As you may know, I’m a big fan of New York City singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys, who’s been making records on and off since the 1970s. He first became popular in the early ’70s with the song “Wild In The Streets,” and had even greater success with his 1980 LP, Escape Artist, which got a fair amount of airplay on MTV back when MTV featured, you know, M.
Since then, he’s put out records sporadically, in large part because he wanted to be good father to his daughter Savannah, rather than just another rock ’n roll guy who traveled the world, made money, and ignored his family. That, right there, makes him pretty badass. (As an aside, here’s an interview with Garland and Savannah in her high school newspaper, the Stuyvesant High School Spectator. Your father was never that cool.)
So I was pretty jacked when he came out with his latest album, The King Of In Between, in late 2011. My wife and I were fortunate enough to see him here in Chicago at the Square Roots street festival for the legendary Old Town School of Folk Music, and we got a chance to chat with him briefly after the show.
So, anyway, last week, after I wrote a couple of posts about White folks using the “n-word” (here and here), it occurred to me that nobody has a better understanding of the issue than Garland Jeffreys, the son of an African American father and Puerto Rican mother who’s spent a large part of his career writing songs about race in America. So I posted a brief piece called “Sometimes You Just Gotta Listen,” featuring a few of his songs on that topic … and lo and behold today, on Facebook, Garland Jeffreys shared a link to my post and thanked me for calling him the most honest man in rock ’n roll – which he is, by the way.
A humblebrag, I know. But let me tell you something. It’s pretty cool to find out that somebody you admired for years really is that guy you thought he was.
[Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]