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One of the More Engaging Exports from New Orleans,
This review is from: Greatest Hits: Walking To New Orleans (Audio CD)
"Fats Domino: Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans" (September 2007) is a good, thorough, one disk compilation of all the 1950s hits, on Imperial, that made the piano-playing Domino famous. And a few more seminal bits and pieces, too: the CD's got 30 cuts in all. It's also a solid illustration of what makes Domino one of his hometown's --New Orleans -- most engaging, entertaining exports.
The cuts included here, like all Domino's work for Imperial, were produced by his close, long-term friend Dave Bartholomew, and what a stroke of luck that proved for the musicians. Domino and Bartholomew also wrote many of the biggest hits together: I expect those royalties have added up to quite mountain of Carnival gewgaws over the years. Seems like Domino got in on the ground floor, when Bartholomew and Lew Chudd, owner of Imperial, joined forces, and went looking for exciting new acts around the Big Easy. They found the barely twenty year old Domino playing a local club, utilizing a half-forgotten old-style of pianism, what they called locally jailhouse blues. Nobody else was doing it - Bartholomew and Chudd were blown away. The trio cut their first single, "The Fat Man," in 1950, and, for several years thereafter, Domino's work languished in rhythm and blues. But times were changing, and Domino crossed over into rock and roll with "Ain't It A Shame," in 1955. If you were around at the time, you'll know that white singer Pat Boone quickly covered it, as "Ain't That a Shame," and had a pretty big hit with it, too. But Domino and Bartholomew were getting the royalties, even so, and were able to cry all the way to the bank.
Many more hits followed, several of them covered by white performers at the time. But the hits live to this day, alive on the radio and in our hearts, in Domino's smooth stylings. Every one of them is in this compilation: "My Blue Heaven", "I'm In Love Again," "When My Dreamboat Comes Home," "Blueberry Hill, "Blue Monday," "I'm Walking," "Whole Lotta Loving," "I Want to Walk You Home," and "Walking to New Orleans." You have to say that these guys had a big hand in creating rock and roll, ribald, good time category.
Some years ago, I was lucky enough to see Domino in person, in Las Vegas. He was good-humored, highly entertaining - and, perhaps he was inspired by the venue, but those diamond rings all over his piano-playing hands winked, flashed and sparkled in the limelight: I sure admired the one on his right pinky finger. The man is definitely one of the more engaging exports to come out of New Orleans.