Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lloyd "Fatman" Smith (1922-1989) - UPDATED

Lloyd "Fatman" Smith with Louis Jordan
Fatman (lower left) with DJs

[NOTE: link updated on 10/13/09 with higher quality versions of two songs.]

This post collects all the solo recordings I've been able to find from Lloyd "Fatman" Smith. Information on "Lloyd Fatman" - as he was generally known - is not super easy to come by. As best as I can tell, he recorded a handful of songs as a solo artist, starting in 1949 and continuing through the 1950s. Aside from a spell as Louis Jordan's personal manager, he also managed the Equadors/Modern Ink Spots/Cardinals - a vocal group whose fascinating history is detailed by the highly knowledgeable Marv Goldberg here. Marv was also kind enough to send me two of the songs in this post, recorded from his original vinyl, as well as several photos - thanks, Marv!

Anyway, at some point, Lloyd settled down in Philadelphia, where he worked as a DJ for many years. One source mentions him recording "sporadically for local imprints" but, aside from a cover of "Saturday Night Fish Fry" in 1960 and a few stray others, I haven't been able to find much info on specific albums or singles after the 50s. According to DJ Weldon McDougal, people in Philly knew Fatman as a trumpet player and bandleader more than as a singer. In the 60s, he was "in nightclubs more than he was on the air." He booked Weldon's group "The Larks" and was often the MC at places that they appeared.

I think if Lloyd hadn't waited quite so long to begin recording, he might have had more of a solo career. In my opinion, the 10 cuts here easily stand up to the best of the jump blues era . In particular, "Miss Mushmouth" and "Where You Been," both of which were recorded for Okeh in 1956-57, are positively scorching rockers that lay waste to much of the blues shouting of that period. But there's the problem: that period was already pretty much over. Only a select few blues artists, like Big Joe Turner, were able to comfortably ride the first wave of Rock and Roll. Many, many other very talented folks were swept aside by the tidal onslaught of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, Jerry Lee and the rest. Still, has anyone ever heard anything like the scattting on "Fat Man's Scat"? How can brilliant weirdness like that remain so obscure? It just ain't fair...

Lloyd was clearly an adept vocal mimic. "Why Oh Why" and "Giddy Up Giddy Up" are very much in the Roy Brown bag, and the vocal mannerisms of Big Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris and Screamin' Jay Hawkins (who was a friend of Fatman's) are evident elsewhere. But the Fat Man absolutely put his own stamp on whatever he did. I wish we had more from him.

Anyway, for now, enjoy some rockin' sides from an obscure madman of the great bygone early rock era.

1. Where You Been (Okeh 7073 - 1956)
2. Miss Mushmouth (Okeh 7083 - 1957)
3. Good Gracious (Okeh 7083 - 1957)
4. Part Time Sweetheart (Okeh 7073 - 1956)
5. No Better for You (Peacock 1611 - 1953)
6. My Clock Stopped (Peacock 1611 - 1953)
7. Giddy Up, Giddy Up (Peacock 1593 - 1952)
8. Why Oh Why (Peacock 1593 - 1952)
9. Fatman (Gotham, unreleased - 1951 - with Frank Motley)
10. Fat Man's Scat (Gotham, unreleased - 1951 - with Frank Motley)
11. Little Leg Woman
12. Roll On Mule



  1. You're welcome! By the way, this post is being continually updated, so Fatman fans: keep an eye on it!

  2. Thank You for this wonderful compilation.

    Additional info:

    THE BAYOU BOYS (sources:Jazz Discography by W. Bruyninckx and the Internet)

    Eddie Jefferson,Lloyd "Fatman" Smith (vcl) acc. by unknown band

    U7482 Septembersong (recorded september or october 1952/unissued)
    U7483 Sweetheart -

    U7484 Bambalaya Checker 765 (recorded september or october 1952/issued december 1952)
    U7485 Dinah -

    'Bambalaya' is reissued on 'New Orleans Rarities:Volume 1/1949-1954' - Regal 3301

    Take a listen here: http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/30355

    Keep up the good work,

  3. Great research Marc! That "Bambalaya" tune is nuts... "Fatman goes Cajun"... love it.:)

  4. Marv came through with higher quality versions of "No Better For You" and "My Clock Stopped." Check the new link!

  5. I used to listen to Fatman's radio show as a teenager - late 50's, early 60's - after 40 years of not giving him a thought, I woke up this morning suddenly thinking, "Miss Mushmouth!" Went on line (search engines! what a boon to mankind!) and found you after poking around on YouTube and being completely blown away by "No Better For You."
    My question: does anyone know who the soloing sidemen are on that track? Loved the guitar solo and the sax especially.

