Preservation Scuzz

Hey hey punky way: How CBGB and New Orleans increase a skeptic's respect for history

Fact is, when Central Park SummerStage donated a benefit night to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic September 28, the music wasn't so hot either. "Baton Rouge" met "Dirty Boulevard" in Lou Reed's strong, short set, and Detroiter Bettye LaVette—who did "Saints" as a slow soul anthem, sharp—distinguished herself. But Soulive, who as a fusion band are a fair-to-middling backup band, previewed their album, which does not include the Corey Glover–Vernon Reid "It's Your Thing" that stuck out so. I didn't care that much, though, partly because, singing or playing fills, Allen Toussaint—the Big Easy's greatest popmeister, whose solo work has too often rendered live-and-let-live sententious—had proved so much live-er than his records. As I lolled in the too empty bleachers with one ear on the ballgame, it was all good.

Allen Toussaint, the Big Easy's greatest popmeister
photo: Michael Weintrob
Allen Toussaint, the Big Easy's greatest popmeister

Details

Allen Toussaint
The Allen Toussaint Collection
Reprise/Wea
Stream "Southern Nights"
Stream "Happiness" (Windows Media)

Verbal Abuse
Just An American Band
Beer City Records
Stream "Leeches"
(Windows Media)
Stream "Social Insect" (Windows Media)

Making your own history is important work. It's a trip to hear your brother-in-law pour his heart into a solo. And when the clinic doctor talked about providing services to any musician great or small, I said right on sister.

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