Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Garland Jeffreys And Grinder's Switch - Garland Jeffreys And Grinder's Switch (1970 puerto rico / us, intelligent combined reggae, blues and idiosyncratic country-rock amalgams)

As a child of black, white and Puerto Rican heritage growing up in the ‘50s, Jeffreys was raised on everything from R&B to the first bursts of rock and roll to “God Bless America” crooner Kate Smith (who gets a shout-out in the new album’s title track, by virtue of having been a daily TV favorite of his grandfather’s). He fell in with a more literary crowd once his blue-collar father made enough money to send him to Syracuse. Once he started making his own music, Jeffreys never became any easier to nail down. As a folkie, he played Village nightspots like the Bitter End and the Gaslight, before recording his first album as a member of the short-lived Woodstock-based group Grinder’s Switch for Vanguard in 1970.

Garland Jeffreys made his disc debut as the leader of the band Grinder's Switch on Vanguard Records in 1970. By the evidence of its ten Jeffreys-composed songs, he and the group had spent a lot of time listening to the Band's Music from Big Pink and the batch of songs Bob Dylan had developed with the Band in the late '60s, including "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)." Jeffreys, Ernest Corallo, and Stan Szelest approximated the Band's rough vocal trio of Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel, and the country-rock musical arrangements, with their prominent organ and piano work by Szelest, also strongly recalled the sound of the Band. (Szelest actually joined a later lineup of the Band, appearing on their 1993 album, Jericho.) Jeffreys had some clever and amusing things to say in his lyrics, marking him as the singer/songwriter he would develop into later. But upon release, Garland Jeffreys and Grinder's Switch was so much of a clone of the Band that it was hard to separate it out as the work of an independent entity. 
by William Ruhlmann
1. Sister Divine - 4:45
2. Father, The Son, And The Holy Ghost - 3:56
3. Won't Ya Come Back Home - 2:26
4. Dear Jolly Jack - 3:41
5. And Don't Be Late - 2:42
6. An Imaginary Invalid - 4:05
7. Last Night I Drove Down To The Bar (Women And Wine) - 2:09
8. Evening - 1:52
9. They Call Me Fortune And Fame - 2:17
10.Seven Sleepers' Den - 7:40
All songs by Garland Jeffreys

*Garland Jeffreys - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Ernie Corallo - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Steel Guitar, Mandolin
*Richard Davis - Bass
*Sanford Konikoff - Drums
*Bob Piazza - Bass
*Stan Szelest - Vocals, Harmonica, Organ, Piano