The fifth and final volume in Ace's extensive series documenting Fats Domino's singles for Imperial covers the years in which the singer was settling into a slow and steady commercial decline after his mammothly successful first decade as a recording artist. When you were as big a star as Domino was, of course, that's relative. His final two Top 40 hits ("Jambalaya [On the Bayou]" and "You Win Again") are here, and several other tracks dented the charts, if in their lower regions. Still, not many of these show up on Domino best-ofs, not only because they weren't big hits, but because the early '60s found the Fat Man starting to tread water artistically. At a time when pop music and the world itself were changing at lightning speed, he was pretty much doing what he'd always done. That wasn't bad by any means, but the songs weren't up to his best, and it's a little telling that the best-selling ones were New Orleans-ized remakes of Hank Williams songs (another of the better cuts was a cover of "I Hear You Knocking" that didn't add much to the classic Smiley Lewis original). Of course, these compilations aren't geared toward people looking for Fats Domino's best, but for virtually everything he did. Setting your appetite accordingly, this is still pretty consistent and enjoyable New Orleans rock & roll as only Fats sang it, if a little on the formulaic side by this point in his career. A couple songs where the production gets moderately lush (the pop standard "You Always Hurt the One You Love") or add female backup vocals and a yakety sax ("Isle of Capri") are kind of cool, though by 1964, even covering another Hank Williams song ("Your Cheatin' Heart") couldn't get him any higher than bubbling under the Hot 100. Ace makes the best of this least impressive batch of his Imperial singles with its usual fine liner notes and illustrations, adding a couple of cuts from his 1962 LP Just Domino.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger