1935, Vol. 2

1935, Vol. 2

by Fats Waller


1 New & Used Starting at $4.55


Among his many unfulfilled plans, it was Fats Waller's ambition to tour with a large band, preaching the Gospel as his father had before him. The closest he came to realizing this dream was "There's Gonna Be the Devil to Pay" and "Brother Seek and Ye Shall Find," both recorded during the summer of 1935. These are hot stomps but the inherent religious message is made abundantly clear by the piano player, who belts out Biblical references like "Samson, where lies thy strength?" at the top of his lungs. Fats would have made a good preacher. You get just a glimpse of this potential every time he raises his voice. 1935 was a particularly successful year for this man and his hot little bands. This particular slice of the chronology happens to focus upon a short period of time during which reedman Gene Sedric was replaced by an expressive clarinetist and alto saxophonist named Rudy Powell. It's easy to see why this band was so popular. Every sort of mood and subject matter is given the Waller treatment. Love songs become joyously moving testimonials, as in "My Very Good Friend the Milkman," or riotously gleeful celebrations like "Sweet Sue" and "Got a Bran' New Suit." Heartbreak is lampooned with gusto in "Sugar Blues," "Woe! Is Me," "Somebody Stole My Gal" and that incredible theatrically charged masterpiece "The Girl I Left Behind Me." Sloth actually becomes a virtue in "Loafin' Time." If you want to experience six men jamming with reckless abandon, go directly to "12th Street Rag." Records like these are literally unforgettable. Once heard they become part of the cerebral cortex and at any moment the record might start spinning again inside the memory bank where everything is allowed. "Truckin'" is a cousin to "Slummin' on Park Avenue" in that both songs describe white folks visiting Afro-American neighborhoods, wrinkling their noses while picking up on dances, speech patterns and clothing styles for their own gratification. The dance called "Truckin'" started up in Harlem where it was discovered by visitors who took it back with them to white society, where it became trendy. Sound familiar? The song was already quite a piece of work as written. Hearing Fats Waller and His Rhythm cook it up is one of the high points of this excellent album of classic small band swing.

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