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Goin Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino 

CD Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS

The Deal: Fats Domino sings in voices he never dreamed of. It's not just a tribute, it's a loving resurrection masterfully done by an eccentric array of the best musicians in the world, and a lifetime keepsake.

The Good: It's surprising that some of the people involved in this project ever heard of Fat Domino, much less wanted to cover his songs. But this odd collection of artists from Neil Young to Robert Plant to Elton John to Toots Hibbert is one of the best releases of this, or any year, capturing the spirit and in some cases the voice of Domino. John Lennon kicks it off with his hard rockin' version of "Ain't that A Shame" from his '75 Rock 'n' Roll release. Tom Petty's take on "I'm Walkin'" sounds like Ricky Nelson channeling the fatman. Neil Young turns in a riveting performance on "Walking to New Orleans," forsaking his usual whine, sounding like young Fats. Robert Plant unleashes two great versions of Domino classics – "It Keeps Raining," with the Cajun flavored Lil' Band of Gold, and a gorgeous, heart-rending version of "Valley of Tears," backed by the magnificent voices of the Soweto Gospel choir. But Toots really nails it to the wall, blowing off the competition with his soulful reggae version of "Let The Four Winds Blow." Virtually every cut on this two disc CD is a jewel – check out Los Lobos' snaky, syncopated version of "The Fat Man," Lucinda Williams' slinky, funky back porch yowling interpretation of "Honey Chile," and Randy Newman's snuffly-nosed fonk on "Blue Monday."

The Bad: Everybody in show business wanted to be included, and at least one of the big cats evidentially pushed his way in. There's no other way to explain Elton John being allowed to do his prissy, pretentious version of "Blueberry Hill." You'll want some earwash and a massive dose of Fat's original to clear out your ear canals.

The Verdict: Try and take my copy away and I'll kill you. Don't even ask me to loan it to you. Get your own and you'll understand.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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