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Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans

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Artist: Fats Domino
Label: Capitol

Review

Following Capitol/EMI's last Fats Domino CD compilation (Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest Hits the Way You Originally Heard Them) by five years, 2007's Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans betters that comp in terms of sheer numbers (as it does 1990s My Blue Heaven) by ten tracks and this is a case when more is indeed more. Ten tracks is enough to offer depth, particularly in his earliest sides but also with a couple lesser-known hits from his rock & roll prime, turning this into a joyous overview of one of the greatest musicians of the '50s. It's nice to have this hit the pre-rock & roll and R&B a bit harder -- "Ain't That a Shame" doesn't roll around 'til track six, then it's another ten before "Blueberry Hill" kicks off the string of crossovers -- because it illustrates how hard this rocker, who often gets pigeonholed as merely a genial piano player, really rocked. And though he cut other great material during his Imperial Records stint, it is surely one of the most consistent bodies of work in rock & roll/R&B, heard to full effect either in the four-disc Walking to New Orleans or the complete Bear Family box: for those who don't want or need to delve that deeply, or are just beginning to explore, this is nothing less than essential. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine