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The early years (1949-62) of the Fats Domino / Dave Bartholomew collaboration and its roots in the culture and music of New Orleans
The early years (1949-62) of the Fats Domino / Dave Bartholomew collaboration and its roots in the culture and music of New Orleans
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....On the  day  in 1948 the unlikely paths of Antoine "Fats" Domino and Dave Bartholomew collided at a small Lower Ninth Ward New Orleans night club neither men would have suspected that their collaboration would result in  one of the longest ( 65 years and running) and most successful in American Music  history.  A collaboration that, by 1962, would sell over 60 million records. 

THE BIG BEAT: THE STORY OF FATS DOMINO AND HIS BAND is also the story of how Fats and Dave's music  BECAME Rock N' Roll and how it effectively broke down the color barriers that  paved the way for racial integration through music. We will use  recent interviews with Dave, Fats and with surviving band members and rare previously unseen full length vintage performances of the Fats Domino Band ( with Dave Bartholomew on Trumpet) performing their early hits to illustrate the story of these two men and the other musicians who made their band among the greatest in Rock N' roll history...

Several years ago, while doing preliminary research for a possible Fats Domino documentary, I discovered in ( of all places!) the French National Archive, a 45 minute live concert film , shot in 1962, of the original Fats Domino band...the same band that recorded with Fats from 1949 to 1962 as well as appearing , with Dave Bartholomew as band leader and director, on over 200 nationally charted singles and 21 gold records - all of which recorded in Cosimo Matasa’s tiny J&M studio on Rampart Street in the city of New Orleans

To find a 45 minute concert of any African American Rock N' Roll band filmed in 1962 is almost completely unheard of. Generally the early pioneers of Rock, both black and white,  were only allowed  short appearances on TV Dance Party or Variety shows or appeared lip syncing one of their current  hits in a Hollywood teen movie. It is just unheard of that a 45 minute 1962 live concert should exist..and one featuring with  one of the most important and influential Rock N’ Roll bands of all times.

So, with this amazingly exciting footage as the  corner stone, we will tell their story. The film will be a performance/documentary as we intend to show the performances in their entirety..no cutting for narrative..just the band performing as it was on that Summer day in 1962. This will be the true story of the early years of Fats Domino; a story that would not exist without Fats'   longtime collaboration with New Orleans  Trumpeter, song writer, arranger and band leader Dave Bartholomew; a story that shows the transition of Rhythm & Blues to Rock N' Roll at the hands of these two pioneers.

Their story is rooted in the culture, traditions and rhythms of their native New Orleans, their home town from the beginning of their lives til this very day. The film will primarily focus on Fats and Dave but will also pay tribute to legendary  New Orleans musicians LEE ALLEN, HERB HARDESTY,  CORNELIUS "TENOO" COLEMAN, and WALTER "PAPOOSE" NELSON who were long time members of the Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino bands and who played on 100's of the greatest R&B and Rock N' Roll  records to come out of New Orleans.

..

Its is also the story of how their music BECAME Rock N' Roll and effectively broke down the color barriers that  paved the way for racial integration through music. We will use  previously unseen full length vintage performances of the Fats Domino Band( with Dave Bartholomew on Trumpet) performing their early hits .We will tell the story of the secret history of the birth of Rock N’ Roll..and it came from New Orleans!

Risks and challenges

I think my biggest challenge here is to try to dispel the image that Fats Domino has gained over the years as simply being a jolly oldies act. As Fats has always been extremely shy with interviewers and rarely ever speaks about his music and it's history he has been overlooked by many scholars and fans of great American "Roots" music. I am hoping my reputation as a Producer/Director of films about important American musicians and the way we put together our trailer will help us gain an audience who will be wiling to reevaluate Fats and his place in American Music while still appealing to his fans that want to hear all the old tunes. By the nature of the great performance footage we have discovered and the interviews we have shot with Fats and Dave and their surviving musicians we will be able to do both.

Regarding production set backs..we have overcome all of those in our 5 years of pre-production and planning for this project. We are still searching for rare pre-1962 photographs of Fats & Dave but we already have 100s!. Often times music clearances can hold up a project of this sort but we have already gotten ball park quotes for these and, with the help of this Kickstarter campaign, be able to pay all the licenses!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    A official DVD of the completed documentary

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    A completed DVD of the project autographed by the director

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A DVD of unused full vintage performances of FATS and footage from a visit to Fat's house filmed in 2010. Also, a copy of the completed film autographed by the director

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    A "Special Thanks" credit on the ending of the film credit roll & a copy of the released DVD autographed by the director

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    An original FATS DOMINO autographed photo , a SPECIAL THANKS credit in the completed film and a copy of the finished film on DVD autographed by it's director

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    A "Associate Producer" credit on the completed film and an autographed ( by the director) copy of the released DVD of the film

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    An "Executive Producer" credit on the completed film and an autographed copy of the completed documentary..also and original FATS DOMINO autographed item.

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Funding period

- (60 days)