Madeleine Peyroux & William Galison
Got You on My Mind
First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2005, Volume 12, #3
Written by T.J. Simon
Madeleine Peyroux sounds exactly like Billie Holiday, and she performs popular jazz music for people who really arenít into jazz music. Dividing her time between New York and Paris, she keeps her compositions steeped in the two culturesí visions of vocal jazz and lush pop with equal lyrical adeptness in both French and English. Recently, Peyroux delivered two winning albums competing for shelf space ó a solo outing titled Careless Love and a joint effort with jazz harmonica maestro William Galison titled Got You on My Mind.
On Careless Love, Peyroux fights for a piece of the jazz-pop pie currently dominated by Norah Jones. The good news is that Peyroux is ten times the singer that Jones is, but that didnít dissuade her from hedging her bets by hiring Jonesí guitarist and primary songwriter Jesse Harris to co-write the discís blues-influenced original Donít Wait Too Long. Like Jones, she also chose to give Hank Williams a smooth jazz makeover with her reinterpretation of Weary Blues. Piano ace Larry Goldings dominates the albumís instrumentation with his elegant arrangements, and the lionís share of the collection is filled with enjoyable covers that range from Bob Dylanís Youíre Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go to Leonard Cohenís Dance Me to the End of Love. Only Jíai Deaux Amours features Peyrouxís flawless French singing, and it proves to be an album highlight on a outing that is filled with nothing but bright spots.
As for Got You on My Mind, Peyroux utilizes her gorgeous voice to reinterpret several classics that were produced and arranged by William Galison, who has provided his harmonica to a wide-ranging array of past projects, including the theme to Sesame Street. The album also features another interpretation of Jíai Deaux Amours as well as a Paris-flavored instrumental Flambee Montalbanese. The discís best vocal performances have Peyroux interpreting Al Jolsonís Back in Your Own Back Yard and an up-tempo version of the standard The Way You Look Tonight. When Galison sings on Shoulda Known and Heaven Help Us All, his voice recalls Paul Simon, but itís clear that his greatest strength, as evidenced by his re-working of John Lennonís Jealous Guy, is his ability to play harmonica. In short, Got You On My Mind is a romantic collaboration between two immensely-talented artists who will hopefully join forces again in the future.
Got You On My Mind is also generously-packaged with liner notes from Galison, detailing how each song came to fruition. There is, however, one thing that soiled the album, and itís probably the record labelís fault. Both the promotional material and the discís packaging loudly tout Carly Simonís contribution to the project. Although the digipak screams, "featuring CARLY SIMON as the scorpion," the legendary songstress only adds one, unrecognizable, spoken-word line to the track Shoulda Known. Thatís right, she doesnít sing a note. The touting of Simonís minimal contribution is clearly a ploy to defraud her sizable and loyal fan base. Itís truly shameful, and itís a scummy tactic that is unbecoming an album that clearly is strong enough to stand upon its own considerable merits.
Careless Love - Ĺ
Got You on My Mind -
Of Further Interest...
Careless Love is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box