Garland Jeffreys

Garland Jeffreys

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Garland Jeffreys first appeared to record buyers in 1970, backed by the band Grinder's Switch, on an album for Vanguard Records that strongly recalled the sound of the Band, with and without Bob Dylan. He next returned to record stores as a solo act three years later under the auspices of Atlantic Records with this singer/songwriter project. Michael Cuscuna, who co-produced the disc with Jeffreys, was more of a jazz aficionado than the artist himself, and he built arrangements around Jeffreys and his backup guitarist, Alan Freedman, using a collection of well-known jazz-leaning session musicians including Ralph MacDonald, David "Fathead" Newman, and Bernard Purdie, along with such other names as Dr. John and David Bromberg. He also agreed to a trip to Jamaica that produced the reggae-styled "Bound to Get Ahead Someday." The result was a set of eclectic backing tracks that added flavor to Jeffreys' poetic story-songs, sung in his soulful tenor. It was a far more individual effort than Garland Jeffreys and Grinder's Switch, more focused on the singer, and demonstrated his growth as a writer and performer. But it still was not as accomplished as Jeffreys' later work would be, and it was thrown into the shade by his next recording, the one-off single "Wild in the Streets," which demonstrated his ability to rock out more. [The European release of Garland Jeffreys substituted a second track from the Jamaican session, "Midnite Cane," for "Lon Chaney."]

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