October 21, 2004

Second of Toussaint Twofer

"Wheel of Fire" (Allen Toussaint)
from Changes, Etta James, T-Electric/MCA, 1980

As with our previous offering, Allen Toussaint produced and arranged this decidedly funky outing for Etta James. "Wheel of Fire" is also one of his three compositions appearing on the disk. Its sultry slow burning strut, and the fact that no one else seems to have covered this Toussaint gem, are the reasons I've picked it out.

Changes, too, has not been reissued, but deserves to be. Etta does soulful justice to not only the tunes by Toussaint but to those penned by Willie Hutch, Carole King (the title track) and obscure NOLA songwriter, Jimmy Jules (aka Charlie Julien). And, as with other recordings done at Sea-Saint during Toussaint's peak production years, the session players are among the HOTG's funky finest: Herman Ernest, III (drums); Tony Broussard (bass); Leo Nocentelli (guitar); Sam Henry, Robert Dabon and Toussaint (keyboards); and Ken "Afro" Williams on percussion.

In doing some research for this post, I've discovered that mp3.com has this entire album available for listening/downloading. I don't know what their source is (master tapes?); but mine is vinyl, as you can tell in a couple of places on my burn. With this little taste, I encourage you to check out the whole thing, if it tempts you. It's a treat.


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