Ever get stuck on a song? I do from time to time.  Some mornings I will play a track, it will just hit me for six and I will have to play it over and over, sometimes for the whole journey and back again that evening.  Maybe it’s a glitch in the matrix, or I am just a bit further along the spectrum than I’d like to admit, the fact I own some truly great music, or just some compatibility issues with Windows 98 software my brain is running on these days.

Fats Domino Fats' Hits 01 (2)

Today it was Fats Domino ‘The Fat Man’.  A track I have loved for years but never stopped to listen to as intently as I have today.

Any excuse to see Fats’ smile, he just looked like such a nice man.

Fats Domino Fats' Hits 01
The only Fats Domino LP I own is missing this track, but it photographs better than a MP3.

First up, much as I dig Little Richard’s jet propulsion and Jerry Lee’s feral fury, Fats Domino has always been my favourite rock and roll pianist.  What a great voice he had, warm and melodic, gentle as a warm breeze.  There was just a wonderful roll to the way he played* and if anyone has ever recorded a better song than ‘Blueberry Hill’ I have yet to hear it.

Laid down on December 10, 1949 ;The Fat Man’ is considered by many to be the first rock and roll single ever*.  The intro shows off Fats’ ability to make a single piano sound like a whole orchestra – surely the man must have had three hands? and then there’s the lyrics:

 They call, they call me the fat man
´Cause I weight two hundred pounds
 All the girls they love me
´Cause I know my way around

 I was standin´, I was standin´ on the corner
 Of Rampart and Canal
 I was watchin´, watchin´
 Watchin´ all these Creole gals

 Wah wah wah, wah wah
 Wah wah waah, wah wah wah
 Wah wah waah, wah wah wah
 Wah wah wah

 Wah waaa-ah wah
 Wah wah wah, wah wah wah
 Wah wah wah, wah wah wah
 Wah wah wah

 I´m goin´, I´m goin´ goin´ away
 And I´m goin´, goin´ to stay
 'Cause women and this bad life
 They're carrying this soul away

‘The Fat Man’ just makes me happy, maybe not quite as happy as all the girls he’s proven he knows his way around to, but pretty close.  What an opening verse! And the vocalised brass/harmonica verses, followed by that kicker of a final verse … things just don’t get much better than that.

Surely you have to see why I must have played this tune over 30 times today? anyway, I can’t stay, I have ladies to please and a soul to squander.

858 Down (still).

Fats Domino Fats' Hits 02
Includes his crowd pleasing cover of my fave New Order track.

*I think you can hear the legacy of all those wonderful stride piano players like Fats Waller in Domino’s playing.

**top scientists (seismologists?) and philosophers say it’s something to do with the drummer (Earl Palmer) playing the back beat all the way through. Dig it.

18 thoughts on “December 10, 1949

  1. ‘Ever get stuck on a song … play it over and over?” Never. I seen Fats do this and belly buck his piano across the stage. I might have told you this one before but it’s one of about 3 stories i have. Yeah it’s a gem. It and ‘Rocket 88’ are CB’s fossils

      1. I love the Fat Man. His buddy Dave Bartholomew was a big part of the shows. I didn’t even know who he (Bartholomew) was at the time. One other factoid. Lee Allen who played sax in his band ended up playing in the Blasters, one of my all time favorite bands. Great live. It is all connectected to Fats. You would have loved him live. Anything else you need from me today? Great nod by the way. We don’t want to forget these guys. The music still sounds good.

  2. Nice. It’s that transitional sound from R&B towards rock ‘n’ roll, isn’t it? And as you say, something life affirming about Fats.

    On r & r piano players, I’m a big fan of Johnnie Johnson who contributed so much to Chuck Berry’s songs and sound. Still largely unsung.

  3. I have a few Fats on vinyl and cd. Maybe I will grab a one to listen to, although I am quite saddened by the lyrics.

    “…. they call me the fat man cause I weight 200 pounds…”

    As a dude on the wrong side of 200lbs I say wah wah wah.

    1. Yup, I actually played synth on the original recording but they edited me out of the final mix. True story.

      Get some Fats Mike, everyone should.

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