Allen ToussaintAllen Toussaint
Album: Life,Love And Faith\Southern Nights\Motion
Label: BGO
Tracks: 12+10+10

Three album package across 2 CD's recalling the 1970's solo output of the influential Allen Toussaint. American musician of New Orleans R&B from the 1950s along the way multi-tasking as songwriter, arranger, producer to Elvis Costello, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney among scores of others. Here Allen steps outside these roles to prove himself an able front-man too.

Life, Love And Faith originally released in 1972 includes musicians George Porter Jnr. and Leo Nocentelli both of The Meters a group Allen was often associated with. Consisting of all original songs feature some wonderful horn arrangements "I've Got To Convince Myself" a shining example. The funky "Goin' Down", "On Your Way Down" ballad tripping listener into blues before lifting with the soulful "Gone Too Far". All illustrate a song- writer capable of embracing a range of music genre.

The title track of 1975s sequel Southern Nights became a crossover hit for Glen Campbell, the pop sheen far removed from Toussaint's almost experimental version to be rendered almost unrecognisable. Once again Allen's piano skills come to the fore when Bonnie Riatt and Boz Scaggs both mine hits from the exquisite "What Do You Want The Girl To Do" (suitable re-titled for Riatt), the cover by Scagg's on the excellent 1976 "Silk Degrees" neither quite the equal to the vocal portrayed here.

Surprisingly both Life, Love and Faith and Southern Nights saw little commercial success resulting in sea of change for "Motion" (1978), Allen's first solo work for three years. The shift bringing in Hollywood producer Jerry Wexler and LA session pro's guitarist Larry Carlton (The Crusaders) and drummer Jeff Porcaro (Toto).

"Night People" seems to continue in similar funky vein before the album gives over to mid-tempo arrangements. Distinctly less of a groove yet with the slick production "Motion" remains a pleasing offering, the heavy ballads suggesting worthy of late night listening.

Tony Wilding