Allen Toussaint – 1972 – Life, Love and Faith
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Excellent work from New Orleans soul legend Allen Toussaint – and a set that may well be his funkiest album ever! The set features 12 tracks from the early 70s – a time when Toussaint was mixing a bit of funk into the heavy soul mix that he’d had from his early days in the Crescent City scene – coming up with a blend that’s even darker, and more powerful than all his famous production and projects of the 60s! And while some of Allen’s later work tended towards cliche, this record captures him right at that perfect point when all of this was totally fresh – delivered with a razor-sharp edge, and with great instrumental help from New Orleans legends like Leo Nocentelli, Zig Modeliste, and George Porter Jr – all of whom make the album groove harder than most of the other soul albums on Warner at the time.
A1 Victims of the Darkness 3:30
A2 Am I Expecting Too Much 2:50
A3 My Baby Is the Real Thing 3:05
A4 Goin’ Down 2:58
A5 She Once Belonged to Me 2:51
A6 Out of the City (Into Country Life) 3:36
B1 Soul Sister 2:49
B2 Fingers and Toes 4:07
B3 I’ve Got to Convince Myself 2:43
B4 On Your Way Down 4:00
B5 Gone Too Far 3:27
B6 Electricity 2:33
Allen Tousaint is one of those figures in the world of Soul and Funk who never had a career in the full spotlight. He rather chose to be behind the curtain writing and producing. In doing so Toussaint was a major force behind the development of the Crescent City Sound in the sixties. Although he had something of a solo career in that decade he didn’t get it properly started until the seventies. “Life, Love and Faith” followed the beautiful “From a Whisper to a Scream“, both being Toussaint’s first proper album efforts. Releases before that were aimed at the 45 market as most of the R&B material of the sixties. It wasn’t until people like Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes and Stevie Wonder started to produce records that were meant for the album market that hit big R&B would be taken serious as an album producing field.
Where From a Whisper still leaned heavily into material he originally written for others, Life, Love and Faith would be Toussaint’s first album that stood on its own. Instead of producing for the Meters, the legendary funk band became his backing group on this outing adding a horn section. As many of his contemporaries Toussaint moved away from safe grounds. The album dealt with adult themes. Relational song gained depth and Toussaint asserted himself politically.
Although Life, Love and Faith is on par with the better work of mentioned album artists in the R&B field he never got the commercial recognition those artists got, his biggest successes remained productions for others. Listening to the record now it is a mystery. Life, Love and Faith contains solid song writing, moving, catching and still relevant. The music is funky, light and breezy yet manages to grab your attention, keep you focussed. It is music in service of the song yet exhilarating.
In recent years Toussaint has gotten some more recognition for his role in the development of R&B peaking for now with his collaboration with Elvis Costello. Their album features one of the key songs on Life, Love and Faith, Going Down. Anyone who enjoyed that album will certainly enjoy this album;
Anyone who loves classic Soul will love it. This is pure Soul Majesty.
You can also enjoy his 1975 classic LP “Southern Nights” in our back pages here.