I've waited 13yrs for 'Ace' records to follow up volume 3 (1956-58) and as usual they've done a fantastic job. Great sound quality and a good informative booklet. The A's and B's (1959-61) range from outstanding and there are many of these - 'I'm ready, 'Margie', 'Be my guest', 'I want to walk ypu home' and the glorious 'It keeps rainin' but there are a few below par tracks (by Fats high standard anyhow) but overall well worth the wait, its good time RnB/Rock n' Roll call it what you like it'll have you feeling good in no time and dancing around - fully recommended.
In my review of Volume 3 of this excellent Ace series I commented on the variety of offerings in the set which seemed on the one hand to be a seismic shift away from the performances in Volume 1 of the series but on the other, to be still well in touch with roots in blues, boogie and New Orleans marching music. Yet more new touches appear in this, the follow-up set which takes us through to September `61.
- Fats reveals a new vocal trick whereby he throws in more syllables in the last line of a song than you would expect and in so doing, producing an attention grabbing rhythmic effect - ref. "I want to walk you home" though that's not the sole place he uses it here - he shows how one could add strings to a track without ruining it completely - ref. "Walking to New Orleans" though that same bank of violins does appear on a small number of other tracks here where the jury's still out on whether they do irreparable damage to the songs - he gives us a foretaste of Reggae - ref. "Be My Guest" and "It Keeps Rainin'" and maybe more - he shows the swamp pop guys how it should be done - ref. the Bobby Charles' authored "Before I grow too old" and the Jimmy Donley authored "What a Price" - on both of these great cuts Antoine sounds more swampy than the versions of these songs by Bobby and Jim - From the same origins he also produces two other excellent tracks - ref. "Walking to New Orleans" (Bobby) and "Rockin' Bicycle" (Jimmy)
To be fair I shouldn't really attribute all this work just to Fats. It was that same old fantastic team of Fats and Dave which was continuing to produce the goods. And the public were still buying - Fats was consistently charting with these singles even if not quite reaching the heights of `56. And this was in a timeframe when we were hearing less basic rock'n'roll and more manufactured '60's pop and teen idol pap. Fats was about as far from a teen idol as you could get (and his records had to sell on their musical merits rather what their singer looked like) but maybe what Dave and he did was to manufacture but only to manufacture on foundations that were locked into a solid bedrock of American roots music.
This is what I've been waiting for. I bought nearly all of these on singles many of which I've mislaid or had nicked at parties,and I'm really chuffed to get them on one CD, They sound as good as ever (probably better with modern equipment). What an artist! What a great backing to every number! Classics - all of 'em!! A great compilation.