In 2003, before her breakthrough, Careless Love, Madeleine Peyroux recorded an album of mostly covers with then-boyfriend and multi-instrumentalist William Galison. The two parted ways, and after an intense conflict over record rights with Peyroux’s label, Rounder, Galison released Got You On My Mind. It opens like a 1920s period piece with the swinging “Back in Your Own Backyard.” The interplay of Peyroux’s smoky, Billy Holiday-conjuring vocals and Galison’s intricate harmonica work holds the record together.
When Carly Simon guests, singing from the perspective of (yes) a scorpion on Galison’s “Shoulda Known,” the album takes a turn for the frivolous. But this one blemish is forgivable—Got You On My Mind crosses decades and genres, gracefully moving from Josephine Baker to John Lennon and Stevie Wonder. Peyroux’s dated voice gets all the recognition, but Galison, who plays seven instruments on the record and sings on four of the 11 tracks, deserves some credit, too. In the liner notes, Galison says of Got You On My Mind: “I picture two people who used to have something good, both thinking ‘What happened?’” Sounds familiar.