Fats Waller

20 Greatest Hits

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This European release contains the bare minimum of information -- song titles and songwriting credits -- leaving listeners to ponder the source of its contents. The recordings seem to be a combination of RCA Victor studio recordings and soundtrack excerpts. For example, the version of "I've Got My Fingers Crossed" clearly comes from the 1935 film King of Burlesque. The selections, while not matching any verifiable list of Waller's hits, do include many of his best-known titles, including two versions of "Ain't Misbehavin'": one a piano instrumental; the other a vocal rendition. There is a good mixture of the different kinds of recordings Waller made, from his solo piano and organ pieces to performances with a band. The LP is packed, with a running time in excess of 56 minutes, which is achievable by mastering the disc at a low volume, but that tends to emphasize hiss and crackles, making this a sonically challenged album. Waller fans can do better in looking for a compilation than this one.

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