Was just in Chicago for Mrs. YHT’s brother’s wedding, and I managed to sneak in a couple record store stops.
I struck out at the Madison Street location of Reckless Records — just a few blocks down State Street from our hotel — on Friday afternoon, but I took advantage of a free hour on Saturday morning by Ubering over to Dusty Groove, which was a couple of miles away. I had to hurry, which was unfortunate, because their jazz section was something to behold. Dozens of albums behind each alphabetical divider. I’ve become monomaniacally focused on finding this one Chico Hamilton album — El Chico, thanks to AnEarful — and they didn’t have it, but I would have happily flipped through every jazz record thy had, just to take in the panoramic beauty of that kind of collection.
I quickly poked around elsewhere. I ended up passing on a new repress of Max Richter’s Songs from Before, which will probably haunt me, but I did latch onto a copy of the posthumous Allen Toussaint album that just came out. I’ve been listening to it via Spotify a bunch, both at work and at home. I first gravitated toward “Mardi Gras In New Orleans,” a song I played repeatedly in the hotel room while Mrs. YHT and I were in New Orleans in December. That was Professor Longhair’s upbeat version, but this version is slower, almost elegiac. Really affecting, especially given Toussaint’s recent passing.
The other song I’ve gravitated toward is the cover of Paul Simon’s “American Tune.” It suits Toussaint’s soft voice, and having a hard copy of that song might have been justification enough for buying the record and schlepping it all the way back to Richmond, but Side D sold me. The three bonus tracks — not available on Spotify as of yet — including two extra Longhair tunes and “Moon River,” which tends to rip my heart out of my chest every time I hear it. I’m typing this on the plane ride home, so I haven’t listened yet and don’t know if it’s instrumental or if Toussaint sings those sweet, fatalistic lyrics. If it’s the latter, I may never recover.
Allen Toussaint — “American Tune” (Paul Simon cover) [Spotify/iTunes]