Consumer Guide Album
Fats Domino: My Blue Heaven -- The Best of Fats Domino (Volume One) [EMI, 1990]
Domino was the most widely liked rock and roller of the '50s--nobody hated him, which you couldn't say of Elvis, or Pat Boone, who despite the color of his skin charted just two more top 10 records. Warm and unthreatening even by the intensely congenial standards of New Orleans, he's remembered with fond condescension as significantly less innovative than his uncommercial compatriots Professor Longhair and James Booker. But though his bouncy boogie-woogie piano and easy Creole gait were generically Ninth Ward, they defined a pop-friendly second-line beat that nobody knew was there before he and Dave Bartholomew created "The Fat Man" in 1949. In short, this shy, deferential, uncharismatic man invented New Orleans rock and roll. These 20 two-minute hits, import-only for years, are where he perfected it. I'm overjoyed that the laggards at EMI promise another nicely annotated volume "in the coming months," and will believe it when I see it. Grab this one, kids.