If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It!

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Barnes & Noble - David McGee
The great comic/compositional/instrumental/vocal genius who was Thomas “Fats” Waller has a catalogue of awesome breadth and depth, comprised of small combo, orchestra and solo piano and organ performances, all recorded in a 20-year span from 1923 to 1943 (when he succumbed to bronchial pneumonia a few months shy of his 40th birthday). —in toto, more than 400 tunes committed to disc. A gifted songwriter, whose frequent collaborator, lyricist Andy Razaf, was also one of the best of his time, Waller left behind American song monuments such as “Honeysuckle Rose” and, of course, “Ain’t Misbehavin,” and also proved himself a formidable interpreter of classic pop songs of the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
The great comic/compositional/instrumental/vocal genius who was Thomas “Fats” Waller has a catalogue of awesome breadth and depth, comprised of small combo, orchestra and solo piano and organ performances, all recorded in a 20-year span from 1923 to 1943 (when he succumbed to bronchial pneumonia a few months shy of his 40th birthday). —in toto, more than 400 tunes committed to disc. A gifted songwriter, whose frequent collaborator, lyricist Andy Razaf, was also one of the best of his time, Waller left behind American song monuments such as “Honeysuckle Rose” and, of course, “Ain’t Misbehavin,” and also proved himself a formidable interpreter of classic pop songs of the day, his stamp on tunes such as “(I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead” You Rascal You,” “It’s a Sin To Tell a Lie” and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” so unmistakably Waller that it’s hard to believe he didn’t write those as well. In the mid-‘90s RCA did a great service to Waller and his legacy by issuing the heart of the artist’s oeuvre, that being the recordings he made between 1934 and 1943, in a five-volume, multi-disc (13 in all), superbly annotated collection titled Fats Waller and His Rhythm, which was also the name of one of his finest combos of that period. Those discs were allowed, unbelievably, to go out of print, but Bluebird/Legacy has stepped in to correct a wrong with “If You Gotta Ask, You Ain’t Got It,” a three-CD, 66-song overview of Waller’s art, arranged thematically as one volume of vocal performances (“Fats Waller Sings and Plays Fats Waller”), one of instrumentals only (“Strictly Instrumental”) and a third disc of Waller’s renderings of Great American Songbook entries (fancifully but tellingly titled “Fats Sings and Plays Around With Tin Pan Alley”). Volumes One and Three are largely showcases for the Fats Waller and His Rhythm combo and comprise the big man’s most enduring recordings, from the tender-hearted balladry of “A Hopeless Love Affair” to the wry discourse, “All That and No Potatoes,” with the coup de grace being the amazing version of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” recorded for the film Stormy Weather. The instrumental disc is a real treat, as it features three robust performances on pipe organ, including the Louisiana Sugar Babes’ graceful ode to the south, “’Sippi,” written by and featuring on piano the stride giant James P. Johnson (alas, Waller’s organ is barely audible on the track, a flaw in the original recording); and nine richly textured solo piano numbers that illustrate how Waller took Johnson’s stride style into new realms of expressiveness. Sixty-six tunes is barely scratching the surface of Waller’s rich art, but the smart selections, and the best sort of annotators-as-tour-guides in producer and Waller expert Orrin Keepnews and veteran jazz writer Dan Morgenstern, make this an essential, and most enlightening, celebration of an American original.
