Fatback is the layer of fat
that runs along the back of a pig
. The definition originating in The New Food Lover's Companion
, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst,
which turns up in about five different food glossaries, notes that fatback is "often confused with salt pork
, which comes from the belly or sides of a pig."
Fatback can be turned into lard or cracklings or salt-cured. Fresh or cured, it can be used to add pork flavor to a dish; this is often seen in recipes originating with people who didn't have the money for better meat (the American Southeast is one place where fatback was a common ingredient).
Fatback were also a funk band (originally "The Fatback Band" but they shortened their name in 1977 and most fan sites use the short version). They were formed in 1970 at the instigation of producer/drummer Bill Curtis who got together a bunch of musicians, including trumpet/synthesizer player Gerry Thomas, often listed as co-founder, and George Williams (trumpet), Johnny King (guitar), Johnny Flippen (bass), Fred Demerey (sax), and George Victory (guitar). Many others were in and out of the band over the years. They recorded sixteen albums between 1972 and 1985, with the late 1970s/early 1980s as their biggest years on the American R&B charts, and "King Time III (Personality Jock)" from 1979 is considered one of the pioneering rap singles. But they were generally better known in the UK and did not go mainstream in the US, despite now being recognized as a great influence on current styles. The band broke up in the mid 1980s. Rhino Records has recently put out a "Fattest of Fatback" compilation.
An early 1970s Boston rock band also used the name Fatback.