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“A wonderful guy from Scotland, with that hard accent, sandy hair, and with the soul of Otis Redding . . . and I mean not an imitator. I mean this little dude was so soulful and he inspired many songs. And I’m glad he came through my life and let me share a part of his.” That’s how Allen Toussaint recently summed up his one-off collaboration with Frankie Miller.
The album they made together, Frankie Miller’s High Life, is a perfect piece of pub-ready R&B, with Frankie’s single-malt soul poured over the kind of elegant funk only Toussaint could create. Toussaint wrote “Brickyard Blues” just for the session (which would go on to be covered by Three Dog Night and Little Feat), but for our money, the the song you need to start with is “Little Angel,” an unimaginably slinky soul ballad built on Toussaint’s rolling piano groove and a serpentine bass line that sneaks in and around Frankie’s Stax-soaked vocal. Start here, then grab the whole damn album. You won’t be disappointed.
The entire High Life album is available as part of the comprehensive collection, Frankie Miller . . . That’s Who!, which includes the Allen Toussaint’s original, previously unreleased mix of the album as well as the officially released version, which the label had remixed by legendary Detroit soul producer Don Davis (without Toussaint or Miller’s approval). Click on the links below to hear it all.