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Fats Waller
The Centennial Collection
Bluebird

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Well, thinks I to meself, finally a Fats Waller CD. Good—I never play my Book-of-the-Month Club vinyl, or those unsorted Vintages. But soon I notice many apparent obscurities fleshing out "The Joint Is Jumping" and "Your Feets Too Big"—some superb, like Fats striding through James P. Johnson's "Carolina Shout," most merely good. So I go buy RCA's 2000 The Very Best of Fats Waller, figuring the gold is buried there. Only it's not. Neither of these CDs features the original "Ain't Misbehavin' " or "Honeysuckle Rose" (Very Best has two others), and though I remain a seeker, not an expert, this is clearly suspicious. So here's what I propose: one expertly annotated CD of piano solos, with a few band instrumentals and organ numbers thrown in, and one of the novelty songs that made him a crossover pioneer—selected, please, by somebody with a cheap sense of humor. I'd be grateful if it included his "One Meat Ball," which I haven't seen nor heard since my parents threw out their 78s—and which I am thus no longer sure ever existed.

 
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