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The Big Beat: Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock and Roll / Reel Music35

By TOM D'ANTONI // The real King of Rock n Roll's documentary screens Thursday, January 25 at the Whitsell Auditorium as part of Northwest Film Center's annual orgy of music docs!

The Big Beat: Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock and Roll, Directed by Joe Lauro, United States, 2015, 90 mins. Screening on Thursday, January 25, 7:00pm Whitsell Auditorium BUY TICKETS

 It's difficult to make a full-blown documentary about a living person whom you cannot interview. In the case of Fats Domino, who died last October, film maker Joe Lauro never got to talk to him on camera. Hardly anyone did after his world-changing (literally) string of hits and SIXTY MILLION records sold. The only time we get to hear Fats talk, other than a few news clips during the time that Rock n Roll was busting loose and was considered dangerous, was from audio tape made during the writing of the book Blue Monday by Rick Coleman. We hear Fats but all we see is a vintage reel-to-reel tape machine.
Given that handicap (a large one), and the fact that Fats was an enigma anyway, Lauro has found many of Fats' collaborators, first among whom is Dave Bartholomew, who some regard as the real genius behind all the hits.
If you don't really know much about Fats Domino, why he's so important and that he was the real "King of Rock n Roll" (that meant something back then), then this will be a wonderful experience for you.
The bulk of the music comes from a concert in France which features most of his original band AND Dave Bartholomew. The shots of vintage New Orleans before Katrina are nostalgic and lovely.
This doc will not satisfy folks who are deep into Fat's story, his life and personality, but for the vast number of people who only know the name and the songs (and maybe not even many of them) this is a valuable and joyous look into a man who, along with Bartholomew changed the world.
And it's fun for everyone to sing along with Fats! 

Want to hear some real Fats Domino stories from his baritone player of twenty years? Here's Reggie Houston talking about his time in the band on recent edition of OMN's Coffeeshop Conversations:

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