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« Elsewhere | Main | Donald on the Pebble Beach Concours »

September 02, 2005

The Fat Man Lives

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

We interrupt our usual programming with a piece of good news that has emerged amidst all the devastation: New Orleans R&B legend Fats Domino, who was feared missing in the terrible flooding, has made it through.

* Fats' very first record -- "The Fat Man," in 1949 -- is sometimes called the very first rock and roll recording.

* It was through Fats' music that much of America first heard the New Orleans sound.

* For those who haven't yet had the pleasure: Hop to! You might start with this bargain beauty of a CD.

* Despite being a shy man who'd just as soon stay at home with friends and cook gumbo, Fats sold more records than any other '50s rock and roll figure but Elvis.

* Here's a wonderful Rick Coleman list of 70 things that make Fats great. A few of them:

  • 6. Fats was born in a shotgun house in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans ... Today, he lives in a (newly-remodeled, hump-backed, double) shotgun house in the Ninth Ward with the word "FATS" proudly blazing across the front.
  • 27. Fats is a master of lyrical minimalism -- "Ain't That A Shame" has less than three dozen different words, "Whole Lotta Lovin'" less than two dozen; "Hey! La Bas Boogie" has only six French Creole words, and no one is quite sure what they mean!
  • 42. He's a great cook, with two flavors designed to fit either taste: very spicy-hot, or yeoowwwwwwww!

* Here's a nice USA Today visit with Fats, from 2002.

* The jazz critic Tom Piazza (this is a terrific collection of reviews and recommendations) once told me about seeing Fats bring down the house at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: "And in the middle of the final song, Fats stood up from his piano and, using his belly, he pushed that piano all the way across the stage. That was a big stage. And that was a grand piano!"

* Here's Fats' own website.

Sniffling with relief and gratitude,


posted by Michael at September 2, 2005


Thank goodness Fats is doing alright. I wish everyone in New Orleans and the surrounding region could say the same. Here's hoping everyone gets all the help we can muster ASAP.

In a small aside in the middle of this vast human tragedy, I would say that, for me, Fats is one of the few people who manage to make me believe (while listening to him, anyway) that no more elaborate art form is really necessary than the 2.5 minute, ultra-commercial pop song.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on September 2, 2005 5:35 PM

Actually, I wonder if all the honest to
God poor people who are stuck down there truly appreciate the rescue of someone who has the financial wherewithal to leave when told to and then doesnt do it when a Cat 4 hurricane is coming right at him.

Posted by: Deb on September 2, 2005 8:19 PM

The rescuing of people who clearly had the wherewithall to leave when told to is being done at the expense of those who could not leave.

Posted by: pak wan-so on September 3, 2005 4:16 PM

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