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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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