Fats Waller & His Rhythm

Fractious Fingering: The Early Years, Part 3 (1936)

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With the release of this two-CD set in 1997, it became possible for the first time ever to easily acquire all of pianist/composer/vocalist Fats Waller's Rhythm recordings of 1934-43. They are available in their entirety on three double-disc and three triple-disc sets, 15 discs in all. The 41 selections on this set feature Waller with trumpeter Herman Autrey, Gene Sedric on clarinet and tenor, guitarist Al Casey, bassist Charles Turner and either Yank Porter or Slick Jones on drums. The rarest performance ("Stay") has Elizabeth Handy (W.C.'s daughter) joining Fats for a duet vocal, and there are also five alternate takes (all previously released) of various tunes. This hard-swinging music is quite enjoyable (especially in small doses), with the most memorable selections including "All My Life," "Christopher Columbus" (with its hilarious lyrics), "Black Raspberry Jam," "Fractious Fingering," two run-throughs on "The Curse of an Aching Heart," the jubilant "Floatin' Down to Cotton Town," and two classic versions of "Swingin' Them Jingle Bells." This music is impossible not to like, and, as is always true of Fats Waller, it is touched with genius.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:44
2 2:50
3 3:26
4 2:45
5 3:24
6 2:38
7 2:54
8 2:54
9 2:19
10 3:04
11 2:50
12 2:17
13 2:51
14 2:36
15 2:37
16 2:39
17 2:32
18 2:55
19 3:03
20 2:16
21 2:50

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:22
2 2:11
3 2:28
4 2:25
5
feat: Fats Waller
2:18
6 2:50
7 2:51
8 3:02
9 2:18
10 2:58
11 2:40
12 2:37
13 2:19
14 2:17
15 2:55
16 2:55
17 2:52
18 2:55
19 2:40
20 2:46
blue highlight denotes track pick