Liner Note Author: John Broven.
Illustrators: John Broven; Victor Pearlin; Brian Nevill.
Both sides of 13 singles, sequenced in chronological order, that Fats Domino issued between 1959 and 1961 are presented on the fourth volume of Ace's extensive series documenting the 45s he did in his prime for the Imperial label. This turn-of-the-decade period is sometimes thought of as one in which Domino's commercial and artistic success was on the decline, if only slightly, with his New Orleans R&B/rock getting more mainstream, especially on sides that used strings and backup vocals. There's some truth to that, but almost any other artist would be proud to call this a greatest-hits collection. All but two of these tracks (even including the B-sides) made the Top 100, after all, and eight of them were Top 20 hits that mostly remain familiar to this day, including "I'm Ready,""I Want to Walk You Home,""I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Some Day,""Be My Guest,""Walking to New Orleans,""My Girl Josephine," and "Let the Four Winds Blow." Those still tend to be the most memorable of the songs collected here, but the largely Domino-Dave Bartholomew-written numbers usually maintain a reasonably high standard, whether they're in Fats' trademark easygoing rock & roll vein or whether they're more lushly produced ballads. Some listeners might appreciate more variety when hearing all of this at once. But certainly Fats fans will like having his singles from this era so thoughtfully anthologized, both for the most outstanding classics and the better relatively overlooked tunes, like the smoky slow bluesy "If You Need Me" and the jubilant update of the Tin Pan Alley standard "Put Your Arms Around Me Honey." ~ Richie Unterberger