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Garland Jeffreys



Garland Jeffreys - I'm Alive - 2006 - Universal Music Group International

Nine years after he last put made an album (1997's Wildlife Dictionary) and 14 years since he was able to put a record out in the United States (1992's Don't Call Me Buckwheat), it's good to hear from Garland Jeffreys regardless of the circumstances, and while it's hard not to wish there were more than three new songs on I'm Alive, the record (as its title suggests) is a welcome reminder of a potent talent who has been flying under the radar far too long in America. I'm Alive is a de facto "Best of Garland Jeffreys" collection, featuring 15 classics from his back catalog along with three songs original to this album. While this set doesn't represent every album Jeffreys has made since launching his recording career in 1970, I'm Alive effectively skims the cream of his music, and great music it is. As a songwriter, Jeffreys is one of those rare rock & roll wordsmiths whose best work reveals a genuine poetic sensibility without falling prey to pretension; there's a healthy portion of street soul and gritty, hard-won gritty wisdom in Jeffreys's music, while his views on love, art, race, and the world around him are smart, passionate, sensuous, articulate, and alive to the thrill of discovery that's part of the creative process. And Jeffreys is a powerful, expressive vocalist who can belt out rock & roll or groove on Latin and reggae rhythms with equal effect. While Jeffreys has made a handful of good albums and at least one great one (1981's Escape Artist), I'm Alive is the all-killer, no-filler collection Jeffreys' admirers have long been waiting for, with the three new songs (all top-shelf work) accompanied by such overlooked classics as "35 Millimeter Dreams," "Wild in the Streets," "R.O.C.K.," "Don't Call Me Buckwheat," "Spanish Town," "I May Be Your Kind," and plenty more. If you're not familiar with the work of Garland Jeffreys, I'm Alive is a superb introduction to a superb and wildly underappreciated artist. If you're already a fan, savor those fine new numbers, enjoy the classics, and hope Jeffreys is good to his word about visiting the studio more often in the future. © Mark Deming © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/im-alive-r841556/review

Garland Jeffreys has been making music professionally for over 40 years. During that time, he has gone from major labels to indies and back. He has drawn from rock, reggae, R&B and other forms. He has experienced very prolific periods, such as the late ’70s and early ’80s, when he released six albums in seven years, and he has also taken decade-long breaks between recordings. He is a proud son of New York City, who grew up within spitting distance of The Cyclone, approachable yet enigmatic, ethnically mixed, a musical matador who has soaked up every imaginable genre but whose work belongs to none of them exclusively. It’s a shame that more people aren’t familiar with Jeffreys’ music, but perhaps that will change this spring with the release of I’m Alive, a major label retrospective that spans three decades. The 18 songs on I’m Alive range from tunes that were familiar on rock radio back in the day to lesser- known album cuts, to three new songs, including the title track. Of course, even during his commercial peak, Garland Jeffreys was never exactly a household name. In a sense, his greatest musical asset, drawn from many forms but not limited to any, has also been a commercial liability.The music business is, after all, an industry that loves to categorize, and Jeffreys’ work evades easy categorization. © Dave Steinfeld © BeyondRaceMagazine

Some of the musicians on this European only compilation which is HR by A.O.O.F.C include Hugh McCracken, Johnny Ace, Paul Griffin, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Steve Gadd, Rick Marotta, Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, Randy Brecker, Herb Alpert, and Dr. John. Do you need more?! (LOL)! Try and listen to Garland's great "Don't Call Me Buckwheat", and "One Eyed Jack" albums [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: 2 x rar files: Pt 1 Tracks 1-8 File size = 92.6 Mb: Pt 2 Tracks 9-18 File size = 88.1 Mb]

TRACKS

1 I'm Alive 4:01
2 Return Of The Matador 5:51
3 Proud Highway 5:01
4 35mm Dreams 3:12
5 I May Not Be Your Kind 3:47
6 Wild In The Streets 2:58
7 Spanish Town 7:43
8 Ghost Writer 5:40
9 Christine 3:25
10 96 Tears 3:05
11 R.O.C.K. 3:47
12 New York Skyline 3:28
13 Don't Call Me Buckwheat 4:18
14 Hail Hail Rock N Roll 3:51
15 The Answer 4:39
16 Sexuality 3:57
17 Boys And Girls 4:59
18 Matador (Bonus Track) 4:42

All tracks composed by Garland Jeffreys except "96 Tears" by Rudy Martinez, "Sexuality" by Garland Jeffreys & Joe Dworniak, and "Boys And Girls" by Garland Jeffreys & Peter Zizzo

MUSICIANS

Garland Jeffreys - Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals, Vocals (Background)
David Spinozza - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Horn Arrangements, Piano, String Arrangements
G.E. Smith - Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
Vernon Reid, Richard Arrigo - Guitar (Electric)
Mark Bosch - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Slide Guitar
Alan Freedman, Duncan Sheik - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
Hugh McCracken - Guitar (Classical), Guitar (Electric), Slide Guitar
David Kahne - mGuitar (Acoustic), Hi Hat
Eddie Martinez - Guitar
Pino Palladino, Anthony Jackson, Andrew Bodnar, Johnny Ace - Bass
Joe Mennonna - Bass, Drum Programming, Keyboard Bass, Keyboards
Toby Baker - Fender Rhodes, Keyboards
Peter Zizzo - Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Drum Loop, Drum Programming, Keyboard Bass, Keyboard Programming, Vocals (Background)
Danny Federici - Organ, Organ (Hammond)
Tim Carmen - Organ (Hammond)
Paul Griffin - Organ (Hammond), Piano
Don Grolnick - Organ, Piano (Electric)
Timmy Cappello - Organ
Arty Funero - Farfisa Organ
Roy Bittan - Piano
Joe Dworniak - Piano, Keyboard Programming
Jeff Bova - Keyboards
Handel Tucker - Keyboards, Strings
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Steve Gadd, Anton Fig - Drums, Percussion
Rick Marotta, Winston Grennan, Steve Goulding, John Boudreaux, Steve Jordan - Drums
Rubens Bassini, Simon Climie - Percussion
Michael Brecker - EWI, Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor), Soloist
Al Cohn - Sax (Tenor), Soloist
David Sanborn - Sax (Soprano)
Randy Brecker, Herb Alpert, Danny Cahn, Burt Collins - Trumpet
Phil Messina - Trombone
Dr. John - Clavinet
Chris Champion - Loop
Cindy Mizelle - Soloist, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Porter Carroll, Jill Dell'Abate, Diana Grasselli, Diva Gray, David Lasley, Arnold McCuller, Paulette McWilliams, David Peel, Janice Pendarvis, Lynn Pitney, Vaneese Thomas, Myriam Naomi Valle, Maria Vidal - Vocals (Background)

