Live in Philadelphia 1975
A brand new (posthumous) release this was on the list of Record Store Day exclusives and you could argue that it was cynically timed and placed given the recent passing of Toussaint but I prefer to see the official release of this live concert album as a sincere way of honouring him, of showcasing a part of the magic this wise and wonderful musical soul offered.
As a standalone showcase, a taut 35-minute album, this gives a great glimpse of the soulful stabs of piano and New Orleans funk that Toussaint conjured; his voice is fine too – something that wasn’t always acknowledged given it was so easy to crow about his composing, arranging and playing chops.
It’s a great setlist, with High Life an early highlight and the stirring horns of What Is Success framing Toussaint’s philosophical lyrics and circling piano.
There’s gospel soul with Freedom For The Stallion, the flat-out funk of Last Train and Shoo-Ra and Allen and Gary Brown’s medley of tunes is a quarter-hour showcase of jazz and blues workouts going back to the obvious influence of Professor Longhair.
Yes, we are treated to a version of Southern Nights, the album’s penultimate track. And Toussaint’s closing remarks, the final piece on this recording, shows the humble attitude and true soul of the man. A wonderful thing to have and hold now – given the huge hole he leaves, his fingerprints all over so much of the greatest music from the last 40-50 years.