Friday, September 02, 2005

A Small Tribute To Fats

I've been thinking about blogging a Fats Domino record for awhile and in the wake of what's happened this week with Hurricane Katrina, I don't think the time has ever been better to do so. Fats, one of the greatest legends in rock and roll history went missing this week after the hurricane hit New Orleans on Monday. He'd stayed behind with his family to ride out the storm. Thankfully, it now appears that Fats has been rescued and is safe.

Let me preface today's post by saying that I'm by no means an expert on the music of Fats Domino. I'm probably not familiar with most of his catalogue, save the biggest hits. Thus, I continue to discover his music through digging for old 45's. And today, I'll share a couple of personal favorites that I've found just that way.

First, from 1961 here's Fats' version of "Ain't That Just Like A Woman". I'm not positive of the origin of this song. It goes back at least to the 1940's with Louis Jordan. Since, it's been recorded by an array of artists from Chuck Berry to B.B. King to Alice Cooper.

Fats' version is up-tempo, with the drums right up front in the mix. His vocals are upbeat and bouncy. The first break is given to the saxophone. Fats' piano isn't prominent until the second break, where the song fades.

The song has great, humorous lyrics, my favorite set being,

"Marie Antoinette met some hungry cats at the gate
They was crying for bread, she said, "Let them eat cake"

Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
They'll do it every time"

You get the idea. It follows this form throughout, with a short two-liner, followed by the refrain. Fats' version charted but certainly isn't in heavy rotation on oldies radio.

Next, here's a 1962 song that Fats co-wrote with Dave Bartholomew, "Ida Jane". It was a b-side that didn't make any impression on the charts. It's been a favorite though since I dug up my copy at a local junk shop last year.

Lyrically, "Ida Jane" reads like a weeper. Fats laments the loss of his girl and the outlook ain't too promising,

"The sun is shining but it's raining in my heart
Ever since me and Ida Jane drifted apart
And if she don't come back today
I guess I'll pass away"

The music is very upbeat though. The drums are pounding, with cymbals clashing on the wailing sax break. There's a bit of guitar running through the background and Fats' piano doesn't play a key roll, save the opening note. But his vocals are pure Fats here, what we've come to know and love. All in all, it's another terrific record.

Here's hoping that Fats Domino and family are all safe and sound.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Fats Domino sold millions of records in his prime and had many a two-sided hit. "What a Price" b/w "Ain't That Just Like a Woman" was his last reasonable sized hit as a two sided hit.
Also, it is worth noting that many of his 50's hits were sped up before release. Imperial's engineer was able to do that very well.