Fats Domino has died! Is it possible? Could it be? Why then is the world still turning, how could tonight’s six–day-old moon still reach its meridian with such perfect timing? How could such an influence in my youth no longer be part of our world?
|Almost unforgettable ... Fats Domino singing Blueberry Hill on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. (The calculator must be wrong. Surely it couldn't be 61 years ago.) With thanks to Wikipedia. 'By DVD transfer of video tape, Public Domain, Link'|
Once, though, his music seemed more important than oxygen, and was analysed constantly by the inner me and passed to the lips and blasted in as near a replica as a trumpeter could manage.
A dance band
As a youth, I played in what in those days was termed a dance band. Now we’d be a group. Basically we were piano, drums, and trumpet, and occasionally joined by a very accomplished violinist. I was the youngest, and very influenced by music of the time.
We played at old fashioned dances – and our music was already very old-fashioned back there in the middle to late fifties.
Our repertoire was decidedly what had been popular in WW2, and earlier. And it seemed the others were happy for it to stay that way.
However, when I heard Fats, real-name Antoine Domino Jr, I was a changed being and rock’n’roll became the Number One musical big love. Looking back, it hadn’t turn me away from serious music, but it certainly became the sounds that I wanted most to play.
Many arguments followed in the band, and it took some time before my passion won additions to our repertoire. But it did and Ain't That a Shame and Shake, Rattle & Rock!, and The Girl Can't Help It became familiar notes blasted from the Boosey and Hawkes’ flaring bell.
My music tutor
A locally-famed dance band trumpeter, Harry Strang, a very unamused fellow, had been my music tutor. I played a few notes of a Fats Domino tune to him, having assured him that it was the music of the future. He couldn't have agreed less, and so strongly that I was soon no longer invited back for tutoring.
Like modern groups, the band broke up after two or three years. We went our separate ways, one to what must have been a horrible route to his maker in a fall between railway carriages - said back then to have been suicide - but others through more regular routes, marriage and promotion away from the city.
I like to imagine that we all carried Fats Domino sounds in our hearts as we got on with life, even if his interpretation of music became less prominent with the effect of time on taste as the years passed.
Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.