arts

Til the Fat Man Sings

Fats DominoThe recent release of Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino struck me as remarkable not for its impressive line-up of big names (we’re talking McCartney, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, Neil Young, Elton John, etc.) but for the amazing string of hits credited to this one musician.

Ain’t That A Shame, I’m Walkin’, Blueberry Hill, My Blue Heaven, I Want to Walk You Home, I Hear You Knockin’, Walking to New Orleans, are just a sampling of his incredible output. It might be lesser known, but the song The Fat Man could be the song that started it all, as in rock and roll.

Now 79 years old, Fats Domino is considered by just about everyone to be a living legend, so it was about time somebody put a tribute together, and now Vanguard Records Fats starhas done it. A portion of the record’s proceeds will go to Tipitina’s Foundation and help torenovate Domino’s Lower Ninth Ward office/studio that was almost wipedout by Katrina. You may not remember it, but Mr. Domino had to be rescued by helicopter from his house and lost most of his belongings to the storm and looters. Fats currently lives in Harvey, Louisiana, on the west bank of the Mississippi River, but is hoping to return to NOLA and the Ninth Ward.

Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino was born in New Orleans in 1928. He probably has sold over 100,000 million records in his lifetime, with a distinctive R&B sound that most critics acknowlege laid the ground work for all the rock and roll that was to come. Domino crossed into the pop mainstream with "Ain't That a Shame" and then went on to record 37 Top 40 singles, including "Whole Lotta Fats DominoLoving" and "Blue Monday. The British Invasion of the mid sixties ended the string of hits, but Fats kept on recording and making appearances. In the 80s he no longer left NewOrleans, not even for an invitation to the White House or when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Producers of the tribute double CD album were able to get Yoko Ono to include a John Lennon cover of Ain’t That a Shame and Elton John signed on to do Blueberry Hill. After that, it was easy to attract the likes of Joss Stone, Robert Plant, Toots and the Maytals, Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Randy Newman, Los Lobos, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, and lots of New Orleans musicians on a total of 30 tracks.

Sample some of the tracks on Amazon and you will be knocked out by the totality of his discography. Let’s all buy this tribute album and get Fats back where he belongs.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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