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Striking a Chord with Allen Toussaint


Allen Toussaint says he'd rather let his piano do the talking. Lucky for us.

Toussaint's fingers have done the talking on song after song for more than 50 years, defining the modern-day New Orleans sound. He's written, produced and arranged chart-topping hits for scores of artists. And lately, Toussaint has been performing his catalog more often around the world.

This week, Allen Toussaint has plenty to say to Music Inside Out. Check out his major chords. And the minor ones too.

Music Playlist

James Booker

It's A New Orleans Thing
Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint

Solitude (Ellington)
Allen Toussaint

On Your Way Down
Allen Toussaint

Paperback Writer
The Beatles

Lou Johnson

Southern Nights
Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint

Brickyard Blues
Allen Toussaint

Ascension Day
Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint

Ascension Day (excerpts)
Allen Toussaint

Delores' Boyfriend
Allen Toussaint

James Booker

Allen Toussaint, performing

To say that Toussaint's work has been wide-ranging is an understatement. Here's just a partial discography of his work. The links are to the online music streaming services Spotify and MOG.


Mother-in-Law — Listen on Spotify | Listen on MOG
Ruler of My Heart — SpotifyMOG
Working in a Coal Mine — SpotifyMOG
Ride Your Pony — SpotifyMOG
Night People — SpotifyMOG
Sneaking Sally Through the Alley — SpotifyMOG
Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On) — SpotifyMOG
Southern Nights — SpotifyMOG
Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette) — SpotifyMOG
Yes, We Can Can — SpotifyMOG
Fortune Teller — SpotifyMOG
Java — SpotifyMOG
Tears, Tears and More Tears — SpotifyMOG
What is Success? — SpotifyMOG
Lady Marmalade — SpotifyMOG
What Do You Want the Girl to Do? — SpotifyMOG
Get Out of My Life Woman — SpotifyMOG
Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues) — SpotifyMOG
A Certain Girl — SpotifyMOG
From a Whisper to a Scream — SpotifyMOG
Whipped Cream — SpotifyMOG

Credit Sarah Mulligan / Flickr
Lyrics from Allen Toussaint's song

Collaborations as producer, arranger and/or featured performer:

Fats Domino
Out of New Orleans (1993)
Alligator Alley (1958)

Irma Thomas
Ruler of Hearts (1989)
The Way I Feel (1988)
Single: It's Raining Spotify | MOG
Single: Ruler of My Heart — Spotify | MOG

Dr. John

The Definitive Pop Collection (2006)
The Very Best of Dr. John (1995)
Mos' Scocious: Anthology (1993)
The Ultimate Dr. John (1987)
Desitively Bonnaroo (1974)
In the Right Place (1973)
Single: Right Place Wrong Time — Spotify | MOG

Earl King
New Orleans Blues (2005)
Street Parade (1981)
Single: Street Parade — Spotify | MOG

Clarence "Frogman" Henry
Ain't Got No Home: The Best of Clarence "Frogman" Henry (1994)

Aaron Neville
Mojo Soul (2006)
Ultimate Collection (2001)
The Classic Aaron Neville (1990)

Cyril Neville
New Orleans Cookin' (2000)

Jessie Hill
Y'All Ready Now … Plus (1987)
Single: Ooh Poo Pa Doo — Spotify | MOG

The Meters

Kickback (2001)
The Very Best of the Meters (1999)
Uptown Rulers: The Meters Live on the Queen Mary (1992)
Good Old Funky Music (1990)
Fire on the Bayou (1975)
Look-Ka Py Py (1970)
Struttin' (1970)
The Meters (1969)
Single: Look-ka Py Py — Spotify | MOG
Single: Chicken Strut — Spotify | MOG

The Neville Brothers
The Very Best of the Neville Brothers (1997)
Treacherous Too: A History of the Neville Brothers, Vol. 2 (1955-1987) (1991)
Treacherous: A History of the Neville Brothers (1955-1985) (1986)

Lee Dorsey
Holy Cow!: The Very Best of Lee Dorsey (2006)
Yes We Can, Night People (2005)
Lee Dorsey (Pickwick) (1995)
Yes We Can and Then Some (1993)
Night People (1978)
Yes We Can (1970)
Ride Your Pony (1966)
The New Lee Dorsey (1966)
Working in The Coal Mine (1966)
Single: Workin' in The Coal Mine — Spotify | MOG
Single: Ride Your Pony — Spotify | MOG
Single: Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky — Spotify | MOG

Ernie K-Doe

Absolutely the Best (2001)
Single: Mother in Law — Spotify | MOG
Single: A Certain Girl — Spotify | MOG