All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
During his 21-year recording career, Thomas "Fats" Waller waxed so many hundreds of songs that only a dedicated few have heard them all even once, let alone often enough to understand the true nature of his legacy. While longtime collectors can attest to the awesome breadth and depth of Waller's massive discography, your average citizen needs and deserves a chance to investigate on a more modest level, which is what compilations are supposed to be for. Most Fats Waller samplers concentrate upon his highly developed sense of humor and his vital importance in the development of swing music; the best of them also highlight his pianistic prowess and -- if you're lucky -- his pioneering role as the first person to play jazz on the organ. Producer Orrin Keepnews has achieved what should be regarded as a major accomplishment in Waller studies both intensive and casual: an intelligently compiled three-CD set with superbly insightful liner notes by Dan Morgenstern, including a detailed biography, informative commentary on each of the 66 tracks, and more than 40 previously unpublished photographs from the Fats Waller archives. The conceptual framework of this compilation will help listeners to understand and feel the essence of Waller's music more clearly perhaps than ever before. Disc one presents Waller's interpretations of songs he wrote himself. Disc two, packed with (one) organ and (ten) piano solos as well as small-group and big-band swing, purports to be "strictly instrumental," even if Waller prefaces "Serenade for a Wealthy Widow" with a plea for "currency" and makes cheeky references to conspicuous consumption all throughout "Lounging at the Waldorf." Disc three, touching upon the best-known aspects of this artist's public persona, is entitled Fats Waller Sings and Plays Around with Tin Pan Alley. Given the sheer number of extant recordings that fit into that category, the producer made extraordinarily fine choices. Keepnews admits: "I inevitably have not included all of your Waller favorites. As a matter of fact, I haven't even had room to include all of mine!" It is clear that both Morgenstern and Keepnews drew upon entire lifetimes spent developing sincere love and respect for this great artist. "If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It!" gets its title from Waller's famous response to the question "What is swing?" -- listen through all three discs and you'll most certainly get it for real.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/26/2006
  • Label: Rca Victor
  • UPC: 828768112526
  • Catalog Number: 81125

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Honeysuckle Rose - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:42)
  2. 2 How Can You Face Me? - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:48)
  3. 3 The Panic Is On - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:16)
  4. 4 Sugar Rose - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:11)
  5. 5 I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:18)
  6. 6 Lost Love - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:07)
  7. 7 Our Love Was Meant to Be - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:31)
  8. 8 The Joint Is Jumpin' - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:49)
  9. 9 A Hopeless Love Affair - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:14)
  10. 10 Hold My Hand - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:58)
  11. 11 Patty Cake, Patty Cake - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:17)
  12. 12 Honey Hush - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:20)
  13. 13 Anita - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:14)
  14. 14 Squeeze Me - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:09)
  15. 15 Old Grand Dad - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:46)
  16. 16 All That Meat and No Potatoes - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:47)
  17. 17 Ain't Nothing to It - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:12)
  18. 18 Bessie, Bessie, Bessie - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:01)
  19. 19 Cash for Your Trash - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:24)
  20. 20 You Must Be Losing Your Mind - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:33)
  21. 21 Up Jumped You with Love - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:20)
  22. 22 Ain't Misbehavin' - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:57)
Disc 2
  1. 1 St. Louis Blues (2:53)
  2. 2 'Sippi (3:05)
  3. 3 Thou Swell (3:00)
  4. 4 Numb Fumblin' (2:53)
  5. 5 Ain't Misbehavin' (3:02)
  6. 6 Love Me or Leave Me (2:40)
  7. 7 Smashing Thirds (3:06)
  8. 8 My Fate Is in Your Hands (2:42)
  9. 9 African Ripples (3:10)
  10. 10 Viper's Drag (2:58)
  11. 11 Keepin' out of Mischief Now (3:14)
  12. 12 Stardust (3:14)
  13. 13 Carolina Shout (2:38)
  14. 14 Serenade for a Wealthy Widow - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:39)
  15. 15 Rosetta - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:48)
  16. 16 Functionizin' - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:07)
  17. 17 Loungin' at the Waldorf - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:57)
  18. 18 Blue, Turnin' Grey Over You - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (4:24)
  19. 19 In the Gloamin' - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:23)
  20. 20 Mamacita - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:42)
