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Thread: Jesse Winchester / Allen Toussaint

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Jesse Winchester / Allen Toussaint

    Below is a video by Allen Toussaint. It’s a tribute to Jesse Winchester who passed away last year.



    When Jesse’s music first came out, he was a cult figure here in the south with a small, but truly devoted following. I knew folks, especially out in the country, who would dress like Jesse, grow a beard like Jesse, and devoted their lives to farming, the sort of “noble rural life”, as Jesse called it, that his father brought him up in.
    Last edited by southcoastukes; 11-10-2015 at 08:05 AM.
    Dirk Wormhoudt



    website: http://www.southcoastukes.com

    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

  2. #2
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    Default Part Two

    He was never well known, though he made a decent living through the scores of recordings others made of his songs. That was always a puzzle to me, as I thought his recordings were wonderful, and he was an accomplished performer as well. Especially later in life, he could bring an audience to tears with just his voice, his lyrics and a guitar. Here is maybe his last performance, where he did just that:




    Jesse and Allen were friends and shared the stage together at times, often alongside Jimmy Buffet. It’s hard not to believe Jesse wasn’t thinking of Allen a bit when he wrote that song above. After all, if anyone could be called the “King of Shing-a-Ling”, it would have to be Allen. He wrote “Jada”, “Ya Ya”, “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”, “Te Ta Te Ta Ta”, “Looka Py Py”, “Eenie Meenie Minie Mo”, “Great Googa Mooga”, and there’s more where that came from. Some of the lyrics mean something to the few in New Orleans who speak the old Creole dialect, but most are just what Jesse calls “the young folk’s funny rhymes”.

    Somehow I missed the news when Jesse passed away. It goes to show how sometimes you lose track of some of the things you love when you get too caught up in the details of day to day living. I only found out a couple of weeks ago when I decided to see if there was a chance he might come to this year’s Jazz Fest. I’d been playing a lot of his music since.

    I had to go to a family funeral yesterday, and I thought to sing (more like mumble, really) a few bars of “Bye Bye”. Then this morning we have the news that Allen Toussaint has passed away following a performance last night in Madrid. He wrote songs that made us smile, but gave us any other emotion you can think of as well. Probably the most prolific writer in the history of R&B, he was covered by English artists like the Rolling Stones and could even write ballads that appealed to country artists, as when Glen Campbell covered his "Southern Nights". In a city of incredible piano players, he was the finest, and as a producer, he was equally gifted, arranging albums by an array of artists including Paul McCartney and Paul Simon.

    It’s been pretty grey and dreary down here lately. We could use a little “Shing-a-Ling”.
    Last edited by southcoastukes; 11-10-2015 at 06:00 PM.
    Dirk Wormhoudt



    website: http://www.southcoastukes.com

    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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    Default Jesse Winchester - Nothin' But a Breeze

    Hi Dirk,

    I was searching UU, looking for something I remembered you posting about strings in the past, when I stumbled across your post about Jesse Winchester.

    I know it is an old thread here but I thought you might be interested to know that one of my all-time favourite songs is Jesse's "Nothin' But a Breeze".

    I always got the impression that Jesse was an OK sort of guy so, when I covered it on ukulele, I emailed him to let him know. I hoped he would reply but I was amazed when he replied the same day.

    Like you, I was very sad to hear when Jesse passed away.

    I had come across this quote by Bob Dylan before, "You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him”.

    In an obituary to Jesse, Janis Ian wrote, “As underrated a singer as Chet Baker. As underrated a guitarist as Willie Nelson. A man who held the audience in the palm of his hand without moving an inch. One of the best songwriters on earth. Damn damn damn.” (“Tribute: Jesse Winchester”, LVVN Music, 7 April 2014)

    And a really nice guy who could be bothered to reply promptly and kindly to "ukulele fan mail".

    12 June 2013

    Dear Jesse,

    Nothing But A Breeze has stayed as one of my favourite songs since a very musical friend played it to me in the 1970's. We lost touch, met again over 20 years later and I asked him to play it to me again. Then I learned to play the ukulele and sing a bit and he helped me to work out the chords - D is fine for him but a little too high for me.

    There is something very magical about this song and I do hope my attempt and the video please you :-)





    Best wishes,

    Liz Panton


    Thank you, Liz - that was beautiful - I'm very touched.

    Keep picking,


    Jesse Winchester



    Thank you - I am VERY glad that you liked it.

    I hope you keep in good health for long to come!

    Best wishes,

    Liz


    9 August 2014

    My sincere condolences to Jesse's family. I was very sad to hear that Jesse had passed away and know he must be a great loss to his nearest and dearest family and friends.

    With all best wishes,

    Liz Panton

    As you can see, it was a while too before I heard that Jesse had died.

    I hope you enjoy my ukulele version of "Nothin' But a Breeze", Dirk. It always goes down well as a cover song, I am always asked who wrote is and I never cease to be amazed how few people have heard of Jesse. He definitely deserved MUCH wider recognition.

    Best wishes,

    Liz
    Liz Panton aka "Ukulele Allsorts"

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default

    Hey, Liz -

    Another one of my "Jesse favorites" (there are so many!).

    Thanks for posting!
    Dirk Wormhoudt



    website: http://www.southcoastukes.com

    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

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