Very Best Of Fats Domino


rovi.MR0000774362 5/4/04 Used
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    Very Best Of Fats Domino Varèse Sarabande

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Review Text Fats Domino left Imperial Records for ABC in 1963, and he wasn't merely leaving behind a label. He was leaving behind his producer Dave Bartholomew, who helmed most of Domino's seminal sides on Imperial, and on ABC's request he stopped recording in his hometown, New Orleans. Instead, he set up shop in Nashville, where he worked with producer Felton Jarvis and arranger Bill Justis (best known for his instrumental hit "Honky Tonk"), who gave the Fat Man a pop polish, smoothing out the rhythms and adding precise horns and piles of corny backing vocals. At its core, Domino's music didn't really change -- it still was steady-rolling New Orleans R&B, sunny and catchy and easy to enjoy -- but that surface sheen was quite different than his Imperial sides, and his song selection became a little inconsistent, right down to the appealing generic nature of his originals. Ironically, for all of the pop positioning, he took a hit on the pop charts, cracking the pop charts just once, with "Red Sails in the Sunset" in 1963, but much of his time with ABC came during the height of the British Invasion, when all '50s rockers were overshadowed by those they inspired. Since this music was neither Domino's best nor his most popular, it's been relatively forgotten, never getting a domestic CD reissue until Varese Sarabande's 2004 collection The Very Best of Fats Domino: 1963-1965. While this disc doesn't make a case for these ABC sides being lost classics -- in fact, it proves that the conventional wisdom on his career is correct since the pop production taints the essence of his music, and those syrupy backing vocals grow irritating very quickly -- it does illuminate a shadowy area of his career. It summarizes his inconsistent recordings quite well by featuring all his charting singles on both the pop and R&B charts, along with some choice non-charting sides, such as "Wigs" and "Man That's All," which Bill Dahl points out in his excellent liner notes are the closest Fats got to classic New Orleans R&B while on ABC. If listeners are fully aware that this Very Best Of does not present Domino at his very best but instead sheds light on recordings that have been neglected (sometimes, rightly so), they will be satisfied by this modestly enjoyable, albeit flawed, collection. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. There Goes (My Heart Again) - 2:24
  2. 2. Can't Go on Without You - 2:15
  3. 3. When I'm Walking (Let Me Walk) - 2:11
  4. 4. Bye Baby, Bye Bye - 2:23
  5. 5. Red Sails in the Sunset - 3:38
  6. 6. I'm Livin' Right - 2:01
  7. 7. Who Cares - 3:57
  8. 8. Just a Lonely Man - 2:20
  9. 9. Lazy Lady - 3:43
  10. 10. Valley of Tears - 2:15
  11. 11. Mary, Oh Mary - 2:17
  12. 12. Fat Man - 3:32
  13. 13. Packin' Up - 3:40
  14. 14. Sally Was a Good Old Girl - 2:08
  15. 15. Heartbreak Hill - 3:57
  16. 16. Wigs - 2:09
  17. 17. Man That's All - 3:37
  18. 18. When My Dreamboat Comes Home - 2:23

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