youtu.be/8OhR2vS5uYk


WORKING IN THE COAL MINE 

(Allen Toussaint) 

by Lee Dorsey

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn/Arr: Allen Toussaint 

(Amy: 1966) 

US #5 R&B, #8 Pop, UK #8

 https://youtu.be/rSO4KKdFKPA

by Devo

Pro: Devo 

(Full Moon: 1981) 

US #43 Pop, #30 Dance, #53 Mainstream Rock

 https://youtu.be/EAzAucMOE0s


YES WE CAN (Part 1)

 (Allen Toussaint) 

by Lee Dorsey

Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn

Arr: Allen Toussaint 

(Polydor: 1970) 

US #46 R&B

As YES WE CAN CAN:

by The Pointer Sisters 

(Blue Thumb: 1973) 

US #12 R&B, #11 Pop. 

https://youtu.be/F2U1OUxXSMM

Song was also heavily sampled.


One other noteworthy Toussaint song that was not issued as a single is 

WHAT DO YOU WANT THE GIRL TO DO which Allen introduced on his “Southern Nights” album in ’75. 

Among other artists who recorded it were Boz Scaggs, Lowell George and Vince Gill; 

it was also memorably cut by Bonnie Raitt with the gender-altered lyric 

WHAT DO YOU WANT THE BOY TO DO. 

Here’s her version:

 https://youtu.be/k3wPNSLi7uc


SAMPLES


Among the many examples of records that sampled Allen Toussaint compositions:


AY YO by Melanie Fiona 

(SRC: 2010)

Sampled TAMPIN 

(Originally recorded by The Rhine Oaks, Atco: 1969)


BOOM BIDDY BYE BYE 

by Cypress Hill 

(Ruffhouse: 1996)

Sampled GET OUT OF MY LIFE, WOMAN


BREAKADAWN 

by De La Soul 

(Tommy Boy: 1993) 

Sampled YES WE CAN CAN


D’EVILS 

by Jay-Z 

(Roc-A-Fella: 1996)

Sampled GO BACK HOME 

(Originally recorded by Allen Toussaint, Alon: 1965)


GET YOUR WAY

 by Jamie Cullum 

(Verve: 2005)

Sampled GET OUT OF MY LIFE, WOMAN


GIRLS by Sugababes 

(Island: 2008)

Sampled HERE COME THE GIRLS 


GLAMOUR AND GLITZ by A Tribe Called Quest 

(Def Jam: 1995)

Sampled GET OUT OF MY LIFE, WOMAN


I CHANGED MY MIND 

by Keyshia Cole 

(A&M: 2004) 

Sampled GET OUT OF MY LIFE, WOMAN 


JUST A FRIEND 

by Biz Markie 

(Cold Chillin’: 1989)

Sampled GET OUT OF MY LIFE, WOMAN


KEEP ON, KEEPIN’ ON 

by MC Lyte Feat. Xscape 

(EastWest: 1996)

Sampled YES WE CAN CAN


LET GO MY EGGO 

by Biz Markie 

(Cold Chillin’: 1991)

Sampled LOUIE

 (Originally recorded by Allen Toussaint, Scepter 1970)


THE ONE 

by WC 

(Payday: 1996) 

Sampled GIRL CALLIN’ 


ROUND AND ROUND 

by Mary J. Blige 

(MCA: 1997)

Sampled GO BACK HOME


WE GOT IT

 by Immature 

Featuring Smooth 

(MCA: 1995) 

Sampled GIRL CALLIN’


As in all my postings, the recordings listed and reference above are selective choices 

and are in no way intended as definitive collections of Allen’s extensive work.


US Chart positions quoted above are as published originally in Billboard magazines; 

researched and compiled by Joel Whitburn in his series of Chart Books published by 

Record Research Inc.His books are available thru their website 

www.recordresearch.com


NEWLY AVAILABLE...

THE SONGS OF ALLEN TOUSSAINT audio sampler

In the 1990’s, I interviewed Allen for an EMI Music Publishing 

sampler for promotional use only. 

This interview is now available as a podcast.


Here is a link to it: 


The Door To Yesterday Allen Toussaint Podcast


EMI Music Publishing is now part of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.


Rock on.


Alan Warner


Additional songwriter lists 

appear in the following editions of 

"The Door To Yesterday": 

 

Dave Bartholomew: Vol.2, No.19

Thom Bell: Vol.3, No.9

Bert Berns: Vol.3, No.22

Charles Brown: Vol.2, No.25

Willie Dixon: Vol.4, No.9

Donnie Fritts: Vol.4, No.2

Gerry Goffin: Vol.3, No.16

Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil: Vol.2, No.6

Neil Sedaka: Vol.3, No.6

 

Please send any comments or suggestions to 

thedoortoyesterday@gmail.com


© Alan Warner, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material 

without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alan Warner with appropriate

and specific direction to the original content.