Rhino came out with a "Best Of" 2 disc set about 7-8 years ago that's a must own for Fess fans. Look for it online, I'm sure it's still available. Happy listening!
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"Crawfish Fiesta" is a great album, get it anyway even if you get a collection of the vintage stuff (which is also great). Few legendary artists of the 50's have gone on to make as fine a recording decades after their heyday (a relative term in the case of the Professor, who kind of remained a near-mythical cult figure outside NO until he made "CF" and garnered some wider recognition). It also gives you the chance to hear him in hi-fi sound, not that I don't enjoy the lowish-fi sound of his classic sides as well.
Disregard everything listed above. It makes no sense to get into latter 'Fess" first.
There are three early material compilation albums that one should seek out:
"Professor Longhair New Orleans Piano" on Atlanic label.
"1949 Professor Longhair" on the Classics (French) label.
"Mardi Gras in New Orleans" on the Proper (British) label
Me, I'd go with the Proper disc. Twenty-three tracks with good notes and photos for under ten bucks!
Theduke makes a point, if you are going to build a collection, why not start at the beginning?
HOWEVER, if you're coming from a rock'n'roll listener's context and just starting out with blues piano , the later recordings are much more accessible - in particular Queen Mary - and a better place to start. One of the joys of migrating from rock music to piano blues is recognizing rock's roots in a different genre. About 15 years ago, I found Prof very rewarding for this reason and now listen to piano blues as much as, if not more than, rock music.
BTW New Orleans Piano and Madi Gras in NO are, as theduke notes, great records (I've managed to miss 1949 but will seek it out now).
Others not yet mentioned would include House Party in NO and Ball The Wall.
Martykl makes a good point. I think it is an eay transition into blues from rock. Working backward is a learning experiance. Work your way back to wax cylinder recordings from the Library of Congress and you can fully appreciate what is currently available (and justifiably criticize much of it for having bastardized all things good about music).