Song of the Day: “Blue Monday” by Fats Domino and his star-studded mid-’80s band at “Austin City Limits”

It’s “Blue Monday,” and that is today’s Song of the Day, written by Dave Bartholomew, originally recorded by Smiley Lewis but performed here at “Austin City Limits” in 1986 by Fats Domino in a band that includes Ponderosa Stomp regulars Bartholomew and Herb Hardesty, as well as Joseph “Smokey” Johnson on drums, Lee Allen on tenor, guitarist Jimmy Moliere, and Roger Lewis doing the famous baritone solo created by Hardesty.

According to Rick Coleman’s biography, “Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock ‘n’ Roll”:

Fats had met sax player Sam Lee, Harrison Verrett’s cousin, at the Watkins Hotel and invited him to play on the session. Lee, nicknamed “Hold That Note” for his ability to play extended notes, was supposed to play the baritone solo on “Blue Monday,” but the versatile Herbert Hardesty had to step in to play another classic solo. “’Blue Monday’ is as close to perfection as one can imagine,” music writer Hank Davis would later observe. “The eight-bar sax break is a gem of almost frightening economy. It is one of the most memorable, bluesy, and yet simple runs in all of r&b.” Ironically, Hardesty had never played baritone saxophone before and didn’t even like the instrument. The song was the third future #1 r&b hit that Domino recorded that month.

Below is Smiley Lewis’ version, recorded two years earlier than Domino’s studio version:

Song of the Day: “Java” by Allen Toussaint versus Al “Jumbo” Hirt. Which music titan wins this heavyweight bout?

In a preview of this year’s Ponderosa Stomp, ringmaster Dr. Ike revealed on WWOZ-FM radio last night that that living embodiment of New Orleans music, Allen Toussaint, would be reprising some of the tunes from his first solo album, named “The Wild Sound of New Orleans” by “Al Tousan,” recorded in two days in February … Continue reading Song of the Day: “Java” by Allen Toussaint versus Al “Jumbo” Hirt. Which music titan wins this heavyweight bout?

Song of the Day: “Seven Letters” by Warren Storm (live version with Lil’ Band o’ Gold + original solo cut)

Today’s Song of the Day is the musical epic that inspired young Cajun-rock revivalists Steve Riley and C.C. Adcock to form the supergroup Lil’ Band o’ Gold in the late 1990s. As regular attendees of swamp-pop elder statesman Warren Storm’s Lafayette lounge performances, the duo was captivated by the singer’s powerhouse interpretation of one song … Continue reading Song of the Day: “Seven Letters” by Warren Storm (live version with Lil’ Band o’ Gold + original solo cut)

The night Hunter S. Thompson met Michael Hurtt and the Haunted Hearts at the Circle Bar in New Orleans

If you’ve ever wondered about one of the key backing bands who keep the music rolling during those marathon Ponderosa Stomp shows, here is all you need to know about Michael Hurtt and the Haunted Hearts: In those halcyon pre-Katrina New Orleans nights of early 2005, a mysterious stranger and his comely companion stepped into … Continue reading The night Hunter S. Thompson met Michael Hurtt and the Haunted Hearts at the Circle Bar in New Orleans

Song of the Day: “Stop These Teardrops” by Texas blues diva Lavelle White, recording for Don Robey’s Duke label

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSsiaCdqlAg Move over, New York and the ladies of “She’s Got the Power!” Because a true daughter of Dixie, Lavelle White, who can be claimed to varying degrees by Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi (not to mention Chicago), is bringing her singular mix of blues, R&B, gospel, and funk to the 2011 Ponderosa Stomp. Schooled in … Continue reading Song of the Day: “Stop These Teardrops” by Texas blues diva Lavelle White, recording for Don Robey’s Duke label