Allen Toussaint

Remembering Allen Toussaint & Opinions on The Chills

Sound Opinions pays tribute to New Orleans pianist, producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint who died on November 10, 2015. The music legend chatted with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot in the studio in 2013 after the release of his album Songbook. Later in the show, Jim and Greg review a New Zealand import from The Chills.

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Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint, musical legend out of New Orleans, died on November 10 at the age of 77. In honor of his passing, Jim and Greg revisit their 2013 conversation with the great pianist, singer, songwriter, and producer. Toussaint began playing music at the age of 7 and throughout his career collaborated with a who's who of the New Orleans scene: Dr. John, Huey Smith, Irma Thomas, Earl King & many more. The piano man also wrote dozens of classic songs that have since entered the rock canon, having been covered by artists like Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, DEVO, Warren Zevon, and Patti Labelle. Allen joined Jim and Greg in the studio after the release of his album Songbook, a live recording that documents his career via a series of solo piano shows at Joe's Pub in New York City. Allen talked about about the origins of his most popular songs like "Fortune Teller" and "Working in a Coal Mine," as well as "Whipped Cream," which became the theme for The Dating Game.

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The Chills Silver Bullets

If you aren't familiar with The Chills, chances are you aren't entrenched in the New Zealand indie rock scene –not to mention this is first full-length album the group has put out in nearly two decades. The Chills are credited for popularizing the kiwi pop sound that emerged in New Zealand during the 1980s. It was a marked departure from the indie rock that was prevalent in the U.S. at the time and an original sound altogether. Greg was unsure what to expect from The Chills, as he hasn't heard a full-length album from them since 1996s Sunburnt. But he's happy to report singer/songwriter Martin Phillips is back. As a result of battling drug addiction and illness, Phillips‘ lyrics are dark and introspective. The album conveys a sense of urgency to appreciate life’s good things, and to Greg, Phillips sounds like a man renewed. Jim also likes the subtle touches of violin, timpani roll and chiming guitar. The song "America Says Hello" makes a political statement that is more direct than anything else Jim has heard from The Chills, so it's an enthusiastic Double Buy It for Silver Bullets.


Featured Songs

  1. Glen Campbell, Southern Nights, Southern Nights, Capitol, 1977
  2. Professor Longhair, Tipitina, New Orleans Piano, Atlantic, 1972
  3. Allen Toussaint, It's a New Orleans Thing (Live on Sound Opinions), Songbook, Rounder, 2013
  4. Dr. John, Right Place, Wrong Time, In the Right Place, Atco, 1973
  5. Huey ‘Piano’ Smith, Don't You Just Know It, Don't You Just Know It (Single), Ace Records, 1958
  6. Allen Toussaint, Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further, Songbook, Rounder, 2013
  7. Devo, Working in the Coal Mine, New Traditionalists, Infinite Zero/Warner Bros., 1981
  8. Allison Krauss & Robert Plant, Fortune Teller, Raising Sand, Universal Music, 2007
  9. Lee Dorsey, Working in the Coal Mine, The New Lee Dorsey, Rev-Ola, 1966
  10. Allen Toussaint, Old Records (Live on Sound Opinions), Songbook, Rounder, 2013
  11. Warren Zevon, A Certain Girl, Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School, Friday Music, 1980
  12. The Rolling Stones, Fortune Teller, More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies), London, 1972
  13. Allen Toussaint, Fortune Teller (Live on Sound Opinions), Songbook, Rounder, 2013
  14. Allen Toussaint, Whipped Cream (Live on Sound Opinions), Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky: The Hit Songs & Productions 1957-1978, Charly, 2011
  15. Allen Toussaint, Southern Nights (Live on Sound Opinions), Southern Nights, Water Music Records, 1975
  16. Allen Toussaint, Night People, Motion, Warner Bros., 1978
  17. The Chills, America Says Hello, Silver Bullets, Fire, 2015
  18. The Chills, Silver Bullets, Silver Bullets, Fire, 2015
  19. The Chills, Pyramid/When the Poor Can Reach the Moon, Silver Bullets, Fire, 2015
  20. The Chills, Kaleidoscope World, Kaleidoscope World, Homestead, 1989
  21. Aretha Franklin, Call Me, This Girl's in Love with You, Atlantic, 1970
  22. Pavement, Shady Lane, Brighten the Corners, Canyon International, 1997
  23. Titus Andronicus, No Future Part IV: No Future Triumphant, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, Merge, 2015
  24. Billy Gibbons and The BFG's, You're What's Happenin', Baby, Perfectamundo, Concord, 2015
  25. Low Cut Connie, Boozophilia, Call Me Sylvia, Self-released, 2012

Footnotes Allen Toussaint Greg's Allen Toussaint obit Greg's essential Allen Toussaint recordings The Chills