Interview: Fats Domino (Part 2) - JazzWax

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November 05, 2010


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Ed Leimbacher

In 1955-'56, my AF father was stationed in Montgomery. I was 13 and through no effort on my own, present for the Bus Boycott and rise of MLK, early rock'n'roll on Southern radio, etc. Fats and Little Richard, Elvis and Jerry Lee were surely ripping it up.

Then we got sent overseas to Turkey. En route, stopping in England briefly, my folks decided I was old enough to take the London tube a ways alone, so I made a beeline to a cool music shop where I bought the GREAT Fats Rock and Rollin' LP (shown in Part 1) and Elvis's second album (in the infamous garish French RCA soft jacket). I have loved the Fats set for all the years since and still think of it as the PERFECT intro to the swaying sound of New Orleans second-line/r&b/rock'n'roll that you describe as sadly ignored by the city fathers. One listen to the Fat Man raging through "Swanee River Hop" or "Fats' Frenzy" would shape them right up!

Daniel Pepper

Excellent post and Wall Street Journal article! How about mentioning "Junker's Blues" as being related to "Hastings Street", recorded by Charlie Spand and Blind Blake around 1929. Spand's on piano.

Ron Weinstock

I would never have linked "Hastings Street" with "Junker's Blues" which was a pretty traditional tune in New Orleans (Champion Jack recorded it in 1941) and am suspect of this although I will have to dig my Charlie Spand CD out. Daniel, I am not buying your suggestion yet.

Ron Weinstock

Daniel, having just listened to "Hastings Street," I do not see a connection between that and "Junker's Blues." A more likely influence for Fats Domino would be the Boogie Woogie trio, and also Amos Milburn who was arguably the biggest selling R&B artist in the last few years of the forties and played a bit in New Orleans. He and Charles Brown were booked at the Gypsy Tea Room in 1949 for example.

M. Figg

Your post as well as the WSJ piece really got me thinking about what gets left out of any picture, whether it's rock in New Orleans or something else. Thanks so much.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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