Outside of his mostly “Parrothead” which admired the tropical island setting of “Margaritaville” in 1977, Jimmy Buffett’s music and words have always had a lonely, laissez-faire literary edge. Yes, there was an evasive sense of humor in his clever and sarcastic turns of phrase, touched by the aroma of cannabis and the taste of mezcal. Even then, under his foggy clouds and drunken romanticism the heart of the writer of funny and countercultural stories was hidden. Think of the “Hills
Here are Jimmy Buffett’s top dozen musical moments that aren’t “Margaritaville”:
“Mile High in Denver” (1970)
Buffett’s debut album on Andy Williams’s Barnaby Records label may not have been his favorite recording, or one that sold many copies when it was first released. But, along with songs like “Truckstop Salvation” and “Captain America,” Buffett’s taste for Nashvillian melody flourished on “A Mile High in Denver.” Soon to become his signature, Buffett’s “Mile High” reflects his fidgety comments lyrical character and playful twists on familiar tropes combines warm stoner soliloquies with his view of the bare trees of the frost-topped Colorado mountain range.
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He Went to Paris” (1973)
Taken from his album “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean” (a goofy, riff on Marty Robbins’ “Pink Carnation”) and recorded at Tompall Glaser’s studio in Nashville, Buffett uses the talents of Greg “Fingers” Taylor, of Coral Reefer Band, and the pedal steel penchants of Michael Utley.of a Coral Reefer Band, Greg “Fingers” Taylor, and the pedal steel penchants of Michael Utley, writing poetry about the struggles of a man who decides your life in “Some things are magical and some are tragic. “
“Eat Monday” (1974)
Fluttering electric piano and lush string playing give way to one of Buffett’s sweetest melodies and an easy indulgence of romantic lines like “I got my Hush Puppies on / I guess I wasn’t in never meant for glitter rock.” / And honey, I didn’t know I’d miss you.” This Don Gant-produced track was Buffett’s first Top 40 hit.
The best Tom Waits song Jimmy Buffett ever wrote begins with “She’s got a ballpark figure / He’s a pen / They’ve been traveling for weeks / Writing reports of the places they’ve been” and continues his path into in film theology. .
“Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude” (1977)
Produced by bassist and string arranger Norbert Putnam, the sound of Buffett’s 1977 album “Margaritaville” was diamond-clear and warm, with the sharpness of procussive percussion to match the singer’s rhythmic intonation. However, it is the development of similar characters, perpetually situated for himself (rather than presenting his fellow trainers) that makes tracks like “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” ring. Here, Buffett cool “meets a friend with a bottle of rum” and does not leave the bottle or the road until the end of the album. And then the next album. And the next one.
“Son of Sailors” (1978)
The volatile nature of time, parenthood and music come together in one place. It is one of Buffett’s most elegant pieces of prose and melody.
While 1979’s “Volcano” album seemed to stretch his boozy, boozy, deranged persona to the seams, “Survive” — co-written by veteran Buffett and Coral Reefer Mike Utley — is an emotional ballad about his usual themes (smoking, jokes. , love) far away, the crazed crowds) with his usual humor, but he adds a more significant element to the mix: sincerity. It works so well that one wishes Buffett had tried sincerity reveal more often.
“One Certain Harbor” (1983)
Co-produced by Buffett (the first) and co-written by Bobby Holcomb, “One Particular Harbor” takes the singer-songwriter’s island tropes and tics to another level, more energetic and hymnemic, something decidedly unladylike.
“Gypsies in the Palace” (1985)
Written with songwriter Will Jennings and Eagle Glenn Frey (who also provides vocals for the track), Buffett tells the story of two self-made businessmen (one named “Snake”) who broke the house of a rock star. While on tour, he only finds that he is left in better shape than when he comes home. In the spirit of “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Buffett gave his “Gypsies” a soulful rock twist, a bouncy tonic to his usual laid-back vibe.
“A Thousand Steps to Nowhere” (1998)
Writing a Broadway-style musical should be a no-brainer for Buffett, especially considering that he based “Don’t Stop the Carnival” in 1994 on the 1965 book of the same name by battle novelist Herman Wouk, which he undertook to write. . After his famous 1997 flop during his Miami preview, Buffett turned the show into an album in 1998, taking his lyricism to new heights on witty tracks like “A Thousand Steps to Nowhere.” If this oh-so-quaint Buffett theme is any indication, Broadway producers should consider a revival, pronto.
For a charming man, Buffett was often an island unto himself when it came to famous playmates. So, along with the aforementioned Glenn Frey co-writer, Buffett teamed up with R&B singer/songwriter Bill Withers for this politically incorrect track, featuring a jaunty Cujunto arrangement and witty flutters. A curiosity, no doubt, but Buffett’s desire to collaborate so late in his career is worth mentioning.