Column 3 - published October 5, 1997
The Most Underrated Legend
In 1949, that's almost 50 years ago, that's right, half a century, Fats Domino released his first million selling Rock'n'Roll record: "The Fat Man". Back then they didn't call it "Rock'n'Roll": the music was called "Rhythm & Blues" or "Race Music" or "Boogie Woogie" or, in Fat's case, the "New Orleans' Sound" or even the "Big Beat".Fats is only second to Elvis, as a solo artist, in the number of hit records he racked up over the years, and yet, all too often, when we talk about Rock'n'Roll legends, we mention Elvis and Little Richard and Jerry Lee and Gene Vincent and Bill Haley and Chuck Berry, but somehow we seem to forget Fats!!
Why??? I am not quite sure myself, but may it have something to do with the fact that, unlike Elvis, Gene, Jerry Lee, Little Richard etc., Fats Domino was not too "outrageous"?? If that is the reason, we shouldn't forget that "outrageousness" is only one of the many attributes we should be looking for in Rock'n' Roll music, and probably not the main one at that.
After awhile "outrageousness" stops being "outrageous", but the music still has to withstand the test of time. The most important ingredients in Rock'n'Roll should be fun, good times, a feeling of excitement, exhuberance and sheer joy!!! And.....can you dance to it? Does it swing, does it rock, does it roll?
Are the songs short and peppy and can you sing along with them, all the while you are tapping your feet and clapping your hands? Are the vocals cool and sexy and hot, and do they have a unique distinctive sound?
In the case of Fats Domino the answer to all these questions is a resounding YESSSSS!! Has his music withstood the test of time? HOT DAMN!!
When I was a child in Como and the sky was dark and gray, and it would rain for weeks, with nothing to do but school and homeworks, depression and desperation would set in, but then Fats came to the rescue with "What A Party" and "Country Boy". All of a sudden my mind was in America, in the sunny Southland, in Louisiana, in New Orleans, where real cool cats in turquoise suits would be riding around in their pink Cadillacs picking up pony tailed Southern Belles and having wild rockin' parties!
Thank You, Fats Domino, for making my youth so much happier! To this day, when I am sad, you still come to the rescue, Fats! Thank you again!
When on stage Fats dresses up in pink salmon or lime-green suits and wears a diamond studded Star Of David watch with matching ring, and is backed by his classic hard rockin' New Orleans band to produce the most exciting swingin' New Orleans sound you'll ever hear in your life. Seeing a Fats Domino concert is a miraculous experience you should not miss.
Over the years Antoine Domino released incredible Rockers like "The Fat Man", "I Hear You Knockin", "I'm Walkin", "Let The Four Winds Blow", "Shu Rah", "The Big Beat", "Rockin' Bicycle", "Don't Blame It On Me", and dozens more!
Antoine Domino recorded heart wrenching slow-rock swingers like "Walkin' To New Orleans", "I've Been Around", "I Wanna Walk You Home", "Valley Of Tears" and dozens more! An unparralleled collection of great sounds!
Does this column sound like nothin' but an advertisement for Fats Domino? I sure hope so! And if I convinced you to go to the store looking for Antoine's platters, be sure you buy CDs with the Imperial masters, and preferably the box-set "They Call Me The Fat Man..."
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL : The Fat Man Is Back In Town!!!Always Rollin' The Rock,
Rockin' Ronny Weiser
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