Truth Serum: A Shot of Soul, Groove, and Heart

STORY BY Holly Ramos

Published: November 15, 2013

Sheepshead Bay is in the house, still. Garland Jeffrey is one beautiful New Yorker. The African American Puerto Rican American singer songwriter out of Brooklyn had been making music for close to 50 years. His brand new album Truth Serum on the Luna Park/Thirty Tigers label is gorgeous; it’s got soul, groove, heart, chops, style and songs I care about. What else can I say, oh yeah….the man is 70! This album is cooler than most of what is out there. God bless you, sir.

Truth Serum has still got that New York feeling deep in its bones. Ohhh, just listen to “It’s What I Am”, the words go “Too white to be black, too black to be white, I’m one of them, that’s what I am.” Did you know that Garland knew Lou Reed before the Velvets existed? Can you hear that New York zeitgeist in “Far Far Away”, the ghosts of a city Jeffreys can’t help but conjure? The man is so talented, so lovely and much a part of what he creates, it’s what his is, indeed. 

The new single “Any Rain” starts with the words “Suffering is Optional” and proposed a live-and-let-live world. Garland’s songs often and consistently take on social issues such as race with honesty with a quite power that is rare. His musical genres include the blues, reggae, soul and rock and roll.

Forty years ago Garland released his first solo single “Wild in the Streets,” which has become a bit of an anthem. Garland calls it his first punk rock single. Forty years later I am still in awe. I am so happy that he is still thriving, singing, playing and creating and being who he is. Check out his tour so you can catch him live and pick up the new cd.



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