Saturday, October 28, 2017

Influential Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer Fats Domino Dead at 89

Fats Domino, one of rock ‘n’ roll’s founding fathers, died of natural causes on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at his home in Harvey, Louisiana. He was 89. Domino was a towering figure in the music world who made significant contributions to rock ‘n’ roll and its development as a vital new genre in the 1950s.

The New Orleans-bred piano man carved out his own place in music history with his seminal sound, which is a vibrant mix of Delta blues, R&B, Dixieland and jazz. His powerful boogie woogie piano playing was complemented by his rich, soulful baritone voice. And in addition to his considerable musical gifts, Domino would charm audiences with his warm, easygoing personality. His genuine modesty was as big as his talent.

From the mid-'50s to the early '60s, Domino racked up a string of hits, including the standards “I’m in Love Again,” “Blueberry Hill,” “Ain’t That a Shame” “I’m Walkin’” “Blue Monday,” “Whole Lotta Loving" and “Walking to New Orleans.” Many of the songs were co-written by Domino and his longtime songwriting partner Dave Bartholomew.

During his career, Domino had 35 U.S. top-40 hits (11 of which landed in the top 10), and he sold more than 110 million records. He outsold every ‘50s rock act except for Elvis Presley. Additionally, Domino’s million-selling 1949 release “The Fat Man” is widely regarded as one of the earliest rock ‘n’ roll records.

Domino’s importance to modern music can’t be understated. He was one of the key progenitors of the new and exciting rock ‘n’ roll sound that took the music world by storm in the 1950s. And he was a significant influence and inspiration to many music greats, including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Little Richard, Dr. John, Randy Newman and Elton John.

Moreover, Domino was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986—a well-deserved honor for an incredible artist whose music continues to be appreciated by people of all ages across all demographics.

"I'm in Love Again"

"The Fat Man"

Fats Domino performing "Blueberry Hill" on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956

Friday, October 13, 2017

"Funk Gets Stronger (Killer Millimeter Longer Version)" by Funkadelic, featuring Sly Stone

Funk masters George Clinton and Sly Stone
Legendary funk-soul brothers from another mother Sly Stone and George Clinton combine their groove forces for this dope Funkadelic joint. This funky strut of a groove is peppered with infectious horn lines, dirty guitar licks and stellar keyboard and synth parts.

Sly sings most of his verses in a bluesy whisper but occasionally lets loose with a few powerhouse wails to remind listeners that he was still in possession of one of the most soulful voices in funk music. And of course George Clinton is always down for a good funk party and contributes some clever lyrics and catchphrases as well as his signature off-center humor.

In addition to vocals, the multitalented Sly also played drums, keyboards, rhythm guitar and synthesizers on the track. Other players included Eddie “Maggot Brain” Hazel on lead guitar and Sly & the Family Stone alums Pat Rizzo (saxophone) and Cynthia Robinson (trumpet). Sly and Clinton co-wrote and produced the track.

This underrated funk cut didn’t get near enough play back when it was released on Funkadelic’s The Electric Spanking of War Babies album in 1981. In addition to “Funk Gets Stronger,” other great cuts from the album include the percolating “Electro-Cuties” and the lewd, crude and very funky “Icka Prick.”

Sly has recorded and toured with P-Funk off and on over the years and is close friends with George Clinton. Other P-Funk tracks that Sly has contributed his versatile talents include “Hydraulic Pump,” “Catch A Keeper” (both P-Funk All Star cuts), “The Naz” (Funkadelic) and “In Da Kar” by Funkadelic & Soul Clap.  Hopefully, there are more funky collabs to come with Sly, George and P-Funk.