A Tip Of The Hat To Fats
Blind Pig Records
Published May 2019
Blues Music Magazine
Pianist, singer/songwriter Mitch Woods has been one of the kings of American boogie-woogie and good time piano music for the over forty-years he’s been a recording artist.
With A Tip Of The Hat To Fats, Woods presents a live, loving and inspired nine-song tribute to his hero, Fats Domino, who had passed just half a year before the recording, and indeed the whole of all musical things New Orleans. He has said of the recording of this CD, that it was “a dream come true.”
Woods happily performed in front of 6,000 music lovers within the famed Blues Tent of the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest, with his six-piece Rocket 88s, comprised of several terrific Crescent City musician friends/players. Mitch and his magic fingers wondrously wow his audience, never letting up for a second.
Curious, but accessible, Woods includes eight spoken intros, one to each song, but it works in the immediate context of this musical project.
The Woods’ composition, “Mojo Mambo” is a lovely, stride-tune that he dedicates as a tribute to Professor Longhair, another of Mitch’s great influences. Guitarist John Fohl (longtime member of Dr. John’s band,) contributes a perfect solo to the mix too.
The horn arrangements are fun and funky in nature, punctuating each song with a classic brass bonanza. His sax players just shine on Glover/Weismantel’s rollicking composition, “Down Boy Down.”
Dave Bartholomew, Fats’ producer and right-hand musical man, penned the memorable “Blue Monday” which Woods and band present with deep but sassy emotion. Hank Williams’ bayou-blessed “Jambalaya” gets all of Woods’ “Fats-treatment” and is among the highlights of the album.
And gloriously-reverent musicians cannot go wrong with “Rocket 88,” ostensibly the first rock and roll tune. Here Woods and band give a spirited performance honest to the original Jackie Brenston version.
Woods is in his element as he and band marvelously play “House of Blue Lights” which finishes the album in a boogie-woogie hailstorm of fluid fun.
Throughout this fine, self-produced album, Mitch Woods labors not-at-all in his obvious love for the music of The Big Easy, and clearly revels in playing and paying some well-owed dues to beloved Fats Domino, a modern-music master.