Garland Jeffreys

Rock & Roll Adult

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In 1981, Escape Artist gave Garland Jeffreys his first taste of genuine commercial success in the United States, and he hit the road in support of the album with Graham Parker's band the Rumour as his backing combo. Critics raved about the shows, and it's not hard to see why after giving a listen to Rock & Roll Adult, a live album recorded during shows taped in Paris and New York in the spring of 1981. While Rock & Roll Adult lacks the production wizardry that helped make Escape Artist a success, it captures Jeffreys and the Rumour in tight and emphatic form; the band sounds razor-sharp, especially guitarists Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont and drummer Stephen Goulding, and Jeffreys is masterful, putting everything he has into songs like "I May Not Be Your Kind," "35 Millimeter Dreams," and "R.O.C.K." Rock & Roll Adult also gave Jeffreys a chance to catch his new audience up on songs that had been hits in Europe or favorites with critics without getting much of a hearing stateside, and these versions of "Matador" and "Wild in the Streets" are arguably more powerful and effective than their previous studio versions, while "Cool Down Boy" is turned into a brave and harrowing 12-minute epic. Jeffreys was 37 when Rock & Roll Adult was recorded, proving the title was a genuine statement of fact, but while these performances have a grownup's smarts and maturity, this is still music full of sweat, blood, and fury, and the switchblade impact of this record is truly impressive. Rock & Roll Adult was not a major commercial success and soon fell out of print, but anyone with a taste for Garland Jeffreys' music will find a lot to enjoy on this album. [In 2014, it was reissued by Australia's Raven Records as part of the two-disc set True Confessions: The Epic Sessions.]

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