Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security
Slim Holds a Red Hot Atomic Platter in Los Angeles Record Store (w/ Bam Brown)
Atomic Cocktail: Slim Gaillard
Words and music by Slim Gaillard
Atomic, Inc. [ Hollywood, CA.] A-215-A
Recorded 12/15/45 | Length: 2:39 | 78RPM

Performed by The Slim Gaillard Quartette:
Slim Gaillard-Lead Vocals, Guitar
"Tiny" Brown-Bass, vocals
Dodo Marmarosa-Piano
Zutty Singleton-Drums

It's the drink that you don't pour
Now when you take one sip you won't need anymore
You're small as a beetle or big as a whale-BOOM-Atomic Cocktail.

Splashes ice all around the place
When you see it coming, grab your suitcase
It'll send you through the sky like airmail-BOOM-Atomic Cocktail.

You push a button, turn a dial
Your work is done for miles and miles
When it hits-it's bound to shake 'cause it feels just like an earthquake.

That's the drink that you don't pour
When you take one sip you won't need anymore
You're small as a beetle or big as a whale-BOOM-Atomic Cocktail.

Slim Gaillard wrote and recorded numerous songs during the course of his storied jazz career, but for our money, his 1945 composition "Atomic Cocktail" is the greatest one of them all. Recorded a mere five months after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this tune was part of a cultural trend that celebrated ALL THINGS ATOMIC. Indeed, the word "Atomic" became an adjective that was short hand for anything powerful or modern. Atomic Cab Companies, Atomic Cities, the Atomic Lanes Bowling Alley (Richland, WA.), and, of course, Atomic cocktails are but a few examples of the linguistic fad that lingers on to this very day.

What makes this song really special, though, is the fact that it is performed brilliantly by a world class jazz combo for a Hollywood, CA. label called none other than Atomic, Inc. What more could we ask for?

Gaillard who was best known for his scat singing (dubbed "Vout"), recorded five other sides on the short-lived Atomic, Inc. label including the wonderful "TEE SAY MALEE" (12/45) which contains these throwaway nonsense lyrics: "Atomic records, Atomic Voutie, Atomic records, Atomic explosion-o-reenie."

The B-side of "Atomic Cocktail," "Yep-Rock-Heresay" (Atomic, Inc. A-215-B) was attacked by a Los Angeles DJ named Ted Steele (among others) as a degenerate example of Bop Jazz "full of bawdiness and references to narcotics." In reality the song is a near-verbatim recitation of a menu from a Middle Eastern restaurant.

The great Bulee "Slim" Gaillard was born Jan. 14, 1916 in Detroit, MI. He recorded as part of a duo known as Slim and Slam (Slam Stewart, bassist) until World War II. Their biggest hit was "Flat Foot Floogie" (1939, Vocalion Records) which was covered by Fats Waller, Benny Goodman and many others. Upon his return from military service, Gaillard settled on the West Coast and recorded for the aforementioned Atomic, Inc. label and several others. He also played guitar for Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Jack McVea and appeared in a number of movies.

Gaillard relocated to the UK late in life and became a fixture on the chat shows until his death in 1991. CONELRAD salutes this true original and hopes his legend grows to match that of his better known jazz contemporaries.


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