Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Allen Toussaint and ISIS

I saw the sad news today that Allen Toussaint has died while on tour in Spain. I won't claim to be a big fan or anything but I associate him with the all-woman band ISIS in the mid-70s and he produced their album 'Ain't No Backin' Up Now', their second album that I bought in 1975 or 1976. It was my introduction to disco-funk and lesbian politics, heavy on horns and bass lines and some great voices and songs. I played it lots back then when I needed to hear something a bit different, before punk and in need of some non-standard music.

I bought the record unheard because of the cover. I bought it on import in Windows record shop in the Central Arcade in Newcastle (where I also bought Buffy Sainte-Marie albums) and looked at it over several weeks before buying it. I'm pleased that I did since I'd never heard anything like it at that point. This was something very different, something to pay attention to and muse over. I still have the 12" vinyl album and have digitised it since it wasn't available online (but the album is now available on iTunes if you'd like to give it a listen).

Thank you Mr Toussaint for introducing me to ISIS and a new form of music. Rest assured that I'm still listening.

I wonder what the ISIS lasses did after the band. Did they stay in the music biz and thrive or sink without trace? I don't know but they can rest assured that they brought pleasure to me - I'm listening to the album even as I type this blog and can't control my dancing and foot-tapping instincts. That's what funk is for, after all. 

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