Dave Bartholomew was born in Edgard Louisiana but soon moved with his parents to New Orleans where he took music lessons from Peter Davis who had also tutored Louis Armstrong. As a teenager, he performed with various bands in New Orleans including Papa Celestin’s and Fats Pichon’s riverboat band, which he eventually led.
After service in WWII, he started The Dew Droppers, named for the Dew Drop Inn, a cradle of New Orleans R&B. In 1949 he co-wrote “The Fat Man” with Fats Domino, which jump-started Domino’s career. He would continue to write and arrange for Domino for many years. His first big hit with his own band was “Country Boy” in 1950. He was associated with various record companies—Trumpet, Mercury, Liberty- and started his own record company, Broadmoor, in 1967.
In addition to Domino, his compositions have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson and others. In the 70s and 80s, he led a Dixieland Band in New Orleans. Bartholomew died of heart failure at age 100 at East Jefferson Hospital in Metairie, LA on June 23, 2019.
On a personal note, I encountered Bartholomew only once in 1995 for the memorial stamp release of the Louis Armstrong stamp. After the ceremony, there was a celebration at the Blue Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in downtown New Orleans. Three trumpeters performed that night –Bartholomew, Doc Cheatham, and a much younger Nicholas Payton.