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The first act signed to the groundbreaking acid jazz label Talkin' Loud, Galliano formed in 1988 around acid house DJ Rob Gallagher but later turned to laid-back and jazzy soul with heavy emphasis on live presentation and environmental issues. A loose collective during its first years, the group comprised Gallagher with raps and turntables, vocalist Valerie Étienne (aka Auntie Val), guitarist Mark Vandergucht, bass player Ernie McKone, drummer Crispin Taylor, keyboard player Mick Talbot (formerly with the Style Council), and contributors Brother Spry, Daddy Smith, and, occasionally, Roy Ayers. Galliano's first release was the 1989 single "Frederick Lies Still," a tender play on the Superfly anthem "Freddie's Dead" by Curtis Mayfield. The band's debut full-length, In Pursuit of the 13th Note, followed two years later on Talkin' Loud. After 1992's A Joyful Noise Unto the Creator, Galliano received an American contract and released What Colour Our Flag as a basic trainer (the album compiled the best tracks from the first two LPs). The Plot Thickens, issued in 1995, was the group's proper U.S. debut. A year later, Galliano returned with 4 (Four).