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AMERICAN MUSIC MASTERS :: Blog

Dr. John, Fats Domino, and the piano

Monday, November 8: 12:44 p.m.
Posted by Jason Hanley
Pictured from top: Fats Domino; Dr. John

Over the past few weeks I have traveled to New Orleans several times and had the chance to see Dr. John perform live at Lafayette Square, play with the band Widespread Panic, and even sit next to him as he played in a small rehearsal studio just west of the French Quarter.  Each time my eyes were fixed on his hands as he moved them effortlessly across the keys.  What an amazing player; Dr. John holds the history of New Orleans piano music in his head and the soul of the sound in his hands.

The reason I’ve seen him so many times is that Dr. John and his band, the Lower 911, will be the house band for the upcoming American Music Masters Tribute to Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew.  It is a perfect combination: Dr. John leading the band that will honor one of the giants of rock and roll piano, Fats Domino.  As you can imagine I have been thinking a lot about the music of New Orleans, the piano style of Fats Domino, and the rhythms of Mardi Gras.  What makes Fats’ music so exciting is the way it blends together several major musical ideas ...


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An amazing coincidence during a Rock Hall distance learning class

Tuesday, November 2: 9:29 a.m.
Slide taken from the class presentation.

One of my favorite New Orleans words is "lagniappe." Pronounced "lan-yap," it means something extra, a bonus. It can also be defined as an unexpected gift.

For me, this year’s American Music Masters series honoring Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew has been nothing but lagniappe. Having moved to Cleveland from New Orleans about a year and a half ago, I’m beyond excited to celebrate the music and spirit of my former hometown, and to pay homage to one of the greatest partnerships in rock and roll history. The line-up for the tribute concert on November 13th alone is phenomenal, not to mention the week’s worth of events that precede it. This is not to be missed – believe me.

The real gift to me, however, came last week when I was able to connect with a seventh-grade class at the Intercultural Charter School of New Orleans East, with an On the Road distance-learning program on Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, and New Orleans rock and roll. Working with teachers at the school and with KID smART, a local arts integration education initiative, we were able to present a special interactive video-conferencing class just to them, and just for them ...


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The legacy of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Solomon Burke

Monday, October 11: 4:59 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Solomon Burke performs with Aretha Franklin at the Rock Hall's American Music Masters concert in '05

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Solomon Burke was called the “king of rock and soul” only a  few years into his career, and decades later his title remains unquestionably valid. A true musical pioneer, his voice was one that brought what we now call rock and roll to the masses, bridging the gap between races, musical genres and even geography. It’s with deep sadness that we now mourn his loss, but his musical legacy will never be forgotten in shaping American history and influencing generations to come.

Related: Solomon Burke: biography, timeline, song clips and photos

Related: Solomon Burke performs at the 10th annual American Music Masters tribute concert honoring Sam Cooke

 


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Dave Bartholomew and the Ponderosa Stomp

Monday, September 20: 5:03 p.m.

It’s Stomp time! This week we’re headed down to New Orleans to attend the 9th Annual Ponderosa Stomp Festival. The musical lineup is fantastic, as ever. We’re also helping out with the Stomp Music History Conference, a series of live interviews and first-person discussions with the stars of the show, as well as DJs, record men, field recorders and others who shaped musical history. Dr. Ike, the mastermind of the Stomp, has been a key advisor to us here in putting together this year’s American Music Masters tribute to Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. He will interview Dave Bartholomew at the Stomp conference on Saturday, and we’ll stream it live here at rockhall.com. I asked Dr. Ike to reflect a little bit on Dave’s significance to rock and roll and on working with him at the Stomp, and he graciously agreed. 

Dave Bartholomew and The Ponderosa Stomp
by Guest Writer Dr. Ike

When I originally conceived of the Ponderosa Stomp, one person who’s involvement I felt essential was Dave Bartholomew. Dave is the ultimate unsung hero. His arrangement and production on Fats Domino’s “The Fat Man” – with the emphasis on the ...


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The Rock Hall's 15th Annual American Music Masters series will honor Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew

Thursday, August 19: 4:05 p.m.

