Graham Reid | | 1 min read
In the days after Hurricane Katrina it was believed that this great New Orleans r'n'b singer had been washed away.
Fortunately he had been rescued although his home, like much of that wonderful city, had suffered extreme damage.
The interesting thing about the rumours of his death was the sudden recognition of his talent in the wider world: he had been one of the earliest influences on rock'n'roll -- and of course elevated bling to an art form decades before the hip-hop generation discovered it.
His songs such as Ain't That A Shame, Blueberry Hill, Walking to New Orleans, My Blue Heaven and others brought the New Orleans style into popular culture, although these days they aren't much played outside of maybe a few soundtracks and the odd adventurous classic hits radio station.
This double album is therefore a timely reminder of Fats Domino's great catalogue as a roster of stars line up to cover his songs: and it is quite some rollcall -- Neil Young, Norah Jones, Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams, Toots and the Maytals, Irma Thomas, Paul McCartney with Allen Toussaint, John Lennon (phoning in Ain't That A Shame from beyond the grave), Dr John, Joss Stone, Bonnie Raitt, BB King, Tom Petty . . .
And of course the hometown crew turn out too: Dr John, Ivan Neville, Big Chief Monk Bourdreaux . . .
That everyone from reggae and pop stars through to country singers (Willie Nelson) and Tex-Mex folk-rockers (Los Lobos) can find something in Domino's music and style is a powerful testament to the strength and universal appeal of his music.
Tribute albums often require very selective listening but these two discs -- proceeds to the Tipitina Foundation to rebuild the musical culture of the Big Easy -- can just keep on playing and reveal more each time.