Saturday, December 22, 2007
Goin' Home: A Tribute To Fats Domino
To some, the simple, sincere and unassuming sound of Fats Domino would seem an unlikely catalyst for one of the most star-studded tribute productions of recent times. But the appeal of Domino s music and its signature sway of swamp rhythm remains strong a half century after the release of his original recordings.
Goin' Home, which also functions as a benefit for his New Orleans neighborhood, provides 30 tracks of Domino's music, offering an expansive and intriguing overview of the possibilities it contains, with performances by everyone from a couple of Beatles to Willie Nelson. The album features a wide variety of adventurous collaborations and personalized interpretations. While the big-name guest stars do their pan. the New Orleans natives shine brightest in the selling.
With Buddy Guy joining in on guitar, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band backs young soul singer Joss Stone on "Every Night About This Time," while Lenny Kravitz fronts an embellished version of the Rebirth Brass Band, including saxophone legend Maceo Parker, on "Whole Lotta Loving." In similar fashion, Robbie Robertson gets the benefit of playing in front of Galactic and Robert Plant gets support from the all-star Cajun group Lil' Band o' Gold.
One of the most memorable collaborations comes on the title track, where B.B. King joins Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, reinforced with a horn section featuring Donald Harrison Jr. and special guest Herbert Hardesty. the tenor saxophonist heard on the original recordings. Harrison reappears on the most experimental track, Oki Dara's radical reconfiguration of '"When I See You."
Several of the musical patriarchs of the New Orleans scene, such as Dr. John and Art Neville, lead their own groups, while Mardi Gras Indian icon Big Chief Monk Boudreaux teams up with Galactic for one of the album's most authentic tracks, "So Long." International citizen Taj Mahal fronts the all-star assemblage of the New Orleans Social Club on a great take on "My Girl Josephine,'" while Marcia Ball and her band back soul queen Irma Thomas on "I Just Can't Get New Orleans Off My Mind."
Some of the tracks, like Randy Newman's "Blue Monday," Norah Jones doing "My Blue Heaven," Bruce Homsby's rendition of "Don't Blame It On Me" and Lucinda Williams’ tasty "Honey Chile" are superb displays of artistic simplicity. But most of the tunes are more elaborate productions, juxtaposing artists and styles while remaining true to Domino and his music.
Notes by Michael Point - Downbeat December 2007