Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino

By CLEA SIMON  |  October 22, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
This packed two-disc set gathers all the usual suspects and more for a Tipitina’s Foundation project to rebuild Domino’s Ninth Ward neighborhood in New Orleans. A mostly successful hodge-podge of covers and unexpected pairings, it has the odd effect of making the original artist look bad. The most reverential covers — and there are many — by such artists as Neil Young, Tom Petty, B.B. King, and Paul McCartney begin to show a sameness, Domino’s bouncy blues base exposed without the big man’s personality. The less reverential are much more interesting. The artists who can’t be other than themselves — Lucinda Williams, Dr. John, even Norah Jones — are a joy to hear, digging their roots. Toots & the Maytals’ “Let the Four Winds Blow” reinvents ska’s lively groove; Los Lobos find rumba funk in “The Fat Man.” But it’s the studio match-ups that set this disc apart. When Robert Plant pairs up with New Orleans’s own Lil’ Band of Gold to make a slow zydeco two-step out of “It Keeps Rainin,’ ” he revives the melancholy heart of the pop tune. And when Olu Dara and the Natchezsippi Band, featuring Donald Harrison Jr., push “When I See You” slightly off key and off center, they propel Fats’s signature sound into a possible jazz-blues future.
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