Southern Brooklyn

Famed Singer-Songwriter Garland Jeffreys Reflects On Sheepshead Bay Roots

Jeffreys (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

File under things I learned today: famed singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys is a Sheepshead Bay native, and apparently his experiences here have played a significant role in his forty-plus-year career.

Known for straddling the line between genres ranging from rock and roll, reggae, blues and soul, with racially conscious undertones, the man behind “Wild in the Streets” drew inspiration from his experiences as a mixed-race kid in Sheepshead Bay.

“I was a light-skinned black Latino, growing up in Sheepshead Bay in the 1950s. Being multi-ethnic was something that was frowned on. We were the only family of color in the (local) Catholic church,” he said in a recent interview with the Daily Record.

But Jeffreys says he managed to make his way in a tough situation. His music, he said, reflects that.

“That’s what I’m about in a lot of ways,” Jeffreys said. “I have a pretty good handle on my life — where I’m from, what I’ve been through and what I’ve seen.”

The urban grit of a Sheepshead Bay in the midst of a residential and demographic boom exposed him to some cutting edge music.

“Growing up in Brooklyn, we had the street corner sounds of early rock ’n’ roll like Little Richard,” he said.

Jeffreys has 14 solo albums in a career going back to 1970.

These days, he still likes to rock out—just on the beat of his own schedule.

“I’m not interested in recycling myself,” said. “I do music when I feel I have something to say.”

The interview comes as Jeffreys releases another album, Truth Serum. Check out this video from the single “Any Rain”.

— Vanessa Ogle

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  1. He grew up in the Sheepshead Houses. I just watched his video “Coney Island Winter” on Youtube and it is fantastic! A great song and a great video of Coney Island.

  2. I’ve been a fan of Garland since I first heard “Wild in the Streets” on WNEW-FM decades ago. He has a devoted following though he never cracked the mainstream or gained widespread recognition. Check out his great album, “Don’t Call Me Buckwheat,” which covers all aspects of the racist spectrum. His song “Welcome to my World” references Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay.

  3. I am a huge fan of his and have seen him many times over the last several years ,including his 70th bday bash last year. Garland is going strong; his newest album is terrific and his song “Coney Island Winter” is one of the best songs of
    all time. Garland knows the HISTORY.

  4. All three comments underneath this article are extremely fake. They all have a reference to “Coney Island.” (Not so) Clever use of SEO marketing. I never heard of this jabroni and apparently his entire fan club posts on sheepshead bites.

  5. What’s YOUR problem, Felix? Just because YOU never heard of Gee, that makes you a rock & roll dummy, not his supporters, who know good music. Perhaps if you listened to a few of his albums, instead of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, you’d understand OUR views.


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