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Hollywood Fats & The Paladins - Live 1985

Topcat Records

13 songs; 61:11 minutes; Splendid

Styles: West Coast Blues, Rockabilly revival, Retro rock and roll

Dear Skyy,
   I must confess, I am kind of new to the blues. I was knocked out by The Insomniacs debut release, “Left Coast Blues,” which was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. On their website, they list as their number one influence some guitar playing cat named Hollywood Fats who died in 1986 at age 32. I checked, and Fats only had one album! What a shame, don’t you think, that more of his music isn’t out there. Keep up the good work.
Kerry Oakey

Hi Kerry,
   Boy, are you and all blues fans in luck! Topcat Records has teamed with producer Richard Chalk to release a live recording made in 1985 when Hollywood Fats was touring with the Paladins. On a song like Chuck Willis’ “Lawdy Lawdy Miss Mary,” you can really hear that influence to which The Insomniacs refer. Chalk admits that it was recorded on amateur equipment with somewhat “lo-fi” results. But, they have salvaged the recording with the latest in hi-tech treatments to create a greatly improved sound quality. On my stereo, I turned the treble down and boosted the midrange to medium and bass to near full. It turned into more than just a historical set for collectors and cult followers; the CD is very accessible to all fans of rock and roll and swinging west coast jump blues.
Thanks for writing,

Recorded on December 19, 1985, at the Greenville Avenue Bar & Grill in Dallas, Texas, this album features Michael “Hollywood Fats” Mann and Southern California rockabilly legends the Paladins. The house was packed and fans were excited as you can tell from the crowd noise highlighted by the loudest and shrillest of screams from some female fan.

Like fellow guitarists Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mann was a creative genius who entered the halls of hallows too soon following an untimely death. This set with Dave Gonzalez on vocals and rhythm guitar, Scott Campbell on drums, Thomas Yearsley on stand up bass and Fats on burning guitar was recorded about one year before Mann’s accidental, drug related passing.

For the best singes from that flame, there are two Mann original instrumentals showcasing that underappreciated-in-his-day talent, “The Groove” and “Tear It Up,” the latter with lightning fast guitar work that is picking, not shredding.

Beyond those, the set is a mix of crowd pleasing rockabilly, swinging West Coast blues and rock and roll. After igniting the evening with the mandatory in its day “Hideaway” by Freddie King, the boys burn the house down with Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin,’” Lightnin’ Slim’s “Rooster Blues,” Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train,” and Jimmy Reed’s “She’s Fine.”

When folks talk about the wave of West Coast guitarists beyond T-Bone Walker and Lowell Fulson, the name Hollywood Fats always tops the list. Get this serendipitous CD and learn what they are talking about.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

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