“There is no, no, no place like New Orleans for music. The pioneers are here. We built the house. You can redecorate it, but we laid the foundation.”

-Dave Bartholomew
 
We are very excited about this year’s American Music Masters Series!  The program, entitled “Walking to New Orleans: The Music of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew” will be held here in Cleveland November 8-13th. Domino, a legendary piano player, wonderful singer, and galvanizing performer, and Bartholomew, an accomplished trumpet player, arranger and bandleader, make up one of the great partnerships of rock and roll. They wrote more than 50 songs together, including “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blue Monday,” “I’m in Love Again” and “I’m Walkin.’” In a 1999 interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Dave Bartholomew said “Fats and I, I think that the Lord put us together.” Domino responded, “I’m pretty sure...Who else would do it?” We are so grateful to our honorees and their families for all their help in making this event possible. We met with them back in June, which Terry Stewart described in a previous blog post.
 
Because Domino and Bartholomew both predate rock and roll and are first ...


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Congratulations to Rock Hall inductee Bonnie Raitt, recently inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame

Friday, May 7: 3:45 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum would like to congratulate 2000 inductee Bonnie Raitt on her induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. Though Bonnie may be best-known for her more mainstream, commercially successful albums like Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw, her music has always been rooted in the blues, and she has been a fervent supporter of the blues. When she began her career in Boston in the late Sixties, she appeared with Howlin’ Wolf, Sippie Wallace and Mississippi Fred McDowell, among others. In the years since, she has played guitar alongside such blues greats as B.B. King, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker. In 1990, Bonnie and John Lee Hooker shared the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Recording for their work on the song “In the Mood” from Hooker’s album The Healer. And in 2000, she took part in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s American Music Masters tribute to Muddy Waters. Bonnie also co-founded the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, and she has gone out of her way to help struggling blues artists with financial assistance and other forms of support. The Blues Hall of ...


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A Look at the 14th Annual AMM Tribute Concert from the Rock Hall’s Vice President of Education

Thursday, November 19: 9:58 p.m.

The American Music Masters tribute to Janis Joplin, Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin, culminated Saturday night with a tribute concert at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theater. The concert ended with Bobby Wood’s terrific house band playing “Get It While You Can,” a Jerry Ragovoy song that Janis Joplin recorded on Pearl.  I felt such gratitude to the performers as they came out for a curtain call—they had all brought their best to tell Janis Joplin’s story. Over the course of the night, they showed us Janis’s deep musical roots in blues and folk, her galvanizing rock music, and her love for the soul music of her day.

 

An early highlight of the show was Guy Clark’s “She Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” a song he recorded on his debut album, Old No. 1 in 1975. Although the song wasn’t written about Janis, it was a perfect song to capture her desire to leave Texas and make a space for herself out in the world. Guy and Janis played the same circuit in Houston and Austin, Texas in 1965, and he recalled meeting her back then. Janis also crossed paths with Roky Erickson ...


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The Real Story of the Santana Blues Band

Wednesday, November 18: 10:07 p.m.
Posted by Shelby Morrison
Gregg Rolie thanks the audience at the AMM Janis Joplin Tribute Concert on November 14, 2009. Photo:

There are few things better that come out of our education programs than the real “behind the music” style stories shared by the artists and musicians who we celebrate. Such a story was told to me this past weekend by the co-founder and lead singer of Santana, Hall of Fame Inductee Gregg Rolie when he was in town to perform with fellow Inductee Michael Carabello for our 14th Annual American Music Masters series honoring Janis Joplin.

In most of the biographies you will read about Santana, they are rather ambiguous about the details of how the band was actually formed. You read about how Gregg Rolie and Carlos Santana were both in San Francisco in the 1960’s and then magically, there was Santana. When Gregg Rolie said to me, “you know how Santana really formed, don’t you?…it was in a tomato patch.” I knew I was about to be let in on a rock and roll secret.

This is how it really happened.

The origins of the Santana Blues Band, which later became just Santana, lie in a chance meeting between keyboardist and lead singer, Gregg Rolie and guitarist, Carlos Santana. The two knew of each other ...


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