Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter from Sunset, Louisiana, who came from a fiddle-playing family, and took up the instrument as a youngster and was playing in a bar at the age of fourteen. His given name was Floyd August Guilbeau but people had so much trouble pronouncing his last name, they took to nicknaming him Gibo, then Gibby, then Gib.
He joined the United States Air Force in 1955 and was stationed in Victoriaville, California, where he assembled a trio of musicians who billed themselves as The Sons of the South. They broke up when the individual members reached the end of their tours of duty.
In the 1950s and ‘60s, Gib band-hopped quite a bit, from The Hi-Flyers, to The Hinkley Valley Boys, to The Four Young Men. This latter outfit scored a crossover hit with “You’re the Reason”, which cracked the top five on the country chart and peaked at #11 on the pop chart. The Four Young Men then renamed themselves The Castaways, The Castaways sometimes recorded as The Dudes, and The Dudes even billed themselves as The Hudson Hornets. None of these name changes did much but confuse people, and The Castaways broke up after a concert in The Yukon. Gib Guilbeau and Wayne Moore recorded some material on the Starfire label in 1965, then decided to take a break.
Gib moved back to The Bayou and then re-emerged in Southern California in tandem with Gene Parsons and they went by the nickname, Cajun Gib & Gene. They enjoyed a steady, six-to-seven-night gig in Palmdale, California, at a club called The Jack of Diamonds. Clarence White turned the duo into a trio and they became Nashville West, one of the first bands to blend country & western music with rock & roll.
It was a short-lived experiment, as Clarence took flight to join The Byrds, and Gib and Wayne co-formed The Reasons. Gib also recorded “Empty Words of Love”, “Home of the Blues”, “In the Morning”, and “Lodi”, as a solo artist. Then he helped assemble a backing band for Linda Ronstadt, entitled Swampwater. In addition to performing and touring with Linda, they did the same with Arlo Guthrie and recorded a pair of albums under their own name.
Some of Gib’s compositions were being recorded by other artists and groups, as well. The Byrds covered “Your Gentle Ways of Loving Me” and Rod Stewart and Ron Wood both covered “Big Bayou”.
In the early ‘70s, Gib appeared on the self-titled albums, Crazy Horse, John David Souther, and Linda Ronstadt. He released his own eponymous solo album in 1973, simply titled, GibGuilbeau Sings. Then he joined The Flying Burrito Brothers, along with Chris Ethridge, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, and Gene Parsons. They released a pair of albums in the mid-‘70s, Airborne and Flying Again, then Columbia released them. The band then changed their name to Sierra and performed under that moniker for a couple of years. In 1978, Gib launched his sophomore effort, Top Tappin’ Music, which featured some material recorded earlier on the Strawberry label.
The Burrito Brothers re-surfaced in the early ‘80s, without the “Flying”, and that’s when the band really soared. They continually hit the country and pop charts and existed well into the 1990s, although Gib’s tenure with them was curtailed when he suffered a heart attack during the recording of California Jukebox.
Opportunities abound to hear Gib on CDs such as Classic Gib Guilbeau: 1968-1986, J.D. Souther Border Town: The Very Best of J.D. Souther, Sneaky Pete Kleinow: Shiloh Records Anthology, and Songs I Like.
The Burrito Brothers recordings
Blue and Broken Hearted Me (Buddy Cannon/Raleigh Squires)
She’s a Friend of a Friend (John Beland/Gib Guilbeau)
Here he is with his “Sweet Sugar Blues”…