I’ve tried to review Jimmy’s songs in the past. I even tried to have a section on one of my web pages to address his whole collection of work. It just never happened. I can’t seem to boil it down to a system. Four Stars? A – F? One to Ten?
For me, it just doesn’t boil down to any of those. It’s too big. I’ve been listening to Jimmy for over half my life, and that’s saying something… Since Jimmy and I are approaching 64 (will you still love us?) years. I’m not one of those complaining bitching, Church of Buffett, GOP’s (Grumpy Old Parrotheads). I love it that he’s changed, and so has his music. Being the same age as Bubba, I feel like we’ve grown up together. His music is just enjoyable, and I don’t need to dissect it. I don’t look at it song by song. I look at his body of work in its totality, as an ever-expanding collection. And I’m glad it’s still coming.
Diving into a Buffett Album is a process for me. Questions to be asked. Researching various words, people and places mentioned in the music. Jimmy makes me think, wonder, and ponder.
So, here’s my take on Buffet Hotel. I downloaded the album (21st Century PH style) the day it came out. I didn’t have the chance to listen to it all the first few days, but my fast sampling told me, that this was one of those albums that would grow on me.
This “Process” takes awhile too. Pausing, fast-forwarding, backing up, taking notes, reading the lyrics as I listen. And it all started a few days after my iTunes download, on a Delta flight from Atlanta, finishing up a week later in my Georgia hotel room on a cold Saturday morning.
My over all reaction: I like it. I really like it! It’s already grown on me. For one thing it really showcases Jimmy’s rich voice. It is a departure from his past “Tropical” fare, but that’s OK with me. I don’t need to be stuck on a Tropical Island for thirty years. I’ll be listening to this one for a long time.
So, with no further ado… here are my thoughts as I listened to Buffet Hotel:
Nobody From Nowhere
I can’t remember waiting for a Buffett Album because of a cover song before. This was a first. I’ve been listening to Will Kimbrough’s and the Daddy version he and Tommy Womack recorded for a couple of months now. It immediately became one of those songs I played over and over again. To say I was looking forward to hearing Jimmy’s interpretation would be an understatement.
From the first note, I could tell Jimmy heard the same song I did when he was listening to it. Same tone… Hell, he almost sounded like Will for the first few verses before he took over and made it his own. Very few differences: “There” became “Here” and Tommy became the Reeferettes. The backup was as if it was made for Tina and Nadirah. No “Dis” on Tommy meant either. I love that crazy man.
I’ll be listening to all three versions over and over again for a long time.
Man, I can almost hear the complaints from some of those clowns that hang out on the discussion boards at Buffett News or Jimmy Dreamz! Get Over It! A little banjo music every once in awhile is good for the soul. Quit being so friggin’ pompous and enjoy yourself.
Jimmy and Will Kimbrough teamed up on this one. I’ve only heard Will sing it once, and I’m not familiar with the great lyrics, but you can bet I’ll be comparing Jimmy’s and Will’s versions soon. Wings will appear on Will’s next album due out the first of the year. Given that, there are a few lyrics that sound like Jimmy; like “Treetop Flyer,” “Tiny beach bars,” or “Mountains of the Moon.”
And speaking of lyrics… I had to laugh when I heard “Tiny Swimmers.” I immediately had visions of thousands of sperm swimming upstream. And my favorite line was: I don’t need no runway, I got fuel here in my bong.
When I get to listen to Jimmy and making note for future writing, it sometimes slows me down. I start asking questions, and my mind wanders (my version of ADD I guess). And I love it. This song came with questions: “Silver Wings like Merle and me?” Does Merle Haggard have a song “Silver Wings?” Do Merle and Jimmy have the same plane?” And what the heck does “Cloud 9B” mean? Again, research is on the horizon. Now that I think of it, Jimmy has done “Silver Wings,” and yes it was one of Merles.
And what about “Ground Control to Major Jim?” Obviously a play on “Ground Control to Major Tom,” but is he talking to Jim Mayer? Just another great play on words that Bubba is so famous for… much like the great line from the infamous Beach House On the Moon “Shuttle Video” that had that classic, “Roger… Guth.”
