Southern Nights (Allen Toussaint album)
|Studio album by |
|Studio||Sea-Saint Studio, New Orleans|
|Producer||Marshall Sehorn, Allen Toussaint|
|Allen Toussaint chronology|
|Singles from Southern Nights|
Southern Nights is a 1975 R&B concept album by Allen Toussaint. Seminal to the development of New Orleans R&B, Toussaint incorporated into the album elements of funk and soul music, while, according to AllMusic, suggesting neo-psychedelia. Two singles were released in support of the album, "Country John" backed with "When the Party's Over" and "Southern Nights"—Toussaint's signature song—backed with "Out of the City". Although neither single charted for Toussaint, "Southern Nights" as later covered by Glen Campbell in 1977 reached number one in Billboard's country, pop and adult contemporary charts. Released in May 1975 by Reprise Records, the album has been subsequently reissued multiple times on both LP and CD.
Among the better known songs of the album, "Southern Nights" was Toussaint's tribute to evenings spent with his Creole family on a porch in the song-writer's native Louisiana. The song that would become Toussaint's signature song was brought to the attention of Glen Campbell by Campbell-collaborator Jimmy Webb. Campbell released it on an album he titled Southern Nights in February 1977, whereupon it spent four weeks at the top of the country, pop and adult contemporary charts. Toussaint's version of the song was very different from the "cheerful catchiness and...bright, colorful feel" of Campbell's; AllMusic comments in its album review on the "swirling, trippy arrangement that plays like a heat mirage" of Toussaint's version, while The Times-Picayune remarked in 2009 on its "strange psychedelic-swamp-water sound." In 1994, Toussaint came out of a lengthy hiatus as a performer to record the song in duet with Chet Atkins for the compilation album Rhythm, Country and Blues. Toussaint frequently performed the song in concert.
|The Village Voice||C+|
According to 2002's Louisiana Music, the album is regarded as "perhaps...[Toussaint's] signature record"; in 1994, Toussaint himself characterized the album as his best. Although overall a critical success, it was not financially successful and was not universally well received. At the time of its release, Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave the album a tepid "C+", indicating that the first half was good, but not typical of Toussaint's genius. He later revised this grade to a "B-" indicating "a competent or mildly interesting record that will usually feature at least three worthwhile cuts." AllMusic indicates the album should be "part of any serious soul collection", but notes that a few average songs and repetitive instrumental fillers "prevents Southern Nights from being a full-fledged masterpiece".
All tracks composed by Allen Toussaint.
- "Last Train" – 3:01
- "Worldwide" – 2:42
- "Back in Baby's Arms" – 4:49
- "Country John" – 4:45
- "Basic Lady" – 2:58
- "Southern Nights" – 3:36
- "You Will Not Lose" – 3:42
- "What Do You Want the Girl to Do?" – 3:40
- "When the Party's Over" – 2:38
- "Cruel Way to Go Down" – 3:52
- Carl Blouin – baritone saxophone
- Gary Brown – tenor saxophone
- Lester Caliste – trombone
- Joan Harmon – backing vocals
- Steve Howard – trumpet
- Claude Kerr, Jr. – trumpet, flugelhorn
- Ziggy Modeliste – drums
- Charles Victor Moore – guitar
- Jim Moore – flute, tenor saxophone
- Sharon Nabonne – backing vocals
- Arthur "Red" Neville – organ
- Leo Nocentelli – guitar
- Deborah Paul – backing vocals
- George Porter, Jr. – bass guitar
- Lon Price – flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
- Alfred "Uganda" Roberts – conga
- Teddy Royal – guitar
- Allen Toussaint – guitar, harmonica, piano, keyboards, vocals
- Clyde Williams – drums
- Greg Burgess – liner notes
- Roberta Grace – engineer
- Gary Hobish – reissue mastering
- Ken Laxton – engineer
- Bob Merlis – photography
- Patrick Roques – reissue art direction, reissue design
- Filippo Salvadori – reissue producer
- Marshall Sehorn – producer
- George Stavrinos – cover illustration
- Ed Thrasher – art direction
- Allen Toussaint – arranger, producer
|United States||May 1975||Reprise Records||stereo LP||MS 2186|
|United Kingdom||March 1985||Edsel Records||stereo LP||ED 155|
|United States||April 1996||Reprise Records||CD||7599 26596-2|
|United States||2006||Water Records||CD||WATR 177|
|United States||2008||Reprise Records||CD||75407|
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