Garland Jeffreys: NYC Rock Hero Still Wild In The Streets
As vapid as television has become, if you're a fan of great live music you might want to check The Late Show With David Letterman Friday night, when Dave welcomes the incomparable Garland Jeffreys.
Unless you're a serious music nerd, you've probably never heard of Jeffreys, although you most surely will have heard his 1973 hit "Wild In The Streets." The song has been covered numerous times and lives on as an important anthem for skateboarders.
Jeffreys came up alongside seminal New York bands like the Velvet Underground, and met VU's Lou Reed while both were students at Syracuse University. Jeffreys arrived on the New York rock scene in time to play guitar on Reed's bandmate John Cale's 1969 solo debut, Vintage Violence.
After a bit of a false start with the band Grinder's Switch, Jeffreys was signed to Atlantic Records and released his first solo album, Garland Jeffreys, in 1973. Ironically, Atlantic did not include "Wild In The Streets" on the album but released it as a single.
Dr. John worked with Jeffreys on the arrangement and added the distinctive clavinet that set the song apart sonically from the standard rock radio fare of the day.
Jeffreys has recently released The King of In Between, his thirteenth solo album, to rave reviews. Veteran rock critic Robert Christgau went so far as to say that the 67 year-old "beats the odds by surpassing 1973's Garland Jeffreys, 1977's Ghost Writer, and all their lesser successors."
The album was produced by Levon Helm/Bob Dylan sidekick Larry Campbell, who's other recent credit includes producing some tracks on Carolyn Wonderland's new Peace Meal and steering the ship during the recording of the Gourds' new Vanguard Records release, Old Mad Joy.
In Between is a stellar mix of old school rock, R&B, and soul. Two standout tracks are "Coney Island Winter" and "Til John Lee Hooker Calls Me." Our bet is that Jeffreys drops "Coney Island Winter" on the Letterman appearance.
Whatever it is, it will be a rare glimpse at one of New York City's great rock artists who is still going strong. A tour that will include Texas is rumored for winter.
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