Thursday, September 12, 2013

Music Week: Jimmy Buffett

Here's the thing: I'm a lifelong Parrothead (i.e. what Jimmy Buffett fans call themselves).  I went to Jimmy Buffett concerts before I was one year old (and somehow was one of the only things that didn't get soaked to the bone that night), and I have listened to just about every Jimmy Buffett song several times over (and know almost all the words).

So, I must say I appreciate how much Jimmy Buffett and the island sound he introduced to me as a young'un totally got into my soul.

And what are some of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs?  Well, I'll put a few of them below but that only scratches the surface.

  • Tin Cup Chalice (from A1A): A song Jimmy wrote about seeing the sunset in Key West.  I truly do want to be there and see the sunset in Key West at least once in my lifetime.
  • Jamaica Mistaica (from Banana Wind): It's a song based on a real-life situation in Jamaica.  It also involves the U2 lead singer, Bono, and it was a very unfortunate misunderstanding, but Jimmy got a fabulous song out of it, so it's a win-win.
  • Barometer Soup (from Barometer Soup): I could have picked any of the songs from this album to feature here, but the title track from 1995's Barometer Soup is really, really good.
  • Surfing in a Hurricane (from Buffet Hotel): This outstanding track from what was largely a so-so album is one of those songs that you wish Jimmy had put out earlier in his career because it is just quintessentially Jimmy Buffett.
  • Banana Republics (from Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes): In real life, Jimmy Buffett and Steve Goodman (the guy who wrote this song) were really good friends before Steve left us back in 1984.  This is one of the top 5 songs Steve Goodman ever wrote, and this one is awesome.  Heck, they've even named a whole set of retail stores after this song title!
  • Havana Daydreamin' (from Havana Daydreamin'): The title track from Havana Daydreamin' is probably one of my all-time favorite songs, ever and featuring this song, while it is one of those songs everyone talks about constantly, it is really a good song and all the talk is justified.
  • Jolly Mon Sing (from Last Mango In Paris): I included this because I had the children's book he wrote with his daughter, Savannah Jane Buffett, called The Jolly Mon, as a child and I still know all the words to that song as a result.  I still do have it around someplace...
  • The Wino & I Know (from Living and Dying in 3/4 Time): One of the early classics is this song.  I love the fact that this talks about homelessness, which is still a problem, even now, but this one is just incredible.
  • Boomerang Love (from Off to See The Lizard): This is another one of my childhood favorites.  I cannot explain why I love this song so much... I guess it's a "boomerang, boomerang, boomerang love".
  • Stars on the Water (from One Particular Harbour): While this is a Rodney Crowell cover, I really like the nuances that Jimmy gives this particular song.  And while I could feature the title track on this one as well, I figured I'd give a lesser-known "deep track" the feature treatment from this album.
  • Come To The Moon (from Riddles in the Sand): Another "deep track" and while it is a science fiction-infused track, I wonder who it is from the perspective of.  He makes mentions of starships, but he doesn't make mention of any other Star Trek references.
  • Mañana (from Son of a Son of a Sailor): One of my favorites because... well I can't explain it.
  • Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On (from Take The Weather With You): Another fair-to-middling album, another standout track.  This spoke to me deeply.  It wasn't just because of Hurricane Katrina, which had hit the previous year and had totally messed everything up.  It's the timing of when Hurricane Katrina hit for me that makes it super somber and makes me a lot more respectful and I dare not forget it: That was right about the time I had to go down to Florida for one last time to see my paternal grandmother before she died.  I still feel a sense of loss, even though I wasn't nearly as close to her as I was to my maternal grandmother (who had passed away a couple of years prior).  So, every time I hear that song I always sing along, and I remember to breathe in, breathe out, and move on.  No matter what happens, breathe in, breathe out, move on.
  • Boat Drinks (from Volcano): The only well-known song where Jimmy makes a blatant Star Trek reference: "I'd like to go where the pace of life's slow/Could you beam me somewhere Mr. Scott?/Any old place here on Earth or in space/You pick the century and I'll pick the spot".  I love that portion of that song very specifically.
  • He Went To Paris (from A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean): Jimmy hadn't really made a splash when he wrote this song for his third album but his third album, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, totally hit some kind of nerve and it is one of his stronger early albums.  I love this song because while there are some sad portions, it makes a point that life is worth living, because life is too short.