All this makes me really like this song, but hey, it’s really as simple as, “Give me a song with Jimmy Buffett singing about airplanes and flying, and I’m onboard… “
“Clear!” (You Pilots know what this means)
Boy, it would be so easy to give you reasons why this is a great song. I could get really anal and go through it line by line. But I won’t. Who needs a 32 oz Coke at this stage of our Parrot Head Lives anyway?
If you don’t get it, you weren’t one of us! My friends and I have been having a Big Time under the Big Top when the circus came to town, singin’ along with our favorites, for a long time now. Jimmy was just like Santa. We waited for him each year. Just look at those Fins… Left, Right. Jimmy gets it. He knows he was an Accessory in front of the Pack.
My advise to everyone… All you Parrot Heads out there… is to listen to this song over and over and conjure up all your great memories from the past thirty plus years, and just try not to smile.
I don’t need no runway, I got fuel here in my bong. I see this song as an ode to come. A sign of Jimmy knowing the end is near, and putting our history together in perspective. Thanks Jimmy, you made me feel good about being a Parrot Head again. See you at that Last Jump Up… Soon.
This song is so beautiful: it made me sad.
Why? Well, just like there are so many people out there that just don’t get Jimmy Buffett or the Parrot Head Phenomenon… There at a lot of Parrot Heads out there that just won’t get this song. I could be wrong… I hope I am.
I think being the same age as Jimmy has given me a great perspective over the years. Not only did I know who Lucille Ball, Ricky Ricardo were, I actually watched them in “Real Time” on TV. And as Jimmy sings about Norma Jean’s Night Shoot in the Pool, I can actually remember sneaking looks at those Life Magazine photos through a young man’s eyes. Thanks Jimmy, for bringing this memory back. You have done this so often.
Great sound… Full of Great lyrics.
I miss my dorsal fin, I can’t explain it.
Beautiful Swimmers just feel the groove, Painting liquid brushstrokes like Renoir
Slidin’ cross the water like a Steel Guitar… Thanks Doyle.
If you don’t like this song, and need another “Drinking Song,” fast forward to “A lot to Drink About.” Thanks for this one Jimmy… We might be Old, But we’re Cool.
Turn Up The Heat And Chill The Rose
This Album is Cool. The word “Cool” appears though out.
Jimmy, you’re been my favorite Rapper since Autour Du Rocher! Thanks for giving us another one. You even mention Le Select again. Working Uranus, Metatarsals, Uggs, Eden Rock, and Le Bete de Nazelles into the same song… You’re a genius.
For decades I’ve said, “Life is like a Shit Sandwich… Without the Bread.” But after listening to this song, I’m switching to, “Life can be a banana split, and in a second turn to shit.”
Thanks Mac and Jimmy. You just shook me by my shoulders. I needed to remember what’s cool. My priorities have certainly been out of place. I’ve been participating in the recession too deeply… I’m actually working for the FDIC with all these failing banks. Talk about tweaking your attitude. I’ve been under the gun for sure.
There truly is a time and a place to act like a fool. And since I’m heading back to California next weekend, I’m going straight to the beach. It’s only steps away from my house in Capo Beach. And while I’m thinking about it, I’m heading to the your favorite surf shop in the city next door, San Clemente, and say hi to Billy Stewart. After all, at sixty-three, that Big Report Card is just around the corner. Time to remember what’s cool. Thanks for the reminder.
A lot of people find it hard to believe that I just started listing to Radio Margaritaville this year; especially since I’ve been a Parrot Head for… like forever. I blame it on two things: When RM first came out, the streaming was sporadic and as it was RM really catching on during BHOTM, I was going through burn-out from seeing over fifty concerts in a row.
So, this summer, as I was renting cars that had Sirius installed, I discovered that things had changed and RM was fun to listen to. I happened to catch a summer concert on RM this year as I was talking with my friend Susan Blankenship, of Spooner Radio fame, when Rhumba Man came on. It immediately caught my ear, and I asked Susan what the name of the song was (Susan had RM on at the same time). “That’s Jessie Winchester’s Rhumba Man” was the educated answer I got.
