Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Doublespeak: Jump Jump

Garland Jeffreys: Jump Jump


The late ’70s and early ’80s were a great time for name-dropping in song. Tim Curry did it in the marvellous I Do The Rock, and B.A. Robertson in the 1979 hit Bang Bang. In this 1981 song, Garland Jeffreys goes walkabouts in Paris, referring to Victor Hugo (whose novel Les Miserables, not yet a musical, he’s presently not in a mood for), Rimbaud, van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne as he checks out the Venus de Milo and passes Notre Dame cathedral, inviting us to “jump jump” to all of these as a means of making the “great escape” from the mundanities of daily routine. Jeffreys dedicated the song to his friend John Lennon, a former art student who had been murdered a few months before the album was released.

The song is stuck away at the end of the superior side 2 of Jeffrey’s Escape Artist album, but nonetheless provides the inspiration for the title of the LP, which came with a four-track EP. Among the notable musicians guesting on the album are the E-Street Band’s Roy Bittan on piano and the late Danny Federici on keyboards, and their influence is reflected in the sound of the rock songs (less so, obviously, than they’d be on the reggae numbers). Others who appeared on the Bob Clearmountain-produced album include Lou Reed, the brass-playing Brecker brothers, Nona Hendryx and Linton Kwesi Johnson. One might think that Elvis Costello also chipped in, but it’s just Garland sounding like old Declan on this fine set.

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