O.T. The Fat Man

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recsec

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Dec 16, 2002, 3:23:40 AM12/16/02
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Yeah yeah I know, this is about someone who made their mark in
alt.culture.us.1950's. Get over it tho. I *think* that one or 2 here would
find this article an interesting read. Least 'n' wise I hope so. It's from
USA Today. I don't read that paper myself tho. But I am happy to read a nre
article about Fats Domino. I have never sen him in concert myself altho he
does play Mardi Gras in Galveston each year. Maybe I'll go this time.
Billy

Fats Domino is 'Walking,' yes indeed, and talking

By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
Posted 12/3/2002 10:14 PM Updated 12/4/2002 12:24 PM

NEW ORLEANS - Fats Domino, a primary taproot of rock 'n' roll, recounts his
own roots with none of the mythology, divine inspiration or burning ambition
that embellishes most legendary biographies.

"Like every other house in the neighborhood, we had an old upright piano,"
he says in his half-mumbled Louisiana drawl. "My brother-in-law, he's the
one who taught me to play. I just kept at it."

For seven decades and counting.

Antoine "Fats" Domino made his debut with The Fat Man, arguably the first
rock 'n' roll record, in 1949. He was 21. Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel,
Bonnie Raitt, Gene Simmons and all three members of ZZ Top were newborns
soon to be weaned on the rollicking boogie-woogie tunes that helped launch a
cultural revolution.

Domino's heyday is newly encapsulated in Walking to New Orleans
(Imperial/Capitol, $59.98), a four-CD rock 'n' roll primer spanning 1949 to
1962, during which time he sold 65 million records.

The 100-track set has all 40 top-10 R&B hits, including 10 that shot to No.
1. Selections range from signatures Blueberry Hill and Blue Monday (Domino's
personal favorite) and covers of Hank Williams' Jambalaya and Your Cheatin'
Heart to rock blueprints Ain't That a Shame and I Hear You Knocking.
(Related item: Listen to Fats Domino career highlights.)

On the rare occasion that Domino takes the stage nowadays, he delivers a
rollicking hit parade with pounding energy and confidence. Offstage, one of
rock's tallest legends turns timid and humble, hiding from acclaim and
ducking the press with a persistence that even his closest associates find
perplexing. While Little Richard still loudly proclaims himself the
architect of rock 'n' roll, Domino, 74, would rather privately play piano
than toot his own horn.

"I don't want to talk too much about myself," he warns gently as he settles
in for an exclusive interview that has been warily coordinated by manager
Reggie Hall, longtime friend Haydee Ellis and Quint Davis, honcho of the New
Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It follows a Jazzfest benefit gala
starring Domino and his veteran band (featuring five saxophone players; a
sixth died after the concert was booked).

Domino's assessment: "I wasn't up to par, but I did pretty good."

The stout and squat singer, sitting in a hotel room packed with musicians
and pals, is impeccably attired in a pale blue shirt, white slacks and
shoes, and his fashion trademark, the bulky diamond-encrusted rings that
never seem to impede his fleet playing.

"I'm used to it," he says, inching his chair away from the tape recorder for
the third time in 20 minutes. "Sometimes when I'm playing I sweat, and they
turn around on me. I don't care for jewelry like I used to, but I wear it
because people are used to seeing me with it. I haven't worn nothing new for
years."

Many would say the same of Domino's music, a fixture on oldies stations but
invisible in current pop culture. Credited for forging a crucial link
between R&B and rock 'n' roll, he triggered a Domino effect that informed
the '60s rock explosion and shaped everyone from Pat Boone and Chubby
Checker (who named himself in honor of Fats) to The Beatles and Sheryl Crow.
He racked up more hits than any '50s-era rocker except Elvis Presley.

Yet new tunes by the unsigned Domino no longer augment his growing catalog
of reissues, compilations and live albums. And ain't that a shame, say
insiders who have heard the tightly guarded demos of Domino's freshly
written songs - compositions that Domino reluctantly acknowledges after much
prodding.

"Yeah, I got a nice song or two," he says. "I got a good song for people who
like to hear something that makes sense. Rap people sell a lot of records,
and good for them. Ain't nothing wrong with that. Myself, I just don't like
the words.

"I got one song called I'm Going to Love You Till the Day I Die. I got
another one called I'm Alive and Kicking, for all those people who are
saying, 'Where's Fats? How come we don't see him no more?' It has a real
good beat to it. I'd like to get it out, but I'm going to wait awhile, till
the time is right. I guess I've got to hurry up before I grow too old."

He smiles broadly and confesses, "I got a song like that, too." And then
he's singing a 1960 B-side:

I'm going to go out dancing every night.

I'm going to see the light.

