Fats Domino – My Blue Heaven: The Best of Fats Domino

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

Perhaps the least known and celebrated of the rock ‘n’ roll forefathers, Fats Domino was actually a huge star in the 1950s. By 1955, he had five gold records and in the next half decade, he had eleven Top Ten pop hits. And who else has had the same song covered by both Pat Boone and Cheap Trick? Born Antoine Domino, Jr. in 1928, he became the face of New Orleans rhythm and blues, perhaps assisted by his gentle and unassuming manner. His career lasted into the 1990s. There were riots at at least four of his concerts in the ‘50s, due to the mix of alcohol and integration. Domino also served as a session pianist for other artists. Supposedly, the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna” was Domino pastiche, and Elvis was a big fan. He died in 2017.

What I Think of This Album

Twenty tracks of Fats Domino go down very easily, both because of the good-natured, catchy songs and because most of those tunes top out around the 2:00 mark.

Most of the album is given over to Domino’s mid-1950s output, and much of it shuffles along nicely courtesy of drummers Earl Palmer and Smokey Johnson – playing traditional second line patterns – and also enjoys the contributions of sax players Alvin Tyler, Lee Allen (who also was in the Blasters), and Herb Hardesty.

Many of the songs here were collaborations between Domino and his bandleader/producer/trumpeter/arranger Dave Bartholemew. Throughout, Domino’s slight Creole accent is a delight. Any questions about Domino’s skill on the piano should be put to rest with just one listen to “Whole Lotta Loving” and pioneering rock ‘n’ roll number “The Fat Man.”

This collection contains all the hits (e.g., “My Blue Heaven” (sequenced as the first track, for no good reason), “Blueberry Hill,” “Ain’t It a Shame,” “I’m Walkin’” (with a phenomenal drum intro)), plus several enjoyable lesser known singles. The last few songs are sort of middling, but the bulk of the disc is excellent and essential listening for any student of rock. Dave Bartholemew died in 2019.

The Best Thing About This Album

That it recognizes Domino as one of the great early rock ‘n rollers, on par with (at the very least) Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly.

Release Date

July, 1990

The Cover Art

He’s a happy looking fellow. As with the other Legendary Masters Series titles I own (Eddie Cochran, Jan and Dean), this is decent art considering that the record company was responsible for it.

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