Soul, blues, R&B, and especially funk would all sound decidedly different today—and would’ve counted for much less over the years—had Crescent City legend and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Allen Toussaint never been born. Toussaint’s productions and songs (covered by The Band, Elvis Costello, Irma Thomas, The Rolling Stones, among many others) defined New Orleans’ musical ascension beginning in the early '60s. And by 1975’s Southern Nights, Toussaint had it all down. From the happy-hoppy funk of “Last Train” and “Basic Lady” to the heartstring-jerker “What Do You Want the Girl to Do” to the lovely country teardrop “Back in Baby’s Arms,” Toussaint’s Big Easy sonic footprint is omnipresent. The title song tells of Toussaint’s nostalgia for the Creole-speaking generations of his grandparents and works like a haunting drive through late-night Louisiana—a tone completely lost on Glen Campbell’s 1977 hit version. This American treasure couldn’t do vocally what Lee Dorsey or Lowell George did with his compositions, but no matter. His country croon and barroom scamp do just enough to transport the emotional weight in his songs.