Monday, June 27, 2005

The Rhine Oaks - Tampin'

The Great Tousan!

Here’s an interesting one. A few weeks back on, someone let on that they had scored a 45 that was supposed to be the Meters recording under an assumed name. Instantly my seventh-sense (that’s the one that all diggers have) began to work. It starts to kick in when word of an interesting new record sets in motion the innate digging “instinct”. The brain starts buzzing, the fingers get itchy, the Google starts a-Googling. You know how it is…. Anyway…. I start looking and in about 5 minutes I track down a copy, listen to a sample and decide that the stars are aligned, the price is right and my crates are crying out for such an addition. Fast forward a couple of days and the 45 drops through the mail slot and onto the deck of the old GP3. I listened to the flip side (‘Oleancler’) first, and was greeted by a pleasant slice of Bacharach-inflected pop. I flipped the disk over and was more than pleasantly surprised. The sounds on ‘Tampin’’ would suggest a few things to me. A. The Meters could very well be involved. The drums they are snappy- the clavinet she’s a clavinetty, and the guitar is Nocentelli

B. If it’s not ALL the Meters, it would appear that some of them, along with Monsieur Toussaint sitting in for Mr. Neville on the keys were definitely involved. I'd be willing to bet that someone who had access to session logs would find that this was recorded around the time of Willie West's 'Fair Child' or Eldridge Holmes' 'Pop Popcorn Children'.

C. This is the only record the ‘Rhine Oaks’ ever made (and where in the name of all that is holy did Toussaint come up with that name???) The tune has a humid, swampy groove, like the soundtrack of someone poling a boat along, pushing Spanish moss out of the way, and sucking on the business end of a big, fat joint. A close look at the label, listing Allen Toussaint as the writer and producer (along with Marshal Sehorn) of both sides, and the tell-tale instrumentalizing, suggests to me that this is indeed a one-off studio project from the extremely fertile mind and fingers of the Great Tousan. Either way, it’s a groove…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

when i say that i'm in love, you best believe i'm in love L.U.V. with this blog!!
huge thanks,

6/28/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...


6/28/2005 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous pwr said...

sounds a bit like the instrumental track Memphis from Soul Revolution by the original Wailers. Produced by Lee 'Scratch' Perry and thus included on numerous compilations of early ('69-'72) Bob Marley material.

6/29/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

You're right! Same melody. The plot thickens. I'm guessing Marley et al heard Toussaint's version first. The ATCO catalog number suggests that the Rhine Oaks was released in '70. Pretty strange intersection of tunes, especially something so obscure!

6/29/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous pwr said...

which came first? could be either way - i've always thought that the meters and toussaint were aware of reggae riddims; on the other hand new orleans music is big in jamaica and i think some N.O. radio stations reach the island. Other trivia note is that the melodica on the Wailers version is played by the man Peter Tosh.

6/29/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Hey, Larry. Just saw this post. While I don't own this single, a friend in Memphis loaned me his; and I copied it about 15 years ago. Glad I did, as I haven't seen one since. It's now burned to CD. Anyway, we debated the year on this thing at the time. But you are right, it's 1970 vintage. That would put the Meters in the studio.
But I also tend to agree with your assessment that it might only be some on the Meters plus Toussaint and horns. "Oleancler", which is surely a typo for oleander (a common New Orleans blossom), sounds much more like what AT did with the Stokes than what the Meters were up to, with "Tampin'" falling somewhere inbetween. It's an interesting, rare one-off from the House of Toussaint, that's for sure.

By the way, about the name. One of Marshall Sehorn's publishing
companies was Rhinelander Music (maybe a nod to his Germanic heritage) which published a lot of the Meters' catalogue. Anyway, I'm guessing Toussaint got the 'Rhine' from there and the 'Oaks', of course, from the live oaks that grace New Orleans.

6/29/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey y'all,

The session logs say this was recorded on September 16th 1969 in New Orleans - can't tell if that is at Cosimo Matassa's studio or more likely at Seasaint studio as Toussaint and Sehorn both produce. doesn't list personnel, but I think it's highly likely it's the Meters minus Art Neville with Tousan on piano. The Eldridge Holmes / Pop Popcorn Children was taped in July '69 at Lefevre Studios in Georgia, but the horns sound very similar and that also features piano instead of organ, so it could be the same crew. My hunch is that Rhine Oaks was the name of Toussaint's house in N.O. at the time, but can't verify. Maybe George Porter (bassist) can verify all this...


4/05/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger מערבל בטון said...

Hi :)
Interesting! Just came back from kingston with one very used copy i've found at the record shop that avove it was Studio17 located..the very studio in which Lee Perry recorded the original wailers...

5/22/2012 03:20:00 PM  

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