Allen Toussaint: The Great Collaborator

Nov 1, 2012

Allen Toussaint — the  New Orleans producer, arranger and songwriter — has given entertainers around the world something to sing about for a half-century.

The list of collaborations is impressive: R&B, funk, jazz, rock and country. And all those hours in the studio, with so many types of artists, has given Toussaint some insight into the creative process.

"The song is totally secondary," he tells Gwen Thompkins. "And whatever musicians I put behind them and the atmosphere that I set up is to put them in an atmosphere where they can be most creative, and feel wonderful about themselves and deliver that."

He told us he wants to hear his collaborators soar. And they do.


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

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