Release Date: 03/24/09
The Master Entertainer - Great to the Last
This is the final volume in JSP's Fats Waller series. Up to the end, there was no pause in his energy or creativity. Fats had toured Europe twice to deal with his waning American popularity, but as 1940 dawned, that could be forgotten. In early February, he appeared in Detroit in front of record audiences. This was the start of a seemingly unending schedule of tours, recordings, movies and radio work. Recorded Waller product continued to be popular - America was edging ever closer to World War - a cheery voice was ever more welcome. With December 7th's attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan, the world changed. On the session of 26th December, the mood is as cheery as ever. Cash For Your Trash is obviously inspired by a recycling drive. This is typical of Fats' response to the war - he was an early and enthusiastic promoter of War Bonds and gave frequent troop shows. As well as recordings made with his regular sidemen, featured here are recordings made with the cast of 'Stormy Weather' which Fats had starred in and rare V-Discs which were exclusively for the use of the Armed Forces - important because they are the only recordings made during the Musicians Union recording ban. By the end of 1943, Fats was on the West Coast. There was no let-up in the work or the partying. After two weeks of furious activity, Fats fell ill with influenza. He was confined to bed for ten days, after which he resumed the hectic round. At a press conference on Sunday 12th December he 'fell asleep' and returned to his hotel to rest. On Monday 13th, he caught the eastbound Super Chief, looking forward to Christmas with his family. By the time the train pulled into Kansas City he was dead - from pneumonia. Sixty years after his death, Fats' fame is undiminished - his most famous songs are still a radio staple. He might have hoped to surpass his piano playing jester image - but in dispensing joy to the world, his was a unique legacy.
|Label: Jsp Records|
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