Escape Artist

Garland Jeffreys

1981, Epic Records

Garland Jeffreys Escape Artist

Track Title Time
1 Modern Lovers 3:57
2 Christine 3:28
3 Ghost of a Chance 2:49
4 96 Tears 3:05
5 Innocent 2:20
6 True Confessions 3:32
7 R.O.C.K. 3:48
8 Graveyard Rock 4:36
9 Mystery Kids 7:05
10 Jump Jump 4:27
11 Lovers’ Walk 4:35
12 Christine 4:26
13 Miami Beach 4:53
14 We the People 4:23

Album Review

Escape Artist is veteran Garland Jeffreys sounding very Elvis Costello, with clean Bob Clearmountain production and guest stars like David Johansen, Nona Hendryx, Lou Reed, Adrian Belew, Randy and Michael Brecker, and many others. It is a very satisfying pop disc. Jonathan Richman has his band Modern Lovers, Willie Alexander wrote a song with the same name, and David Bowie wrote “Modern Love”; Jeffreys’ “Modern Lovers” has nothing to do with any of them except that he comes from the same underground scene as all of the above. A good idea is a good idea, and this is another good song with that title. “Christine” also works. It’s a fun pop romp helping make this one of Jeffreys’ most cohesive discs. “Ghost of a Chance” is a clever tune about a relationship with no hope; there is a solid, harder version of Rudy Martinez’s “96 Tears” with some very cool guitar making it the most radio-friendly track. Jeffreys’ vocals are in great shape, in control, and almost menacing. The back cover has him reading a New York Post with former president Jimmy Carter declaring an emergency, with very movie film-like photos/poses by the artist. “Innocent” takes the album other places, going into a Romeo Void or Cars ’80s place. It’s very catchy, very new wave meets techno. “When it comes to sex/You’re using your special effects/…We’re gonna ruin all the records in the fingerprint file.” Classic Garland Jeffreys lyrics. “True Confessions” continues the techno groove — “You keep rolling in my head/Like a magnum that repeats.” “R.O.C.K.” shows John Cougar how it is really done; this Jeffreys original is authoritative. “Graveyard Rock” is reggae for the unlucky. “Mystery Kids” brings up memories of the New York Dolls with a great hook and a celebration of underground rock by someone who emerged from that environment — it’s inspiring. “Mystery Kids” is one of the best tracks on a very good record. Represented by Fred Heller, who managed Mott the Hoople as well, Jeffreys had a near-hit single on Atlantic called “Wild in the Streets.” It became a concert anthem for the reconstituted Mott when they became the British Lions. This album has that same street-smart attitude as Jeffreys’ most celebrated song, and the musicianship is top-notch, creating one of this artist’s most important catalog pieces.
~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide


Big Youth (Vocals, Toaster)

Linton Kwesi Johnson (Vocals)

Adrian Belew (Guitar)

Garland Jeffreys (Guitar, Percussion, Arranger, Vocals, Producer, Cover Art Concept)

David Johansen (Vocals)

Lou Reed (Vocals)

Michael Brecker (Saxophone)

Nona Hendryx

Jimmy Maelen (Percussion)

Maria Vidal (Vocals)

Dennis “Blackbeard” Bovell (Guitar)

Robert Athas (Bass)

Roy Bittan (Piano)

Eaton Blake (Bass)

Andrew Bodnar (Bass)

Randy Brecker (Trumpet)

Bob Clearmountain (Vocals, Producer, Engineer, Mixing)

Larry Fast (Synthesizer, Bagpipes, Guitar)

Danny Federici (Organ, Accordion, Keyboards)

Alan Taff Freedman (Guitar, Arranger, Consultant)

Artie Funaro (Guitar, Keyboards)

Steve Goulding (Percussion, Drums, Vocals)

Diana Grasselli (Vocals)

Webster Johnson (Percussion, Keyboards)

John Kpiaye (Guitar)

Earl Lindo (Organ)

Errol Melbourne (Drums)

Seyoum Net Fa (Melodion, Bass)

G.E. Smith (Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Arranger, Fuzz Bass)

Augustos Tenyue (Horn)

Patrick Tenyue (Horn, Vocals)

Myriam Naomi Valle (Vocals)

Raymond Willhard (Assistant Engineer)

Jimmy Maeulen (Percussion)

Paula Scher (Art Direction)

Robert Ludwig (Mastering)

Dave Greenberg (Assistant Engineer)

Anton Corbijn (Photography)

Arty Funero (Organ, Guitar)

Barbara Spiegel (Production Coordination)

Augustus “T” Tenyve (Saxophone)

Dick Wingate (Executive Producer)

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