Slim Gaillard – Searching For You: The Lost Singles of McVouty 1958-1974

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COMPOSERS: Slim Gaillard
LABELS: Sunset Boulevard
ALBUM TITLE: Slim Gaillard
WORKS: Searching For You: The Lost Singles of McVouty 1958-1974
PERFORMER: Slim Gaillard (guitar, vocals), plus musicians, including Gábor Szabó (guitar)


I spent one Christmas Eve, in the early 1980s, in the company of Gaillard at a mutual friend’s house. Throughout the evening he produced a succession of cassettes from his coat pockets and regaled us with anecdotes about these then-unavailable recordings. Some tracks on this CD were probably among the dozens played that night. Now everyone can enjoy them without a cassette player or magically capacious pockets.

All but ‘kahlúa’ (1990) were issued as singles on small labels probably owned by Gaillard, with earlier hits radically re-imagined. The personnel (especially good on ‘dr. free’ and ‘cha cha enchilada’) are unknown except for 1974 recordings of ‘peanut vendor’ and ‘i don’t know why’, featuring some surprising collaborators like guitarist Gábor Szabó. Mixing R‘n’B, jump, boogie, bebop, even heavy rock, the music is always exhilarating fun, but the icing on the cake is Gaillard’s made-up language. As Slim might have said in that rich voice: ‘Rootie!’


Barry Witherden