I've got to do everything that I've been told,

But I've got to hurry up before I grow too old.

"Fats would like to make a record, but his life is not built around being on
that treadmill," says Jazzfest's Davis, who accompanied Domino on overseas
tours years ago. "His focus isn't on it. Maybe the right producer and deal
will come along. The first trick is to get him playing again, while he still
has it.

"This is a non-renewable resource. He's one of the defining voices in rock
history, right up there with Chuck Berry. Fats put his beat and his rhymes
into a synthesis of barrelhouse music and sounds floating around New
Orleans. Every song he did clicked. He traveled where nobody speaks English,
and yet everyone knew the words to his songs."

These days, Davis lures Domino out of hiding every couple of years for a
Jazzfest engagement. The gala this year followed a gig canceled after Domino
got pneumonia.

"Last time I was supposed to perform, I took sick and had to go to the
hospital on the last day of rehearsing," Domino says. "I had a fever of 104.
I spent my birthday in the hospital.

"I like playing in my hometown, and folks here seem real proud of that,"
says Domino, who toured abroad lugging jambalaya ingredients and a broken
hotplate held together by a paper clip.

"I traveled all over for about 50 years. I love a lot of places, and I've
been to a lot of places, but I just don't care to leave home. (He lives next
door to his wife, Rosemary, in New Orleans' poor and gritty Lower Ninth
Ward, his lifelong neighborhood.) I was born and raised here, and I never
lived anywhere else. I played so much in Las Vegas, six months out of the
year, that people thought I lived there. I went to play the Flamingo for two
weeks, and I stayed for 15 years. I ain't particularly good about flying
now."

Inspired by Professor Longhair, Fats Waller, Amos Milburn, Roy Brown and
Louis Jordan, Domino was drawing crowds to the Hideaway when Imperial
Records discovered him.

"I was doing everybody else's records because I didn't have my own songs
then," he says. "I was singing their records pretty good, so they say. Every
time I heard a new record come out, I'd remember every note and play it. I
had good ears for music. So the fella from Imperial was coming around
looking for talent, and he found me."

The Fat Man sold 1 million copies. The rock pioneer bonded with Imperial
arranger/composer Dave Bartholomew, who produced and co-wrote multiple
Domino classics.

Domino's first crossover hit, 1955's Ain't It a Shame (better known as Ain't
That a Shame), reached No. 10 on the pop chart. Pat Boone's antiseptic
version went to No. 1 the same year.

Domino's long ride on the charts is remarkable considering his inflexible
sound and a genial persona that fell outside the trendy categories of sex
symbols and rebels. Lacking menace or flamboyance, Domino's catchy and
durable songs sold on the basis of musical merits.

"They're plain, not fancy," he says. Interrupted by a pounding on his hotel
door, Domino bellows, "I hear you knocking, but you can't come in!" The
entourage howls.

"That number was wrote in my car," Domino says. "Some just pop in your head,
like Ain't That a Shame. You just hear something someone says or you pay
attention to how they say it, and it sticks. I'm Walkin' was just a simple
idea."

Domino says he would perform more often if players would quit dying.

"I tried to keep all my musicians, but they all passed away. They had bad
luck, and their time was up. I didn't fire anybody too often, even if I
wasn't too satisfied with how they played. It's hard to find good musicians
now."

Davis, who orchestrated Professor Longhair's comeback, says, "Fats could
certainly get gigs, but it doesn't suit his lifestyle. Working in the
entertainment industry requires dedication and aggression. You have to be
consumed by it. You have to travel and do interviews."

New Orleans music author Ben Sandmel, drummer for veteran Cajun band the
Hackberry Ramblers, says Domino's gifts have not deteriorated.

"What's amazing about Fats is he still sounds like he did on his old
records, at absolute full strength," Sandmel says. "It's incredible to see
someone who made so much history still playing in peak form. He's very much
beloved and respected, but attention makes him very ill at ease. In a world
of publicity hounds, he'd rather stay home and cook gumbo. People are always
trying to get an interview or do a film, but it would be an ordeal for him.
It's an odd thing for someone so popular to be so self-effacing."

"Fats does have a sense of his place in history," Davis says. "When he pulls
out a picture of himself hanging out with Elvis, he knows what that means.
But it's hard to engage him on what he's meant to music. He changes the
subject. He'd rather talk about how he cooks his pigs' feet."

Presley, his chief competition in the '50s, was never a rival, Domino
insists as he plucks a black-and-white photo of the pair from his suitcase.