  6. Hi Megan - No clue who the sidemen are... but definitely agree with you on the solos...

  7. Thanks, Chris. Love your blog.

  8. Re: "No Better For You"

    Prob: Houston, c. December 1951

    Lloyd "Fat Man" Smith (vcl) acc by The Caldonia Boys : prob pers. Aaron Izenhall, Emmett Perry, Bob
    Mitchell, Harold "Money" Johnson (tp) Alfred Cobbs, Bob Burgess (tb) Oliver Nelson (as) Josh Jackson,
    Irving Brown (ts) Numa Lee Moore (bar) John Malachi (p) Bill Jennings (g) Bob Bushnell (b) Christopher
    Columbus (d) unknown background vcl)

    Source: Bruyninckx Discography



    1. Hey who is this that's my Grandfather!!!

  10. When I about 11 or 12, I took three buses from my West Oak Lane home to get to WHAT radio studios then at Windemere and Conshohocken Avenues. I sat with Llloyd Fatman as he did his show and answered the phone for him. When he got comfortable with me being there after several visits, he let me do the news and some commercial spots. I was in the studio with Fatman when Georgie Woods (a competing deejay at WDAS) came in with a new demo "At the Hop" and told the Fatman to play it. He asked the little white boy what I thought and I said "If they get rid of the opening it will be a hit."
    It was with the Fatman that I first met Hy Lit, who came in to select records for his late night show. He was 22 and he became a hero and mentor. I started a fan club for the Fatman (with him announcing my home phone number on the air) and I can still envision my mother addressing envelopes for the club members membership cards and 8x10 photos.

    Lloyd Fatman gave me "Miss Mushmouth" which I always treasured.

  11. Wow, great post, Arty! Thanks for sharing that. Sounds like you were a lucky kid...

  12. any chance of a repost of this please?

  13. Early to mid 60s "Loyd Fatman" had a release on the
    Philadelphia NEW ART label...."No big thing" parts 1 and 2

  14. chris, i'm new at this blogging. i found this site posting records on ebay. i had a lloyd fatman record and googled him and found this site. i happen to have, on gotham lable, the two recordings you mentioned you never found. one is 'little leg woman' and the other is 'roll on mule'. both on gotham label g-215. it's a 78rpm in pretty good shape. if you have any interest in acquiring it contact me at jimmyfals@frontier.com

  15. Is this Fatman on Decca 27694 Please don't leave me. - Louis Jordan Orch?

  16. NEW ART 1006 Loyd Fatman No Big Thing parts 1&2
    May 1963 according to Ebdon Flode..........

  17. Thanks for the blog post buddy! Keep them coming... rags

  18. The Zatmandu (Mitch Zatto)January 23, 2019 at 3:55 PM

    "No Big Thing" by Fatman was issued in May or June of 1963; during that era he regularly appeared at the Media Inn at the corner of Baltimore Pike and Providence Road across from Howard Johnson's.

  19. The Soul HistorianJanuary 23, 2019 at 4:04 PM

    Lloyd Fatman took a sabbatical from WHAT in late 1965, as WHAT 1340 was gearing up for its "new" tighter sound with fresher younger personalities and a new p.d. George Wilson from WITH Baltimore. Later, in January 1969, owner Dolly Banks needed to replace over-nighter Bogary Robinson who had been drafted, and Fatman, who had become an actual Sheriff in Philadelphia (serving warrants and the like), was right there to double as a security guard (he had a license to carry) and all night jock. This arrangement continued until around 1988 when he passed away.

  20. Great post on Loyd Fatman.....Anybody got any recordings of him on the radio ?

  21. updated with new google drive link!

  22. I can recall Fatman filling in for Sonny Hopson in July or August 1969 on WHAT Philadelphia. Afternoon was Fatman's original time slot before Hopson came along and replaced him in 1966. It was referred to as "The Snap Club". The songs were on tape cartridges after 1968, and they always ran out to dead air when Fatman was on. The compression on the air chain kept the VU level way up even after the songs faded out, so he couldn't tell if the song had ended when the studio volume control was turned down. Arcane stuff!
    Daddio Ross