Anyone that knows anything about R&B, especially of the New Orleans variety, knows it's no stretch to describe Allen Toussaint -- who performs at Summerfest Thursday night with Elvis Costello & the Imposters -- as a legend. His production skills, his writing skills and his piano chops are all over New Orleans music of the past 40-odd years.
We've been hearing a lot of people pronouncing Toussaint's last name a little to literally and we think that it requires a subtler approach.
Tou-saint? Not really. Our experts -- Paul Cebar and Eric Blowtorch, two musicians passionate about R&B -- suggest paying less attention to that "i."
"Funny you should ask us two," says Blowtorch, a long-time Cebar friend. "I bet Cebar will give you the opposite answer. I say 'too-SAHNT,' but I suspect the French 'too-SANT' would be OK, too. Remember, his debut album had him billed as 'Tousan.'"
But Blowtorch spoke too soon. Cebar, perhaps the most trusted New Orleans music fan resident in Brew City, agrees with him.
"I think the 'sant' method is the way to go," says Cebar.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.