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  • Domino Fats - I’ve Been Around – The Complete Imperial and ABC Recordings (12-CD & DVD) (CD)


    12 CD (312 tracks) & DVD, Clothbound slipcase, 275 x 285 x 45 mm with clothbound CD-folder, 270 x 270 x 25 mm with 12 CDs & 1 DVD plus clothbound hardcover book, 270 x 270 x 20 mm, ca. 240 pages, full color

    DVD NTSC, 16:9, code-free, stereo, 150 min. – A FILM BY Joe Lauro – PRODUCED BY Joe Lauro, Rich Nevins, Rick Coleman – EDITED BY Anthea Carr – WRITTEN BY Joe Lauro, Rick Coleman – EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS Celia Zantz, Daniel Wheeler, Dick Connette 

    Some Questions you may have about the new Fats Domino box set.
    Q:  I have the old Fats Domino Box on Bear Family which was released 25 years ago. Why should I buy this box?
    A: It’s been upgraded and increased in size (12 CDs – 312 tracks versus 8 in the old box; 240-page book versus 60 in the 1993 box). Much new material has been added including unreleased alt takes, undubbed and unedited masters, and instrumental backing tracks. 

    Also for the first time anywhere we present some of Fats’s biggest hits as they were originally recorded, not sped-up for release. The completely revised book contains a wealth of previously unpublished images, track-by-track musical commentary by the producers, as well as updated and extended notes by Fats biographer Rick Coleman. The box also includes an acclaimed video documentary on Fats’s life and music.

    Q: Isn’t this new box very expensive?
    A: Not for what it is.  Remember, this project took years to complete and thousands of hours. Sure, there is a lot of cheap Fats Domino product out there – and it looks and sounds it. The book production here, the pictures, the remastering, the background story – these are available nowhere else. 

    And we licensed primary sources to master from. None of these were cheap. Putting it simply: the music sounds much better on this box set than it ever has before due to the brilliant remastering from the original tapes. Second, the book that we include is much better – in terms of both the writing and the images – than anything anyone has done before, Bear Family included. The new box set is actually a bargain – especially if you take advantage of the introductory discounted price.

    Q: You mentioned songs in different speeds? Please explain that to me.
    A: Many of Fats’s biggest hits were artificially sped up for release to make him sound more “youthful”. This box includes both the familiar sped up versions and never-before-heard authentic versions.
    Q: How many of the Fats songs were sped up?
    A: Twenty-seven songs were originally released sped up as singles. But once Imperial had success with the new sped-up version of Fats, they began to speed-up old recordings when they appeared as “filler” on LPs. It took a lot of sleuth-work and engineering to get things right.
    Q: Who did the speed up on Fats, his producers or the record company?
    A: Imperial Records authorized it. But the speed-ups were proposed and carried out by the sound engineer where the records were mastered, a man named Abraham “Bunny” Robyn.
    Q: Why were the songs sped up in the first place?
    A: “Bunny” Robyn thought some of Fats’s records sounded “logey” – not lively enough — and convinced Lew Chudd at Imperial to let him try doing it. The first record he sped up was Ain’t It a Shame, a huge success.
    Q: Do I get all the Fats Domino songs I love?
    A: If they were recorded for Imperial and ABC-Paramount, yes you do.
    Q: As Fats experts know, reissues of “Blueberry Hill” reliably use the patched-together repaired master because of a ruined stretch of tape. What is in this box?
    A: We mastered from a pristine copy of the US-issued Imperial 78 rpm release – the only version that didn’t require repair. Blueberry Hill is one of the tracks that got sped up so we also include a repaired version slowed down to its authentic performance speed. Our book discusses this odd episode in Fats’s recording career.
    Q: Are all the CDs remastered or is it just the ones that were sped up?
    A: Every track in this box has been carefully remastered. You will be delighted and in many cases surprised at how good they sound.
    Q: I see there are recordings by other musicians. Why?
    A: Early in his career, Fats sometimes worked as a session pianist for other artists like Joe Turner, Lloyd Price and Smiley Lewis. We’ve included some examples of those recordings. In addition, Fats was an incredibly influential performer whose style was often imitated. We include some examples of that as well.
    Q: Does the Discography in the new box include complete session information?
    A: It contains everything that is known. The Imperial sessions are a lot better documented. Unfortunately, the ABC sessions contain some personnel gaps, but rest assured – you are getting everything that is known.  
    Q: What about the video? Why is it part of the box?
    A: We were fortunate enough to secure the rights to the widely acclaimed PBS documentary about Fats and his place in rock & roll history. It includes interviews with Dave Bartholomew and legendary New Orleans recording engineer Cosimo Matassa.
    Q: I’ve heard there is a longer “director’s cut” of the documentary.  Do I get that too?
    A: Yes, you do. Both are on the DVD. 
    Q: Who are the producers, Hank Davis and Scott Parker?
    A: They are musicians and rock & roll historians who have loved Fats’s music for over 60 years. They have been involved in the production of more than 50 projects for Bear Family Records.

    We could have taken the easy way out. The original 1993 box set was out of stock. We could simply have printed more copies and filled orders.
    Of course, we didn’t. This is Bear Family Records and we don’t take shortcuts. We’ve invested more than 1000 hours in re-writing, recompiling and re-mastering this box. The brilliant engineering by Christian Zwarg will leave you shaking your head in admiration. You won’t quite recognize some of your favorite Fats Domino tracks because they’ve never sounded this good.
    We’ve found a lot of new material – some things that were thought to be lost and other things that nobody knew existed. We have alternate takes that have never before been issued.  We’ve got new unedited and non-overdubbed versions of some familiar Fats songs and newly discovered overdubs of familiar songs. We’ve got the intact recording of Blueberry Hill without the tape glitch. We’ve got previously unreleased backing tracks. We’ve also included some examples of Fats working as a session pianist for other artists (including Joe Turner, Lloyd Price and Smiley Lewis) early in his career. And to show how influential Fats’s style was, we’ve included some examples of other performers imitating Fats during his Golden Era. 
    But the biggest news concerns the Speed-up. Everybody knows that some of Fats’s Imperial records were speeded up for release, making them both faster and pitched in higher keys. But how many of them? And which ones? And just how much were they speeded up? And, in case you wondered, how was it done back in 1955 and by whom? We didn’t have as good a handle on those questions when the original box set was compiled back in 1993, and we sure didn’t know the answers. But we do now. And we admit, back 25 years ago we screwed up some of the speeds on our original box. And when other companies tried to fix things with their Fats Domino reissues, they made their own mistakes and just added to the mess.
    But now the mess is over. A lot of those 1000+ hours went into getting speeds exactly right so we can truly present Fats’s music as it was originally released. But what is completely new here is that we also present, for the first time anywhere, examples of Fats’s Greatest Hits as they were originally performed in the studio, at their original speeds and in their real keys. No speed-up. You can be a fly on the wall and hear songs like Ain’t It A Shame and I’m Walking as they actually sounded in Cosimo’s New Orleans studio. That addition alone makes this Box a landmark event.
    A lot has also gone into updating and revising the accompanying, lavishly illustrated book by Fats biographer Rick Coleman, and by music historians Hank Davis and Scott Parker. That includes an updated Fats Domino Imperial Records Discography. And what’s more, we extended the Box to include two CDs with all of Fats post-Imperial recordings for the ABC Paramount label. Twelve CDs in all – an upgrade of 50% from the original box. 
    Even if you bought the first Bear Family box 25 years ago, Fats Domino: I’ve Been Around is a must for any serious Fats Domino collection. It’s not going to get any better than this.
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