This is Rock & Roll as it is supposed to be played; live, unencumbered, and just for the unadulterated joy of playing the music that these musicians love to play. Fats & Friends was recorded in 1986 at the historic nightclub, Storyville, in New Orleans, in front of a crowd that loves its music, particularly when it is played well, and by locals (or those it has adopted as locals for whatever reason). Paul Shaffer was the host of the event and for the most part introduces the main players and stays out of the way of the big boys. He gets his airtime at the end doing all the explaining, and he goes into too much detail.
Fats Domino is the main ingredient here, he is the one who is being honored, it is his hometown, and he has his band with him. This includes long time collaborator Dave Bartholomew one of the main architects of the New Orleans sound, he is an arranger, bandleader trumpet player and a long time producer of music that came out of the Crescent City, going back into the 40s. Fats takes the bandstand and goes thru a small fraction of his hit songs and or songs he just felt like playing that night (seven songs) and then Jerry Lee Lewis takes the stage with a band that includes Ronnie Wood and whips thru three songs; two old time favorites and a newer one. And he vacates for Paul Shaffer and his All Star Band that includes Ronnie Wood and they do one cut and then the genius of Ray Charles who does two cuts. And that leads to the jam at the end. This lacks some of the sparks that might be expected to be forthcoming, but never really materializes. It is good but with three such strong figures who are so used to doing it 'their' way that it never really shakes out.
The bonus features include the sound check and it is a very typical sound check with much discussion and not a lot of full out playing. The interview with Paul Shaffer and his commentary is pretty much his way his justification for being there. To be honest there was need for a moderator with three A List personalities but a little less talk and more playing would have gone a long way to make this a sparkling disc.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Website design by David N. Pyles