A bandleader, saxophonist and singer who recorded briefly in the early 1950’s without success but his frantic style and racy subject matter brought him more attention posthumously than he ever enjoyed in his lifetime.

Not much is known about Orville “Fats” Noel. It’s been written that he might’ve been from Connecticut or New York, born perhaps in 1926, but as to where or when he got his start and how got noticed, those questions have never been answered and may never have been asked.

On his most rock-centric sides he’s still playing with a jazzman’s view of the music, just sped up and made more crude, and so it stands to reason, considering the time period he was active in (1951-1952) that he began by playing jazz and switched to rock when it offered more opportunities, especially for someone whose vocal style was untutored.

The rest of his output though showed good diversity with limited opportunity – six sides in total, mostly instrumentals ranging from bluesy rock to jazzy rock and covering both fast and slow tempos nicely.

His most notable record came on his first – and only – release for DeLuxe, a legendary label finally starting to expand its roster again, featuring his lone vocal appearance. Despite its ribald content that made it perfect for rock, it drew little notice at the time and a year later he was on the newly formed Herald label for one session which resulted in two singles, neither of which sold either.

Reportedly Noel passed away soon after that, at the end of 1952, an obscure figure in his own time but a lingering name in the history books thanks to his first release with a title and subject that offered a little more than its author could deliver.

FATS NOEL DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(DeLuxe 3321; December, 1951)
A record that treats sex as a selling point rather than a subject to really explore, using the shock value of the title line in place of a more detailed story and hoping the frantic pace of the band and vocals gets you excited anyway. (5)

(DeLuxe 3321; December, 1951)
A decent unpretentious mood piece that splits the difference between blues with the piano in the first half and a laid back version of rock with Noel’s sax on the back end, all of it well played but ultimately inconsequential to all but his artistic legacy. (4)