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The Dominoes

The Dominoes

“Nursed it, rehearsed it.” - Birth of the Blues

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” - Ben Franklin

“Ready, willing and able.” - Robert Hartman

I had learned to play electric bass (somewhat) so now I had to find a band desperate enough to hire me.
In 1959 I first heard a rhythm and blues band from Houma at the College Inn in Thibodaux. They were formerly called the “Shadows”, now the “Dominoes”, both names meant to sound African-American, which were the popular bands of the times, but the band was lilly-white.

While the Dominoes wanted their name to sound black, in the 60’s my friend sax player Sidney George, Jr. and his band grew their hair long or wore wigs to look British.

The Dominoes were led by Leroy Trosclair on sax and the other members were his brother Errol, playing piano (with a missing finger), Ted Breaux on sax, from the Breaux Fuel Distributors of Lockport, guitar by Norman Leboeuf, from St. Mary Parish, and on drums, Tommy Domingue from Houma, later one of the great drummers in our Country/Cajun band, “Vin Bruce and the Acadians”.

He played on our recording sessions, stage shows, dances, fairs and at the first Edwin Edwards inauguration in Baton Rouge.

Good news for me was that the Dominoes were looking for a new bass player. The bad news was, they wanted a good one. They had heard that I played bass, (I had spread that rumor), and they invited me to a rehearsal to try out.

I showed up, unloaded my equipment and we rehearsed. I knew their repertoire since my band “The Rebels” had ventured into rock and roll territory during our years at Tee Lee’s in Raceland.

I must have played well enough to impress them because I was invited to join the band. They were not impressed, however, with my homemade amplifier.

“Doesn’t look professional,” I was told.

The sound was good and loud, so I was in, with a promise that I would eventually buy a Fender Bassman amp.
The Dominos played dances, fairs, weddings, sorority and fraternity parties, with frequent jobs at the College Inn in Thibodaux and Yot’s Steak House in Houma.

It was fun and we dressed in fancy outfits. Leroy kept a tight ship and I learned a lot about that genre of music, enough to later help me organize the Joe Barry recording band, “The Vikings” with which we recorded the million seller, “I’m a Fool to Care”, and Barbara Lynn’s “You’ll Lose a Good Thing”, all of Jimmy Donley’s second career Cosimo sessions, Jerry Raines, Mickey Gilley, Joey Long and many other Texas and Louisiana artists. We recorded over 24 songs for Joe Barry, including several more hits, although no further million sellers.

Leroy Trosclair was a haberdasher who made sure we kept in style. I played with them less than a year and during that time we purchased, from his store, three different outfits, so most of the money we made ($10 to $15 per gig) went for uniforms.

During a recent phone conversation in April, Leroy Trosclair and I reminisced about our playing days which were happy days. This however, was not a happy time for him because he was in the hospital after a leg amputation due to type 2 diabetes.

I have that same affliction and type 1 diabetes was the eventual cause of death of my son Michael in 2014 after two kidney transplants. I certainly could connect and sympathize with that.

In recent years I heard his brother Errol play and sing at several functions, but I was informed that he had stopped about 2 years ago. He was a good showman. I sang a few songs like “Kansas City”, “That’ll Be the Day”, and the very few country songs the band played.

During our phone conversation Leroy informed me that all members of the Dominoes were still living and we recalled our most memorable night with the band. It happened at Yot’s Steak House in Houma on October 31, 1959.

Sports fans will certainly remember that date, and I’ll tell my readers about that and my exit from the band next week.

Bye now!
Comments are welcomed at: leroymartin1929@gmail.com