Garland Jeffreys – World Cafe Live (Philadelphia, PA)

Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews
Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews

“We don’t stop playing when we grow old, we grow old when we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw said that, and it’s something that both I and Garland Jeffreys believe to be true. He proudly celebrated his 70th birthday with a show, released his masterful Truth Serum album, and will stay young through 2033. “We’ll be playing – constantly! Like I tell my friends,” Garland shared with this World Café crowd, “I’m on a 90-year plan.”

“Rock and roll means never having to be on time.” I believe that too, but evidently Garland doesn’t. He was on time, in tune, and on fire for this eclectic, energetic, exhilarating set that featured old (“Mystery Kids”/“Spanish Town”), new (a six-pack of intoxicating Truth Serum tracks!), borrowed (an astounding, 8-minute- long, rip-roaring, , killer-diller version of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”/“96 Tears”), and blues in several hues (“Truth Serum”/“‘Till John Lee Hooker Calls Me”).

I love Garland Jeffeys because he writes with devotion, records with emotion, and  always performs with passion. On “Hail, Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll,” when Garland shouts-out “Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino” he namechecks three-quarters of my Rock ‘n’ Roll Mount Rushmore! Yours too? Then catch Garland Jeffreys live while he’s young. You’ve got twenty years left!

– Dennis McDonough

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