BIO

A critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Garland Jeffreys has earned a loyal international audience for his intelligent and passionate songs, informed by a variety of musical styles from rock and R&B to reggae and dance music, and dealing with topics both personal and political, often at the same time. While not especially prolific -- he released a mere five studio albums between 1981 and 2011 -- Jeffreys' work reveals a rock & roller's soul and a poetic sensibility that have earned him the respect of musical peers such as Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, David Johansen, and John Cale. Jeffreys was born in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, New York in 1944. Of African-American, Puerto Rican, and European heritage, he was raised in a multi-cultural household and a neighborhood that was not always accepting of his family's racial diversity. Jeffreys' parents enjoyed jazz vocalists such as Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, and Dinah Washington, and as a teenager, he developed a taste for doo wop and rhythm & blues; as the '50s gave way to the '60s, he became a passionate fan of soul music and Bob Dylan's early work. After graduating from high school, Jeffreys studied art history at Syracuse University, where he struck up friendships with fellow students and music fans Lou Reed and Felix Cavaliere; Jeffreys also expanded his cultural boundaries by studying for several months in Italy. After completing his studies in 1966, he began appearing at folk and rock clubs in Manhattan, often performing material that dealt with racial issues and using props and make-up to emphasize his messages. In 1969, Jeffreys formed a band called Grinder's Switch with three musicians from Woodstock, New York -- Ernie Corallo on guitar, Stan Szelest on keyboards, and Sandy Konikoff on drums. John Cale recruited Grinder's Switch to form the core of the backing band (credited as Penguin) on his first solo album, 1969's Vintage Violence, and the album included one of Jeffreys' songs, "Fairweather Friend." (Jeffreys also wrote a poem about Cale for the liner notes.) Grinder's Switch were signed to Vanguard Records and cut an album that was released not long before the band split up in 1970. Jeffreys began working as a solo act again, and was signed by Atlantic Records. His 1973 solo debut was a commercial disappointment, but that same year, he released a standalone single, "Wild in the Streets" b/w "35 Millimeter Dreams." The A-side, arranged by New Orleans keyboard legend Dr. John, became an underground hit, and when Jeffreys moved to A&M Records, the track was included on his first album for the label, 1977's Ghost Writer, which led to Jeffreys being named Best New Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone. Jeffreys' tenure with A&M would be the most prolific of his career; he released One Eyed Jack in 1978, and American Boy and Girl in 1979. The latter, though largely devoted to hard-edged narratives of street life, also featured a romantic number called "Matador," which became a major hit in the U.K. and several European markets, where he gained a large and lasting following. In 1981, Jeffreys moved to Epic Records and finally enjoyed a commercial breakthrough in the United States with Escape Artist, an album that featured backing from members of Graham Parker's Rumour and Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band, as well as guest appearances by Lou Reed, David Johansen, and Linton Kwesi Johnson; it included a cover of "96 Tears" that became a minor hit single and an MTV favorite. Later the same year, a live album was released from the tour supporting Escape Artist, Rock ‘N' Roll Adult, and in 1983, Jeffreys reappeared with Guts for Love, a polished set of songs about love and relationships. While a cover of "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" fared well on the charts, the album was a commercial and critical disappointment, and it was nine years before Jeffreys returned to the recording studio. 1992's Don't Call Me Buckwheat, his first album for RCA, was a collection of songs about the issues of race in America and a strong return to form, but it sold far better in Europe than the United States, and his next album, 1997's Wildlife Dictionary, wasn't released at all in America. In the same year Wildlife Dictionary was released, Jeffreys and his wife welcomed the birth of their daughter Savannah, and he took time off from his recording career to be a full-time father. He staged occasional European tours and in 2006 released I'm Alive, a compilation spanning his solo career that also included three new songs, but it wasn't until 2011 that he returned with a full album of new material, The King of In Between. © Mark Deming © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/garland-jeffreys-p4604/biography

9 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

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ratso said...

Another fine post!! Thank you. Pity it doesn't include Why-O, which is my personal favourite (from the Ghost Writer album). My best to you.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,ratso. Thanks. Compilation albums always leave out somebody's favs! Do you have his Ghost Writer album?...TTU soon...P

ratso said...

I do indeed, and it is on high rotation!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Cheers, ratso. Just wondering if you had the album. I have some of his stuff if you needed it...TTU soon...P

drfeelgoed said...

Many thanks for this GJ album, I'd been loking for it for a long time!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks,drfeelgoed. So was I! All good things come to those who wait....sometimes!! TTU soon...P

binkerbo said...

Found this through Google and boy I was surprised! I thought this blog closed down long ago. I'm glad to see you're still active. Garland Jeffreys is one of the greats.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,binkerbo. I'm still holding my head above water! Thanks...P