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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Slim Gaillard - Mish Mash (Clef MGC-126)

Side A:
01. Soony-Rooney
02. Babalu
03. Sabroso
04. Laughing In Rhythm

Side B:
01. Taxpayers' Blues
02. Eatin' With The Boogie
03. St. Louis Blues
04. I Know What To Do

Download from here:

Thanks to El Enmascarado for this 10 inch Slim Gaillard LP which was released in 1953. The initial release was on the Mercury label, also in 1953, with the exact same front and back covers, though with different disc labels. The Clef cover has a "Clef Records" sticker (?) covering the spot where "Mercury" should be.

Track details:

"Laughing In Rhythm" and "Soony Roony" were recorded in NYC on March 5th 1951. Personnel: Dick Hyman (piano); Slim Gaillard (guitar, vocals); Ernie Shepard (bass, vocals); Herbie Lovelle (drums); Pepe Benque (bongos)

"Soony Roony (Song of  Yxabat)" and "Laughing In Rhythm" were released in April 1951 on Mercury single 5606, credited to Slim Gaillard And His Peruvians.

Billboard reviewed "Soony Roony" in its "Popular" section as follows - "Slim's on top form for a wonderful takeoff on Yma Sumac. Loaded with yocks all the way, this one's bound for plenty deejay play."

The review of "Laughing In Rhythm" was less enthusiastic - "Side starts auspiciously, with Slim doing an infectious laughing riff, but nothing develops."

"Babalu" and "Sabroso" were recorded in NYC on May 25th 1951. Personnel: Buddy Tate (tenor sax); Maceo Williams (piano); Slim Gaillard (guitar, vocals); Clyde Lombardi (bass); Charlie Smith (drums)

Mercury single 8950 had "Sabroso" along with a different take of "Babalu," listed on the disc label as "Babalu (Orooney)". Credited to Slim Gaillard And His Internationally Famous Orchestra, and released in August 1951.

Billboard review of "Sabroso" (under "Hot Jazz") - "Attempt a 'commercial' offering, a flabby little jingle, falls flat." The review of "Babalu (Orooney)" was equally negative - "Slim attempts a satire on emotional Latin vocals, sprinkled liberally with vouts and orooney's but nothing happens."

"Taxpayers' Blues," "Eatin' With The Boogie," "St. Louis Blues" and "I Know What To Do" were recorded in NYC on January 24th 1952. Personnel: Harry Carney or Cecil Payne (baritone sax); Slim Gaillard as Bulee Gaillard (guitar, vocals); unidentified others.

"Eatin' With The Boogie" and "Taxpayers' Blues" were released on Mercury single 8970 in April 1952, credited to Bulee Gaillard and His Southern Fried Orchestra.

Although reviewed in the "Hot Jazz" section, Billboard noted of "Eatin' With the Boogie" - "Disk is far better suited to the rhythm and blues market than for the jazz fans. It's a rocking item which could draw coin. Lyric by Gaillard is a Southern menu." Billboard's review of "Taxpayer's Blues" expressed similar sentiments - "Topical blues ditty could get some action in the r.&b. market. Doubtful whether the jazz cats will be attracted."

"St. Louis Blues" and "I Know What To Do" were released on Mercury single 8998 in August 1952, credited to Bulee Gaillard and His Southern Fried Orchestra. I couldn't find a Billboard review for this disk.

As the old year fades into the new, we round off 2016 with a last post (for this year!), thanks to El Enmascarado who sent in this 10 inch LP of sides recorded by Slim Gaillard for Clef / Mercury in the early 1950s. The album title "Mish Mash" is an accurate description of the contents as can be seen from the recording and release details along with the contemporary Billboard reviews above.

The four tracks on Side A were recorded in 1951 and represent some of the well established aspects of Slim's rather unique take on jazz. "Sooney-Rooney" is a send up of the sound of Yma Sumac, a sound with which I was previously unfamiliar but which I made the mistake of listening to on YouTube, specifically her destruction of Mozart's great "Queen of the Night" aria from "The Magic Flute." I may never recover from that experience.

"Babalu" is another send up (in cod Spanish and Vout), this time of a rather melodramatic hit for Miguelito Valdes. Check it out on YouTube. With "Sabroso" and "Laughing In Rhythm" we are in more familiar Slim Gaillard territory with lots of "vout oreenies" being thrown into the mix. "Laughing In Rhythm" was a longtime Gaillard favourite which went back to the late 1930s and his time as part of the duo of Slim and Slam (Stewart) when the hep pair cheered the 52nd Street scene with a string of humorous jive novelties starting with "Flat Foot Floogie (with the Floy Floy)."

The B side of this album, which was recorded in one session in 1952, is in a rhythm and blues style. Was Slim perhaps a little intoxicated at this session? El Emascarado has speculated that perhaps he was. I didn't hear that at first but now I tend to think that the entire studio was out of its gourd. Whatever, these 4 tracks are a world away from Slim's NYC work in the late 1930's and his hepcat tracks recorded in Hollywood after the Second World War. It's not that they're bad, they're just not Slim, apart, perhaps, from "Eatin' With The Boogie" which carries on Slim's career-long obsession with composing songs around items of food!

There may well be more Slim Gaillard music on the blog soon. Keep tuned oroonie, and have a vout New Year!


Anonymous said...

I met Slim back in the early 1980s. He introduced himself with the words "My name's Henry Sausage. I'm a flute player. I've got me a band called Henry Sausage and the Pork Chops. It's a real cookin' band!". Also, the only time I've seen someone play piano with the backs of their hands.

All the best for 2017


boogiewoody said...

Thanks, Muzz. Great comment!