"Elvis came to see me before he got a record deal," Domino says. "I liked
him. I liked to hear him sing. He was just starting out, almost. He wasn't
dressing up. Matter of fact, he had plain boots on. He wasn't wearing all
those fancy clothes. He told me he flopped the first time he came to Las
Vegas. I loved his music. He could sing anything. And he was a nice fellow,
shy. His face was so pretty, so soft. I'm glad we took this picture."

While Domino regards Presley as an indisputable icon, he is less concerned
with his own chapter in rock's textbook.

"I ain't particular with that," he says, squirming. "Whenever I play my
music, all I want to do is sound good. My biggest ambition is to keep the
Ten Commandments. I'm doing the best I can."

Beatlfilms

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Dec 16, 2002, 3:32:14 AM12/16/02
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recsec said:

>Domino's heyday is newly encapsulated in Walking to New Orleans
>(Imperial/Capitol, $59.98), a four-CD rock 'n' roll primer spanning 1949 to
>1962, during which time he sold 65 million records.
>
>The 100-track set has all 40 top-10 R&B hits, including 10 that shot to No.
>1. Selections range from signatures Blueberry Hill and Blue Monday (Domino's
>personal favorite) and covers of Hank Williams' Jambalaya and Your Cheatin'
>Heart to rock blueprints Ain't That a Shame and I Hear You Knocking.

Damn! I'm flat gonna have to find a way to secure a copy of this collection.
Sounds fantastic!

Shawn

Dixon Hayes

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Dec 16, 2002, 9:05:54 AM12/16/02
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Billy wrote:

>Yeah yeah I know, this is about someone who made their mark in
>alt.culture.us.1950's. Get over it tho.

I think we all will, "The Fat Man" is worthy! (Besides, remember the song
Richie always sang on "Happy Days" when he was about to get lucky? It was
Fats'
"Blueberry Hill." That puts it back on topic.)

Dixon
===========
"Remember when I used to climb your apple trees and you called me Barney the
Scamp?"
--Barney Fife

Classic Hollywood Squares: http://www.classicsquares.com

The Wanderer

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Dec 16, 2002, 9:30:57 AM12/16/02
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And I used to sing it "I found my thrill on birth control pills...."

--
Buddy
from Brooklyn

http://www.geocities.com/thewanderer315/
http://the70s.cjb.net

"There are certain sections in New York, major, that I wouldn't advise you
to try to invade.' "
Humphrey Bogart as Rick-in "Casablanca"- to nazi officer.

"The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all
other ties, any other history, and himself adopts the vesture of his adopted
land."
James Baldwin
"Dixon Hayes" <dixon...@aol.comspamless> wrote in message
news:20021216090554...@mb-mj.aol.com...

Kelly

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Dec 16, 2002, 9:38:34 AM12/16/02
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rosieon...@nyc.rr.com wrote

> And I used to sing it "I found my thrill on birth control pills...."
>
You take birth control pills?

Explains alot. :-)


--
Kelly


Smile when you are ready

The NightHawk

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Dec 16, 2002, 10:15:47 AM12/16/02
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On Mon, 16 Dec 2002 08:23:40 GMT, "recsec" <rec...@flash.net> wrote:

>Yeah yeah I know, this is about someone who made their mark in
>alt.culture.us.1950's. Get over it tho. I *think* that one or 2 here would
>find this article an interesting read. Least 'n' wise I hope so. It's from
>USA Today. I don't read that paper myself tho. But I am happy to read a nre
>article about Fats Domino. I have never sen him in concert myself altho he
>does play Mardi Gras in Galveston each year. Maybe I'll go this time.
>Billy
>
>

Fats is great. I've seen him in concert a couple of time
and he never fails to entertain.


The Nighthawk
Philosopher, historian, critic, cynic, shaman, priest,
medicine man, writer, wanderer, poet, dreamer, lunatic,
and mendicant purveyor of flatulent didactics. Cigar
smoking guru to the politically incorrect.


http://home.tampabay.rr.com/bluemax/nighthawk.htm

"The wonderful thing about tiggers is
tiggers are wonderful thing!"

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man
to pay for what he does not want merely because
you think it would be good for him
-Robert Heinlein

The Wanderer

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Dec 16, 2002, 11:56:52 AM12/16/02
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You must be talking about my almost tits. LOL No, SHE was on the pill, WE
were on the hill, and I was on the "thrill".

--
Buddy
from Brooklyn

http://www.geocities.com/thewanderer315/
http://the70s.cjb.net

"There are certain sections in New York, major, that I wouldn't advise you
to try to invade.' "
Humphrey Bogart as Rick-in "Casablanca"- to nazi officer.

"The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all
other ties, any other history, and himself adopts the vesture of his adopted
land."
James Baldwin

"Kelly" <msspi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:KzlL9.290$JM5....@newsread2.prod.itd.earthlink.net...

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