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The Fats Waller Songbook

Dinah Washington

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Album Review

This is one of the finest, if not most obscure titles in the Verve/Emarcy Songbook series. Long out of print, 1957's Fats Waller Songbook appropriately brings together Waller's vivacious songs and Dinah Washington's demonstrative vocal talents. The jazz diva effortlessly handles Waller classics like "Keeping out of Mischief Now," "Just Squeeze Me," and "Ain't Mibehavin'," while turning in particularly emotive renditions of "'Tain't Noboby's Biz-Ness If I Do" (actually a Clarence Williams tune), and "Jitterbug Waltz" (this last cut featuring Washington's keen and signature blend of blues vocal power and streamlined diction). Adding nice variety to the already strong set, Washington's husband at the time, saxophonist Eddie Chamblee, joins the singer for playful duets on "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Everybody Loves My Baby" (ironically, the love sentiments of both songs were not to stick, as the couple called it quits after just a year of marriage). In addition to "Everybody Loves My Baby" and "'Tain't Noboby's Biz-Ness If I Do," Washington covers other songs associated with Waller, but not penned by him, including "Christopher Columbus" and the highlight of the set, "Somebody's Rocking My Dreamboat." Topped off with solidly swinging charts by Ernie Wilkins and fine backing by an all-star band, the Fats Waller Songbook registers as one of Dinah Washington's best and most enjoyable records. [The 2007 reissue of this collection included bonus tracks.]

Biography

Born: August 29, 1924 in Tuscaloosa, AL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

Dinah Washington was at once one of the most beloved and controversial singers of the mid-20th century — beloved to her fans, devotees, and fellow singers; controversial to critics who still accuse her of selling out her art to commerce and bad taste. Her principal sin, apparently, was to cultivate a distinctive vocal style that was at home in all kinds of music, be it R&B, blues, jazz, middle of the road pop — and she probably would have made a fine gospel or country singer had she...
Full Bio

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