Lee Dorsey – 1970 – Yes We Can
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This album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Allen Toussaint and Lee Dorsey were a perfect match and the work they created together is unsurpassed in it’s brilliance and inventiveness.
The Yes We Can album captures a peak moment in Allen’s work with songs like “Riverboat“, mentioned in the previous review with it’s genius drum patters, written by Allen and played by New Orleans drumming legend, James Black.
A1 Yes We Can (Part 1) 3:30
A2 Riverboat 2:34
A3 Tears, Tears and More Tears 3:20
A4 O Me-O, My-O 2:43
A5 Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley 2:51
A6 Yes We Can (Part 2) 3:28
B1 Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further? 3:04
B2 Games People Play 3:14
B3 When the Bill’s Paid 2:28
B4 Occapella 2:42
B5 Gator Tail 3:03
B6 Would You? 3:47
Arranger and producer Allen Toussaint knows that funk can be subtle and still hit hard. With The Meters as the backing band, you know you’re getting excellent musicianship. And to top it all off, Lee Dorsey possesses one of the most soulful yet commonman deliveries in all of rhythm & blues. What more could you want? How much more could you even handle?
Yes We Can is 12 songs of pure New Orleans splendor, each track a Toussaint original. It’s flat out thrilling to hear the horns laze ‘n slide in on the title track and then punch it up right when your defenses are down. The smoky blues percussion of “Riverboat” can be accused of giving the listener whiplash. The voodoo grind of “Occapella” can shake the nastiest curse. The bassline of “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further?” is a powerful statement all on its own. And then you add Toussaint’s wicked songwriting talents and Lee’s humble but purposeful delivery on top of it all and, before you know it, you’re addicted.
And with all due respect (and then some, and then some more, and then even a wee bit more on top of it all) to Allen Toussaint and The Meters for providing the oomph and the groove and the howl and the chill of Yes We Can, the real aspect that pushes the album over the top for me is the personality of Lee Dorsey. He pulls off the call-and-response of “Would You?” with genuine quiet class. He pumps through “Tears, Tears and More Tears” with unmatchable urgency and shamelessness.
His smooth delivery in “O Me-O My-O” makes me want to break it down somehow or someway, whatever that entails. And when he finally cuts in on Part II of the title track, I get goosebumps. There’s a magic to Lee Dorsey’s presence on every record, and when you throw Allen Toussaint and The Meters into the mix, it’s unbeatable.
This is real funk. Pure New Orleans soul.