New York singer/songwriter Garland Jeffreys made his disc debut as the leader of the band Grinder's Switch on Vanguard Records in 1970. By the evidence of its ten Jeffreys-composed songs, he and the group had spent a lot of time listening to the Band's Music from Big Pink and the batch of songs Bob Dylan had developed with the Band in the late '60s, including "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)." Jeffreys, Ernest Corallo, and Stan Szelest approximated the Band's rough vocal trio of Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel, and the country-rock musical arrangements, with their prominent organ and piano work by Szelest, also strongly recalled the sound of the Band. (Szelest actually joined a later lineup of the Band, appearing on their 1993 album, Jericho.) Jeffreys had some clever and amusing things to say in his lyrics, marking him as the singer/songwriter he would develop into later. But upon release, Garland Jeffreys and Grinder's Switch was so much of a clone of the Band that it was hard to separate it out as the work of an independent entity.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann