"The Fat Man" was the B-side of "Detroit City Blues" and was recorded by Domino the same day, December 10, 1949, at J&M Studio. Co-written with bandleader and regular collaborator Dave Bartholomew, it runs to around 2 minutes 39 seconds, and is partly autobiographical, with an explanation for his nickname:
They call me the fat man
'Cause I weigh 200 pounds
The song finds Domino standing on the corner of Rampart and Canal streets in New Orleans, watching the girls go by. He decides to leave, because "women and a bad life" are "carrying this soul away."
Of course, if you're looking to get in trouble and enjoy the company of certain ladies, New Orleans is one of the best places to do it. In this part of the song, Domino is playing a role; he was already married to his childhood sweetheart (and remained so until her death in 2008) and had no interest in leaving New Orleans, where he made his home.
"The Fat Man" is based on a 1940 song Domino often performed called "Junker's Blues," recorded by a former boxer who went by Champion Jack Dupree. It begins:
Some people call me a junker,
Say I'm loaded out of my mind
There is no real chorus in this song, just a middle section where Domino repeats "wah wah wah" over and over.
Domino played the piano as well as supplying the vocal, and was accompanied by an orchestra. Other personnel included Ernest McLean on guitar, Herb Hardesty on sax and Earl Palmer on drums.
Released in 1950, "The Fat Man" sold well, reaching #6 on the R&B chart and launched what was to become a distinguished career. Domino died in October 2017 aged 89.
Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2