The Wild Tchoupitoulas
The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976)
Single: Brother John — Spotify | MOG
Single: Meet de Boys on the Battlefront — Spotify | MOG
Single: Hey Pocky A-Way — Spotify | MOG

Johnny Adams
The Tan Canary: New Orleans Soul 1973-1981 (2007)
New Orleans Rhythm & Blues Vol.1 (1995)
Greatest Performances (1993)

Smiley Lewis
Shame, Shame, Shame (1993)
Single: The Bells Are Ringing (a 1965 release)

Sonny Landreth & Bayou Rhythm

South of I-10 (1995)
Single: Great Gulf Wind — Spotify | MOG

Trombone Shorty
Backatown (2010)
Single: On Your Way Down — Spotify | MOG

James Andrews
Satchmo of the Ghetto (1998)

Chocolate Milk
We're All in this Together/Milky Way (2010)
Ice Cold Funk: The Greatest Grooves of Chocolate Milk (1998)
Milky Way (1979)
Comin' (1977)
Action Speaks Louder than Words (1975)
Single: Action Speaks Louder than Words — Spotify | MOG

Yakamay (2010)
Single: Bacchus — Spotify | MOG

Marva Wright
After the Levees Broke (2007)
Single: The Levee is Breaking Down — Spotify | MOG

Walter "Wolfman" Washington
New Orleans Rhythm & Blues Vol.2 (1995)

James Rivers
New Orleans Rhythm & Blues Vol.3 (1995)

Deacon John Moore
Jump Blues (2003)
Single: Let the Good Times Roll/Feel So Good
Single: Losing Battle — Spotify | MOG

Amadee Castanell, Jr.
Sax Dreams (1999)
Amadee (1996)

Oliver Morgan
I'm Home (1998)
Single: Honey, I'm Home

Frankie Miller
The Very Best of Frankie Miller (1993)
Frankie Miller's High Life (1974)

Albert King
The Heat of the Blues (2007)
Tomato Years (1994)
The Ultimate Collection (1993)
New Orleans Heat (1978)
Single: Get Out of My Life Woman — Spotify | MOG

Patti LaBelle

Nightbirds/Phoenix/Chameleon (2009)
The Essential Patti Labelle (2008)
The Definitive Collection (2006)
Gold (2005)
It's Alright With Me/Released (2001)
Love Songs (2001)
Something Silver (1997)
Greatest Hits (MCA) (1996)
Lady Marmalade: The Best of Patti and Labelle (1995)
The Best of Patti Labelle (Epic) (1982)
Phoenix (1975)
Single: Lady Marmalade — Spotify | MOG

Ramsey Lewis
The Electric Collection (1981)
Routes (1980)

Etta James
Changes (1980)

Paul McCartney
Goin' Home, A Tribute to Fats Domino
Single: I Wanna Walk You Home
Venus and Mars (1975)

The Band
A Musical History (2005)
The Last Waltz (Rhino Box Set) (2002)
The Last Waltz (1978)
Rock of Ages (1972)
Cahoots (1971)
Single: Life is a Carnival — Spotify | MOG
Single: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down — Spotify | MOG
Single: Rag Mama Rag — Spotify | MOG

Levon Helm
Electric Dirt (2009)
Single: Tennessee Jed — Spotify | MOG

Eric Clapton
Clapton (2010)
Single: My Very Good Friend the Milkman — Spotify | MOG
Single: When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful — Spotify | MOG

Elvis Costello

Hot As a Pistol, Keen As a Blade (2006)
Extreme Honey: The Very Best of the Warner Brothers Years (1997)
Spike (1989)
Out of Our Idiot (1987)
Single: Deep Dark Truthful Mirror — Spotify | MOG

Madeleine Peyroux
Standing on the Rooftop (2011)
Single: Ophelia — Spotify | MOG

Joan Osbourne
Bring it On Home (2012)
Single: Shoorah! Shoorah! — Spotify | MOG

Paul Simon
Songwriter (2011)
The Studio Recordings 1972-2000 (2004)
Paul Simon 1964/1993 (1993)
There Goes Rhymin' Simon (1973)
Single: Kodachrome — Spotify | MOG

Little Feat
Hoy-Hoy! (1981)

Phoebe Snow
Rockaway (1981)

Cyndi Lauper
Memphis Blues (2010)
Single: Early in the Mornin' — Spotify | MOG

Steve Earle
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (2011)
Single: This City — Spotify | MOG

Jimmy Buffet
Encores: Live (2010)

Joe Cocker
Gold (2006)
The Anthology (1999)
Luxury You Can Afford (1978)
Single: Fun Time — Spotify | MOG

Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.

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