Allen Toussaint’s Treasures Found in L.A. Swapmeet

Allen Toussaint performing at the Library of Congress in 2007. Photo credit: Larry Appelbaum

In 2007, the Library presented back-to-back concerts with two quintessential New Orleans pianists Henry Butler and Allen Toussaint. Mr. Toussaint was in the news recently because his legacy studio recordings, long thought lost in the flood from Hurricane Katrina, turned up at a swap meet in Torrance, California. Toussaint wrote, arranged and produced many hits from the Crescent City from the late 1950s-on for Jessie Hill, Ernie K-Doe, Earl King, The Meters and many others. Sam Sweet in the L.A. Times wrote up this fascinating story of found treasures and chose to quote Toussaint from a webcast interview Allen and I had done 12 years ago at the Library. The segment in which he talks about the “lost” recordings begins at 29:45. Sam Sweets’ Los Angeles Times article from August 28, 2019 may be found here.

 

Toussaint, who passed in 2015, received his New Orleans-styled second-line funeral tribute and his fans all over the world paid their respects to a man whose skills, inspiration and acumen helped celebrate one of the greatest American musical traditions.

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