Fats Domino: This is Fats
Number 997, of 1001 Albums You Must Listen to Before you Die.
I was staggered to read that Fats Domino sold 65 Million records during the 50s, and had 39 singles in the charts between ’54 and ’62. I mean, I’m very familiar with Fats but I had no idea that he was on the same level as the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis.
Perhaps that’s because those are the artists my Dad played most while I was growing up. I heard Blueberry Hill, The Fat Man and Honey Chile plenty of times, but the four artists mentioned above got double the amount of air time around my childhood home, so they stick in my mind. I honestly thought Fats was a novelty.
Which is kind of how I feel about this record. There’s nothing dangerous about the tracks on here, and yet that’s how I envision the rock influenced music of this era should sound. They say Fats bridged the gap between RnB and Rock n’ Roll which is interesting because This is Fats reminds me of the safe, middle-of-the-road vibes present in the modern RnB so many of my class mates listened to at high school in the 90s. I don’t know why; I think it’s the tempo, the subject matter and the delivery. Formulaic is a word that comes to mind.
That probably sounds harsh. Fats Domino does have a great voice, rich like caramel, and he knows his way around a piano. He’s has obviously played a huge role in modern music, and according to 1001 Albums he’s influenced everyone from The Beatles to Pat Boone. So, if I’d been a teenager in the 50s would Fats would have sounded more vital? Perhaps so. For now, this collection of mid-tempo love songs based on the 12 bar blues ain’t exciting me. Like the Elvis record I wrote about previously, maybe I’m rebelling against my dad here. But hey, don’t let me stop you from checking This is Fats out for yourself.