If you think Jimmy Buffet is just "Margaritaville" you are sorely mistaken. You don't have a career spanning forty years by being a one trick pony.
When I first heard "Come Monday" in 1974, I RAN to the record store and snapped up the album"Living and Dying In 3/4 Time".What I discovered was a world unknown to me. A life shaped by salt.sand and surf. A Southern sensibility. Relaxed. Quirky, Pirates, scoundrels and rogues. Bars, boats and smugglers. New Orleans. I was done. Hooked and bedazzled.
I ran a bar here in Columbus that had EVERY Buffett single on the Jukebox. You see, even from the start Jimmy could write a song that would make you laugh your ass off. Then turn right around and pen a ballad that rips your heart out. Faulkner under sail. With Tennessee Williams and Twain tossed in to spice the gumbo.
Buffett weaves tales of America as seen by a travelling musician. Picking up a hitchhiking former Debutante in "West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown". A former expat from Hemingway and Fitzgerald's Lost Generation. Cowboys and Cowgirls in "Livingston Saturday Night. The characters inhabiting Key West and the Caribbean. Boats,bars and time at sea.
Buffet shaped my affection for the South. The Music. That dark jewel on the delta, New Orleans, I saw a place for an eccentric scoundrel like myself. More every day I find the siren song of the deep South harder to resist. I'm ready to succumb.
He influenced the way I saw writing lyrics and the written word. A dear friend once described him as Twain in pastels and boat shoes. As usual she was right.
I've seen him three times. I have maybe two hundred Buffett tracks on my iPod. OK, a bit of a Parrothead..
Buffett is always a top ten summer touring act. Playing BIG spaces. He seems to represent an escape from the cold, repressed, hidebound Northern life. He gives laughter and tears. A party to unwind and shed despair. A celebration of life and love.
Jimmy says he has the best Summer job in the world. The man wrote a major part of the soundtrack to my life. Listen to a "Pirate looks At Forty, 'Biloxi'" or "Boat Drinks". Smile. Feel the salt breeze in your hair, sand between your toes. Watch the sun set off towards New Orleans. Drink a Hurricane and enjoy life.