Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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BARTHOLOMEW, Dave

(b 24 December 1920, Edgard LA) Bandleader, singer, songwriter, producer, arranger in the vanguard of the R&B explosion in New Orleans in the 1950s. He began on trumpet with Fats Pichon's river boat band; formed his own band '46, playing frat dances, school hops around New Orleans and worked for Aladdin and De Luxe labels (own hit 'Country Boy' '49); then Specialty and Imperial: discovered Fats Domino and his initial production successes were Domino's first hit 'The Fat Man' '50 for Imperial (no. 6 R&B chart), Lloyd Price's 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' '52 on Specialty (no. 1), Shirley and Lee's 'I'm Gone' '52 on Aladdin (no. 2): Imperial wisely signed him to a long-term contract. He recorded at Cosimo Matassa's legendary J & M studio.

Bartholomew produced all of Domino's hits, co-wrote many of them including the biggest: 'I'm Walkin' '57 had Domino's version in the top five of the pop chart and Ricky Nelson's in the top 20. Domino's 'Walkin' To New Orleans' '60 had adventurous use of strings for the time. He was also responsible for 'I Hear You Knockin' ' (hit by Smiley Lewis '52, pop cover by Gale Storm '55, no. 1 UK by Dave Edmunds '70), much else. He used the cream of local talent in the studio, drawn on by other local artists such as Little Richard: Earl Palmer on drums, saxes Lee Allen and Alvin 'Red' Tyler (b 5 December 1925, New Orleans; d 3 April 1998; Alvin and the Gyros tracks were compiled on Ace as Rockin' And Rollin'; Tyler's own LPs were Heritage '85 and Graciously '87 on Rounder); etc. Imperial was sold to Liberty '63; Bartholomew turned down an offer to move to the West Coast and still lives in New Orleans. Two-CD set The Genius Of Dave Bartholomew in 'Spirit Of New Orleans' series on EMI USA had 50 tracks celebrating an era.