This is a guest blog post from WC’s buddy David James, who says it better than WC could.
Another great one gone, but his professional career began seventy years ago this past summer, he waxed his first record sixty-eight years ago, and he was still performing not too many years ago. So we got to have him for a very long time.
In the never ending argument over what should be called the first true rock ‘n’ roll record, his 1949 R&B hit “The Fat Man” is a leading contender, even if a few earlier recordings can probably make a stronger claim. In his later years he was showered with love from fans around the world who recognized him as one of the great originators of the sound that came from the poorest neighborhoods of the American South and found its way into virtually every country on Earth.
But despite being present at the birth of that singular American contribution to the world’s culture, he always remained rooted deeply in the blues piano sound of his birthplace and beloved hometown of New Orleans. It’s a tradition that stretches back to before the dawn of the twentieth century and includes far too many legends to name here. Once your ears discover it, they’ll never let you quit wanting to hear it, and he was one of the great masters who took hold of that sound, pushed it into new frontiers, and then gracefully passed it forward to succeeding generations. He’s a big part of why New Orleans music remains so vital to the sound and the soul of America.
He was a brilliant pianist, yet he preferred to play in sizable bands and to let his sidemen shine on stage rather than hog the limelight all to himself. He was a leader who understood that collaboration only made him sound better. He’s left an enormous legacy of music. If you don’t have a decent selection of his work in your music collection, you need to add it to your music collection.
Here he is with a full band, playing classic Crescent City Rhythm & Blues. The late, great Fats Domino.
Rest in peace Antoine Dominique Domino Jr., 1928-2017.