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Released in the spring, the Garland Jeffreys album “The King of In Between” has been called “as uncannily fresh and forceful as the songs on his debut record, from 1973” by the New Yorker. You’ll see why in this video of Garland Jeffreys and the Coney Island Playboys’ live performance of “Coney Island Winter” on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Friday night.

The Brooklyn-born singer songwriter grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Coney Island, and riffs on the “Twenty-two stops to the city” from his boyhood turf in “Coney Island Winter.” You can read the lyrics in “Hail, Hail Garland Jeffreys! Coney Island Has a New Anthem,” (ATZ, March 15, 2011). We’d love to see a live performance on the Boardwalk!

Garland Jeffreys last New York area shows of the year are coming up at the Highline Ballroom on October 14 and At the Tabernacle in Mt Tabor, NJ on October 22. Says Jeffreys on his Facebook page: “And then comes Nashville, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, and more !!!!”

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The Piano Has Been Drinking. July 5, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Last year, British artist Luke Jerram’s “Play Me I’m Yours” project brought 60 pianos to New York City parks, including the Coney Island Boardwalk, in collaboration with local arts organization Sing For Hope. A couple of weeks ago we heard via twitter that the pianos –88 of them this year– were returning on June 18th.

We started looking for photos and videos of the Coney Island piano from last summer to include in a post. In addition to our friend Bruce Handy’s black and white shot of the Boardwalk piano waiting for a player, we found these entertaining videos of Manny Panta’s rendition of Joplin’s “The Entertainer” and Sandy Santra’s solo piano improvisation. “Play Me, I’m Yours was a dream come true for me: playing piano on the streets of New York in just about every location imaginable,” wrote Santra on the Play Me I’m Yours website.

The street pianos will return on Saturday, June 18th, for another two-week run. When ATZ visited Sing for Hope’s website in May, we liked the idea that one could reserve a date for a “Pop-Up Concert” at any of the locations. That option is not currently available, though on the Coney Island Piano’s page, someone has scheduled a concert for June 18 at 1:30 pm. “Sarah LeMieux will sing jazz and blues standards and originals! Visit her on MySpace and ReverbNation.” She’s going to be playing to a packed house–it’s just before the Mermaid Parade gets underway!

This year’s project is called “Sing for Hope’s Pop Up Pianos” instead of “Play Me I’m Yours!” because the arts organization has taken the artist’s original concept and made it its own. A story in today’s NY Times City Room describes “discordant notes” between the artist who originated the project and Sing for Hope, which led to a parting of the ways…

The artist, Luke Jerram, said his idea of putting a batch of pianos outdoors and letting anyone play them had spread to more than 20 cities. But he said the arts group that oversaw last year’s installation in New York — and is overseeing this year’s — had told him, “We don’t want you to come.”

We’re baffled and dismayed. But don’t let it keep you from playing the piano in Coney Island or anywhere else in New York. Somebody should bang out “Who Stole My Blue Suede Shoes” and dedicate it to Luke Jerram.

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Related posts on ATZ...

April 22, 2011: Music Video: A Coney Island Song by Paul Sanchez

March 15, 2011: Hail, Hail Garland Jeffreys! Coney Island Has a New Anthem

December 7, 2010: New Music Video: Little Silver’s Where We Met

November 30, 2010: Video: The Wanted’s Lose My Mind at Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel Park

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We’ve always enjoyed the rock poetry of Garland Jeffreys, especially Wild in the Streets (1973) and Hail Hail Rock ‘N’ Roll (1992). The good news is “The King Of In Between,” his first album in 13 years, will be released this spring. The Brooklyn-born singer songwriter grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Coney Island, and his new single “Coney Island Winter” riffs on the 22 stops to the City from his boyhood home. The lyrics, which are posted below, are as sharp and biting as the wind on the Boardwalk. Give a listen…

“Coney Island Winter” by Garland Jeffreys

Vanity strikes
Humility speaks
Insanity lives on the edge of the streets
This is a story, it happens every day
Politicians kiss my ass
Your promises they break like glass
Royalty looks down
Me, I want to kiss the ground
Twenty-two stops to the city
Twenty-two stops to the city
Twenty-two stops to the city
Twenty-two stops
Freezin’ cold no time to weep
Boardwalk’s dead on a midnight creep
It’s colder than a polar bear
But I don’t care

Coney Island Winter
Coney Island Winter

Woman walks down the street
Tears come rollin’ down her face
Frozen on her cheeks
Steeplechase, no time to waste
Heaven blessed, heaven sent
Hark the angels, can’t pay the rent
Jobs are gone, they came and went
All the money has been spent
All the games are broken down
Rust is fallin’ to the ground
They say they’re going to fix this town
Straight from City Hall

Coney Island winter
Coney Island winter

Last stop off for the Iron Horse
Ride shuts down on a winter course
Round and round, round and round
On the Ferris Wheel comes to a stop
Standin’ on Mermaid and Surf
Shutters have been shut
Colder than a knife that cut
Streets of summer
Coney Island strut
I’m on a mission of my own
Don’t wanna die on stage
With a microphone in my hand

Coney Island winter
Coney Island winter
Coney Island winter
Coney Island winter

© Garland Jeffreys

You can download “Coney Island Winter” on itunes or Amazon via links on Garland Jeffreys’ website. Jeffreys is scheduled to perform at Stony Brook University (March 20), the Highline Ballroom (April 30) and Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble in Woodstock (May 7). Hail Hail Rock ‘N’ Roll! Here’s a classic performance via YouTube…

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Related posts on ATZ...

January 8, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

December 7, 2010: New Music Video: Little Silver’s Where We Met

November 30, 2010: Video: The Wanted’s Lose My Mind at Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel Park

August 27, 2010: Video: Coney Island Dancing by Jim McDonnell

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