An amazing piece of work – a massive eight-disc boxed set that contains every one of Fats Domino's 1949-1962 Imperial waxings. That's a tremendous load of one artist, but the legacy of Domino and his partner Dave Bartholomew is so consistently innovative and infectious that it never grows tiresome for a second. From the clarion call of "The Fat Man," Domino's 1949 debut, to the storming "Dance with Mr. Domino" in 1962, he typified everything charming about Crescent City R&B, his Creole patois and boogie-based piano a non-threatening vehicle for the rise of rock & roll. A thick, photo-filled book accompanies the disc, and there's an exhaustive discography that makes sense of Domino's many visits to Cosimo Matassa's studios. If you care about Fats Domino, this is the package for you!
Released in conjunction in 2002 with the four-disc box set Walking to New Orleans, as well as three other titles in EMI/Capitol's Crescent City Soul series, The Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest Hits the Way You Originally Heard Them becomes the definitive single-disc Fats collection on the market nearly by default – it's remastered, it's the one in print, and it has a flawless selection of songs. It's not markedly better than, say, the '90s' definitive Fats compilation, My Blue Heaven, since it has essentially the same track selection and even if the tapes were restored to their originally running speed, the difference is not enough for most ears to notice, but it's still a great collection of some of the greatest music of its time, and it summarizes Domino's peaks excellently. So, if you don't already have a Fats Domino collection, this surely is the one to get.
Of all the early rock & rollers, Fats Domino was the easiest to take for granted, since he made it all seem so easy. Even when it rocked hard, his music was so relaxed, so friendly that it sounded effortless and natural, which was part of the reason that his classic recordings for Imperial in the '50s were so consistently enjoyable. All the hits, many of their flips sides, and most of his album cuts were flat-out fun – maybe not as revolutionary as work by Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and the Everly Brothers, but his body of work for Imperial not only stands proudly next to theirs, but is just as influential. This much is clear after years of hindsight, but in the late '60s he was as passé as any of his peers, even if there were legions of new rockers, from the Beatles to Randy Newman, who were raised on his music.
Discover how Fats Domino's brand of New Orleans rhythm and blues became rock 'n' roll. As popular in the 1950s as Elvis Presley, Domino suffered degradations in the pre-Civil Rights South and aided integration through his influential music.
The most popular exponent of the classic New Orleans R&B sound, Fats Domino sold more records than any other black rock & roll star of the 1950s. His relaxed, lolling boogie-woogie piano style and easygoing, warm vocals anchored a long series of national hits from the mid-'50s to the early '60s. Through it all, his basic approach rarely changed. He may not have been one of early rock's most charismatic, innovative, or threatening figures, but he was certainly one of its most consistent.