As I have worked on this daily journey, I have occasionally determined through some sort of divine intervention, an absence or gap in my list that mandates an addition and deletion. As we are rolling through the great rock and roll artists of the 1950s, my list would have been entirely incomplete without the inclusion of piano-singer Fats Domino. Although chronologically I may be a day or two late, I have included “Fats Domino Swings”, another collection of releases from across the mid to late 1950s.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Fats was on the early end of amazing and accomplished piano-based vocalists from the Crescent City, a long list that includes Professor Longhair, James Booker, Art Neville, Allen Toussaint, and Dr. John. Fats Domino had more commercial success than many of these masters, and when you listen to this album, it is easy to understand his appeal. Perhaps his most widely known single was “Blueberry Hill”, a song loved by many, to include Richie Cunningham on “Happy Days”. Widely covered by many, including a questionable attempt by Led Zeppelin in concert, “Blueberry Hill” was Fats’ ultimate calling card. That being said, his array of hits reaches much wider. “Blue Monday”, “My Blue Heaven” (he loved blue apparently…), “I’m Walkin’”, and of course, “Ain’t That a Shame” are all required listening when revisiting the infancy of rock and roll.
I have a special affection for the city of New Orleans and its rich musical legacy. You will see this emerge on multiple occasions, and Fats Domino remained a resident and proud emblem of his city, even through the most tragic of circumstances to include Hurricane Katrina. His grace and perseverance serve as an example to all of us, and his music can lift any sad spirit in just a moment’s time.