While I don’t know how many more albums Jimmy’s going to put out, the one thing I can tell you for sure is: we’re going to see more covers than we have in the past. And if Nobody from Nowhere and Rhumba Man are indicative of what we’re going to be hearing, that’s OK with me.
Besides being a great song, I couldn’t help but thinking back a few years to a conversation I had with some of the Reefers. They happened to mention that when they went out together while they were on the road they sometimes went dancing, and that Jimmy was quite the dancer. I’ll be listening to this song a lot, and waiting to see Jimmy dancing with either Tina or Nadirah on stage.
We Learned to Be Cool from You
First off, who’s Jimmy singing to in this song? At the end, it’s addresses to his good friend Walter Cronkite. And speaking of grey mustaches, Jimmy has used his facial hair to address his aging before, as in, “little more mustache turnin’ grey.”
I can just hear the younger Parrotheads asking, “who’s Sarah Vaughn?” And I wonder how many Parrotheads even have Sarah Vaughn on their iPods? I do. And don’t you just love it when Jimmy “Parlez Francias?” The reference to Leonard and Willie got me thinkin’. The Willie was easy. But “Leonard?” If it were Lynard, it would be easy to figure out. I’m guessing Leonard Cohen on this one, since it seems to be a country theme.
I’m also scratching my head on the “doing a crossword puzzle in a second or two.” Is it just me? Or do you have a hard time seeing Jimmy doing crossword puzzles too?
So Jimmy, you just keep “singing without shame” and I’ll keep “listening without shame.” This is a simple, mellow song that old guys like us can relate too. And thanks for teaching me to be cool. In the meantime, I want to find out where the “Mermaid Café” is.
And That’s the Way It is
Surfing In A Hurricane
OK, now we’re talkin’! I grew up surfing in California listening to the 60’s Surf Sound. Eight Tracks of the Rhythm Rockers and Chanteys. Dick Dale and Jan & Dean. I know what it’s like to drop down to the Impact Zone with my Cajones in my throat. Jimmy took me back to my youth with this one. And that was certainly “Cool.”
But even this one left me with questions. Does Will Kimbrough (co-writer on this song) Surf? Who ’splaying that Duane Eddy Twangy guitar. I’m pretty sure it’s Will. I’ll have to ask him next time we talk.
Life Short Call Now
Another Cover. This time Bruce Cockburn. I loved Pacing the Cage during the BHOTM Tour! I’d love to know how Jimmy picked this one. Bruce seems to have experience with the pain of life. Another question worthy of research, “How many people has Jimmy covered twice?” Club St. Somewhere is going to have to look into this one.
Again with the French! So the album theme is “Cool” and “French.” But, there’s nothing cool about the French Jimmy! The song has a sexy Expat feel to it. You almost feel you’re out in the “Territory.”
Question? Yeah I got one: what the heck is “Tuareg.” A visit to Wikipedia tells us this:
The Tuareg are a Berber nomadic pastoralist people. The are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa. OK, that explains it… except for one thing. What the heck is “Pastoralist?” Back to Wikipedia for:
Animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. Herds in search of fresh pasture and water.
Damn Buffett’s smart! That leaves “My favorite Lines in the Song”:
Sand in the couscous
Sand in the wine
There was sand in my guitar case
Stories in my mind
Machine guns on the hilltop
Camels in my tent
Only Jimmy can write shit like that! And the song is about Travel. Something Jimmy has inspired me to do often. Thanks Jimmy for all the travel advise. Guess I have to go to North Africa now. Can I borrow one of your jets?
A Lot To Drink About
Token “Drinking Song” for the Parrotheads. Though timely and well written, with lyrics that spell out the mess we’re in. But, I’ll get tired of this a lot faster than Margaritaville. In fact I’m over it already. Doubt I listen to it many more times. And I’m sure this will put me out of PH Norm. Just like the fact that Somewhere Over China is my favorite Buffett album. I can live with this.
There you have it. Leaving us with a couple of more questions. How many more albums will Jimmy put out? When will he hang it up… Only Time Will Tell.