When Lil’ Band O’ Gold – the understated supergroup led by the silken voiced (and impeccably moustached) Warren Storm – hung out with the legendary Fats Domino, the stars began to align. Lil’ Band O’ Gold, a collective of talented musicians who’ve done enough in their musical lives to fill a compendium of rock’n’roll tales, found themselves in an impromptu jam with Fats on a bunch of the great man’s classic tunes. One thing led to another, and Lil’ Band O’ Gold Plays Fats was born.
Released on local Dust Devil Music, and featuring contributions from Robert Plant, Ani DiFranco, Lucinda Williams, Jimmy Barnes and Tim Rogers, Lil’ Band O’ Gold Plays Fats is an album conceived, raised and played with a perfectly concocted mixture of nostalgia, empathy and passion for its subject. Warren Storm’s dirty soul-rock tones lead off on the stomping Blue Monday, Robert Plant’s effort on It Keeps Raining is surprisingly tender (if you consider the pummelling rock’n’roll barrage that was Led Zeppelin) while CC Adcock takes Let’s Talk It Over (Don’t Lie to Me) into the psychedelic edges of blues territory. Lucinda Williams and Ani DiFranco have a rockin’ good time on I’m Ready, while on Ain’t That A Shame, Jimmy Barnes finds the balance between soul and abrasive screeching he tried in vain to find on Soul Deep.
Storm’s vocal take on Going Home captures that trudging blues simplicity characteristic to Domino’s most memorable tunes, What A Price (Grand Prix) – complete with false start – takes Fats by way of The Band and 4 Winds Blow is guaranteed to whip the crowd into a state of hip-shufflin’ happiness. Tim Rogers infuses I’m Walking with Jerry Lee Lewis rockabilly attitude; Robert Plant’s interpretation of I’ve Been Around is the sound of a man who’s found his lot in life, and he’s pretty damn pleased.
Fats Domino is a legend in many parts of the rock’n’roll world; sadly, his appeal in Australia remains subordinate to other (predominantly white) ’50s contemporaries. Lil’ Band O’ Gold Plays Fats does its best to remind the world of both Fats Domino’s legacy, and Lil’ Band O’ Gold’s commitment.
Best Track: I’m Walking
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Rock’n’roll ’50s style, and you’ll appreciate the original series of Happy Days
In A Word: Fats