  21. 21 The Jitterbug Waltz - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:23)
  22. 22 Honeysuckle Rose - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:08)
Disc 3
  1. 1 (I'll Be Glad When You're Dead) You Rascal You - Jack Teagarden Orchestra (3:14)
  2. 2 You're Not the Only Oyster in the Stew - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:12)
  3. 3 What's the Reason (I'm Not Pleasin' You) - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:51)
  4. 4 Lulu's Back in Town - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:37)
  5. 5 I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:31)
  6. 6 Dinah - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:08)
  7. 7 There'll Be Some Changes Made - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:08)
  8. 8 Somebody Stole My Gal - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (3:29)
  9. 9 Christopher Columbus - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:51)
  10. 10 It's a Sin to Tell a Lie - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:55)
  11. 11 She's Tall, She's Tan, She's Terrific - Fats Waller & His Rhythm (2:38)
  12. 12 The Sheik of Araby - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:08)
  13. 13 Two Sleepy People - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:05)
  14. 14 A Good Man Is Hard to Find - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:05)
  15. 15 Hold Tight (Want Some Seafood, Mama) - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:06)
  16. 16 'Tain't What You Do (It's the Way You Do It) - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:51)
  17. 17 Your Feet's Too Big - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:06)
  18. 18 Darktown Strutters' Ball - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:43)
  19. 19 I Can't Give You Anything But Love - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:58)
  20. 20 You Run Your Mouth, I'll Run My Business - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:04)
  21. 21 Let's Get Away from It All - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (3:02)
  22. 22 'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do - Fats Waller His Rhythm & His Orchestra (2:59)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Fats Waller Primary Artist, Piano, Celeste, Vocals, Pipe organ, Soloist
Al Casey Guitar
Bill Coleman Trumpet
James P. Johnson Piano
Pee Wee Russell Clarinet
Slam Stewart Bass
Jack Teagarden Trombone, Vocals
Jabbo Smith Cornet
Irving Ashby Guitar
Adrian Rollini Bass Saxophone
Zutty Singleton Drums
Charlie Teagarden Trumpet
Herman Autrey Trumpet
Benny Carter Trumpet
Artie Bernstein Bass
Arnold Boling Drums
Garvin Bushell Clarinet, Bassoon, Alto Saxophone
Bob Carroll Tenor Saxophone
Hank Duncan Piano
John Haughton Trombone
Ray Hogan Trombone
George James Alto Saxophone
Slick Jones Drums
Stan King Drums
Nappy Lamare Guitar
Dave McRae Alto Saxophone
Mezz Mezzrow Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Alton Moore Trombone
Floyd O'Brien Trombone
Gene Porter Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Yank Porter Drums
Jimmy Powell Alto Saxophone
Rudy Powell Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
George Robinson Trombone
Gene Sedric Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Lonnie Simmons Tenor Saxophone
Fred Skerritt Baritone Saxophone
Charles Turner Bass
George Wilson Trombone
Sterling Bose Trumpet
Joe Catalyne Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Max Farley Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Courtney Williams Trumpet
Arthur Trappier Drums
Lawrence Fields Alto Saxophone
Cedric Wallace Bass
Una Mae Carlisle Vocals
Emmett Matthews Tenor Saxophone
Billy Taylor Jr. Bass
William Alsop Alto Saxophone
Nathaniel Williams Trumpet
Bobby Williams Trumpet
John "Bugs" Hamilton Trumpet
Joe Thomas Trumpet
Alfred Skerritt Alto Saxophone
Harry Dial's Blusicians Drums, Vibes
James "Hal" Smith Guitar
Fred "Rodriguez" Robinson Trombone
Chauncey Graham Tenor Saxophone
Larry Hinton Drums
Herb Flemming Trombone
Technical Credits
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
Chu Berry Composer
Billy Higgins Composer
Earl Hines Composer
Fats Waller Arranger, Composer
Jimmie Grier Composer
Jimmy McHugh Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Andy Razaf Composer
Frank Loesser Composer
Fred E. Ahlert Composer
Louis Armstrong Author
Shelton Brooks Composer
J. Fred Coots Composer
Henry Creamer Composer
Walter Donaldson Composer
Dorothy Fields Composer
Porter Grainger Composer
Lorenz Hart Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Buddy Kaye Composer
Orrin Keepnews Producer, Liner Notes
Dan Morgenstern Essay
Mitchell Parish Composer
Leonard Ware Composer
Harry Warren Composer
Clarence Williams Composer
Spencer Williams Composer
Reginald Foresythe Composer
Seth Rothstein Art Direction
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Clarence Todd Composer
Harry Brooks Composer
Randall Martin Art Direction
Pinky Tomlin Composer
Joe Young Composer
Alex Hill Composer
Tom Adair Composer
Harry Akst Composer
Benny Davis Composer
Fred Fisher Composer
Francis Wheeler Composer
Leo Wood Composer
Billy Mayhew Composer
Harold Spina Composer
Willie Spottswood Composer
Sam Theard Composer
Ada Benson Composer
Jerry Brandow Composer
William Henri Woode Composer
Andreas Meyer Mastering
Robert Graham Composer
W. Benton Overstreet Composer
Bert Clarke Composer
Phil Ponce Composer
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