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Fats Domino has died.


junkcar

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Loved Fats, listening to him in my Dad's car in 1958 when I was 4-5...he was all over the dial. Fats and big steering wheels are engraved in my brain! RIP Fats...Thank You! You rose above!

 

 

My friend Joe Lauro's Fat's film from a few years ago which ran on NYC PBS and I would think on other stations nationwide:

[video:youtube]

 

[video:youtube]

 

 

I worked with Joe in 3 Bands - The Moondogs, the Lone Sharks and the Hoodoo Loungers ...Joe is an upright and electric bass player! He owns Historic Films also and has made a number of music films and documentaries.... including this one one on Howlin Wolf from 6 years ago or so: [video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9Tw-qau6Hw

 

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Last week I performed Van Morrison's "Domino". I had never heard the song before. From the lyrics I guessed it was about Fats Domino. When learning the piano & brass parts I wondered how close it was to the inspiration. It felt like Lady Madonna. I just read those two songs share the same inspiration. ... Now it's time for me to go the source.

 

Thank you, Keyboard Corner, for being able to talk about our instrument and its giants. It seems like a whole lot of us rest on the shoulders of this particular giant.

 

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Fats Domino, one of the architects of rock 'n' roll, died yesterday at 89 years old at his daughter's suburban New Orleans home. Haydee Ellis, a family friend, confirmed the news to NPR. Mark Bone, chief investigator for the Jefferson Parish Coroner's office, tells NPR Domino died of natural causes.

In the 1940s, Antoine Domino, Jr. was working at a mattress factory in New Orleans and playing piano at night. Both his waistline and his fanbase were expanding. That's when a bandleader began calling him "Fats." From there, it was a cakewalk to his first million-selling record "The Fat Man." It was Domino's first release for Imperial Records, which signed him right off the bandstand.

Producer, songwriter, arranger and bandleader Dave Bartholomew was there. He described the scene in a 1981 interview now housed at the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University. "Fats was rocking the joint," Bartholomew said. "And he was sweating and playing, he'd put his whole heart and soul in what he was going, and the people was crazy about him so that was it. We made our first record, 'The Fat Man,' and we never turned around."

 

Between 1950 and 1963, Fats Domino hit the R&B charts a reported 59 times, and the pop charts a rollicking 63 times. He outsold Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly combined. Only Elvis Presley moved more records during that stretch, but Presley cited Domino as the early master.

 

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Truly a giant. The moment music went from being something I fooled around with to something I took seriously was when I saw the "Fats and Friends" special in the 80s, with him, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles playing together.

 

Haydee Ellis, a family friend, confirmed the news to NPR.

 

Haydee (pronounced "eye-DAY") used to take piano lessons from me. I forget how she befriended Fats, but she once told me about a time he was at her house and they were at the piano, comparing notes on some song. Fats started trying to play it more like the way she did. Then she heard her husband yell from across the house, "Honey, please don't change the way Fats Domino plays the piano!"

 

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I remember Terry Gross interviewing him and somehow the topic came around to "it doesn't matter what the notes are, it just matters how you play them." And she said something like, "Could you play with your elbow and still have it sound good?" And he tried it.

 

And damned if it didn't sound fantastic. Just a few notes, but soulful rhythm and phrasing. It's one of the many times I realized how big the gulf is between the great ones and...well, me.

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I played "Blueberry Hill" at a 50's-themed gig just this past Saturday.

 

None of my band-mates had listened to the tune. Telling them that Fats was one of the originators of rock n' roll and a living legend in New Orleans yielded little more than a couple of eye-rolls. Pearls before swine.

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I'm new to playing rock keyboards. When I get called to do so, I first ask myself: B3 or Wurlitzer, because I only want to bring one keyboard. This time, I chose weighted keys. This time around, I did some research on Southern Rock keyboardists. Started with the guy jamming on the solo I was learning. (Billy Powell, Sweet Home Alabama.) But, I wanted to hear more piano, less guitar. For inspiration. That led me to Pinetop Perkins. And I stopped there. I had never heard of him. But, the moment I heard him I knew I was a fan of his, indirectly. ... Today, I'm opening my ears up for the first time as an adult, to Antoine Fats Domino. And I realize I've been a fan of his, my whole life.

 

Today I realized, what becomes the classic blues guitar riff, comes from the New Orleans Fats style triplet, without the 2nd subdivision. I always figured rock and roll came from the guitar. Chuck Berry, and all. ... I'm wondering now.

 

One thing that does seem clear to me: When asking Wurlitzer or B3, I know that Wurlitzer is simply an easily amplified piano. (In my mind, Rhodes is for the expressive piano. Wurli is for the rock, percussive piano.) So, the Wurlitzer v B3 question is Amplified Piano or Amplified Organ. And now, I'm thinking, as far as rock and roll is concerned, piano came first. And that's something.

 

I'm not saying either one is better. B3 seems to rise as the amplifier rises, propelling the electric guitar into the light. And the piano gets masked. And amplified keyboard options are born.

 

But, Fats Domino has shown me, piano was first. And what a hero he is.

 

__

And to 89, in 2017. From 1928. He saw and heard a lot. And had a sense of how to do so.

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RIP Fats.

Jerry Lee and Little Richard are left now...

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It's hard for me to write about Fats Domino. I knew he had been in poor shape for some time (dementia), but I loved the fact that he was still around, along with the other originators of rock 'n' roll Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis. Then we lost Chuck a few months ago. Little Richard and Jerry Lee are still with us.

 

Fats loved horns and always used a lot of them. I didn't know until many years later who those players were, but they became my heroes Lee Allen, Herb Hardesty. Fats' music was one reason that I wanted to be a sax player when I was a kid. I heard those sax solos which had so much soul and I knew I wanted to do that.

 

And Dave Bartholomew, trumpet player, was key to the Fats sound and songwriting. "Blue Monday' written by Dave Bartholomew and first recorded by Smiley Lewis, is a perfect song. Fats' version had so much soul and rocked so well, it was irresistible to me. But there are so many other great tunes, and they all rocked and swung. You could feel Fats' joy in all of them.

 

I've always loved New Orleans R & B. Fats' driving piano sound was the basis for a lot of that music.

 

My band does a version of "Hello Josephine." Most of the audiences we play to are probably too young to have heard the original. But it gets 'em out on the dance floor every time.

 

I knew this was coming eventually, as it will come for all of us, but it's still a loss. I'm grateful to Fats for all the music he's given me. I will still listen to him. In fact I have 2 hours of his greatest hits on right now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp6VGyKDjls&t=38s

 

"I'm ready, I'm willing, and I'm able to rock and roll all night."

These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Anyone on Facebook should check out Jon Cleary's reminisces and video clip of Fats jumping in to play along on a tune (I think at Fat's house on the piano someone got him after he was flooded out with Katrina).

 

Cleary is worth following for his occasional poetic rambling posts.

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