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  Got You on My Mind
Artist: William Galison & Madeleine Peyroux 
Label: Waking Up Music
Length: 11/41:44

Harmonica impresario William Galison teams up with torch/jazz singer on Got You on My Mind, an album consisting of three originals surrounded by eight covers – some more well known than others.   Peyroux returns to recording after a six year hiatus following her debut album, Dreamland.  Her voice effortlessly shifts from standards (a sped up version of “The Way You Look Tonight”) to '20’s jazz (“Back in Your Own Back Yard”) to playful retellings of old stories (“Shoulda Known”).

“Shoulda Known” revisits the story of the frog and the scorpion, featuring Carly Simon as the voice of the scorpion.  Ultimately, the scorpion gives in to his own nature, stinging the frog and condemning both animals to death.  Galison’s treatment, combined with Peyroux’s and Simon’s voices, make this a sublime piece.

“Jealous Guy” (John Lennon), seemingly out of place here, is given an instrumental treatment until the last view lines of the song, when Galison’s raspy baritone finishes it out.  “Flambee Montalbanese,” a full fledged instrumental, fares much better.

Galsion’s years in the business helped him to recruit some major talent: bassists Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan) and Conrad Korsch (Rod Stewart) appear, as do drummers Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live) and James Wormworth (Late Night with Conan O’Brien).  A host of lesser known, but equally talented, artists appear, and Galison and Peyroux themselves contribute guitar on several tracks.

The highlight here is the end piece: “Heaven Help Us All.”  Made famous by Stevie Wonder and Joan Baez, the rendering here adds a verse and makes the song resonate with memories of the 9/11 tragedy.  Many of these songs have the potential to end up on movie soundtracks, and would be just as welcome in a club in New Orleans.  Got You on My Mind is entertaining, and at times, stunningly good.

Brian A. Smith
13 December 2004



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