Pop quiz! What do these musicians have in common: Lou Reed, E Street
Band keyboardists Roy Bittan and Danny Federici, rhythm section Andrew Bodnar and Stephen
Goulding of The Rumour, dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, erstwhile SNL
bandleader G.E. Smith, session horn section the Brecker Brothers, LaBelle alum Nona Hendryx, guitar virtuoso Adrian Belew, and David Johansen of the New York Dolls? Answer: they were (most of) the studio band on the 1981 album Escape Artist
by Garland Jeffreys
. Which raises the question, "Garland who?"
Over his 40-plus-year career, Garland Jeffreys has forged an eclectic sound incorporating elements of straight-ahead rock
, new wave pop
, Latin soul
, and introspective jazzy singer-songwriter
After a few post-college years playing Greenwich Village clubs, Jeffreys burst upon the music
scene in 1973 with a self-titled debut album that went unnoticed by, well, everybody. But then came a catchy little single called "Wild in the Streets"
(b/w "35 Millimeter Dreams"
– yes, that's Brinsley Schwarz on slide guitar
), which became an FM hit and, somehow, a widely known Circle Jerks cover version
. And the rest, as they say, is discography
Jeffreys' songs address a variety of subject matter from street life to pop romance. Frequently – especially on the 1992 concept album Don't Call Me Buckwheat
– they explore racial complications
in American life, drawing from his experiences
growing up multi-ethnic in 50s and 60s Brooklyn.
These days, Garland's having one of his periodic resurgences of recording
, and even occasional blogging