Sunday, June 23, 2013

No Man Is An Island -- Except Maybe Jimmy Buffett

From today's Times and News-Star

As Robin Hood is yoked to Sherwood Forest, Churchill to Great Britain and Humpty Dumpty to the wall, so is Jimmy Buffett synonymous with Margaritaville.

Where you find one, you find the other.

Most naturally, Margaritaville Casino’s opening in Bossier City screams Jimmy B. Think “Buffett” and you can hear steel drums and taste sponge cake. And cheeseburgers. In paradise.

I wonder if, at the casino gift shop, you can buy a “Lost Shaker of Salt.” It’s all about merchandising!

Buffett’s signature 1977 song has spawned Margaritaville Lager Chicken Wings, Margaritaville Frozen Seafood, even Margaritaville Outdoor and Beach Furniture. In the commercial Margaritaville World, no one is wasted away.

Not everyone likes Jimmy Buffett songs. Probably more people are lukewarm than are hot toward his music, which is fine with Parrotheads. Not everyone likes sushi. But the ones who like it REALLY like it.
Same with Jimmy Buffett. And say what you will, the boy’s got talent.
As Buffett wrote in “If I Could Just Get It On Paper,” (a song dedicated to William Faulkner), simple words can become clever phrases. He’s one of the best at that. If you just take song titles alone, my Top Five Buffett’s are these:

“We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About”;
“Growing Older But Not Up”;
“Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season”;
“The Wino and I Know”;
And a favorite of my friend Chief, “If The Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me.”

Even his tours are cleverly named. There’s been the A Hot Dog and a Road Map Tour (1980), the Feeding Frenzy Tour (1984), the Off to See the Lizard Tour (1989), the Rece$$ion Rece$$ Tour (1992), the Beach House on the Moon Tour (1999), the Tiki Time Tour (’03), the Year of Still Here Tour (’08), the Welcome to Fin Land Tour (’11), last year’s Lounging at the Lagoon Tour and this year’s Songs from St. Somewhere Tour. (If you were in the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Mass., last night, I hope you enjoyed the show.)

In honor of Margaritaville Casino’s opening, here are the Top 10 Buffett Tunes According To Me. If nothing else, this gives you something to argue about this summer instead of who buys the next round or whether it really IS not so much the heat as it is the humidity. (P.S. It’s always the heat: that’s why it’s hot.)

And for leaving them out, pay-it-forward apologies to the deserving “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Trip Around the Sun” with Martina McBride, “Who’s the Blonde Stranger?,” “Fruitcakes,” “Coast of Marseilles,” “Gypsies in the Palace” and, of course, the weathered but faithful “Margaritaville.”   

10. “Come Monday”: Mellow, non-island Buffett.

9. “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere”: With country superstar Alan Jackson. The country folk of my generation all want to sing or hang with Buffett, who was “new” when we were in our 20s, and is still basically the same.

8. “Somewhere Over China”: A sadder, Far East version of “A Pirate Looks at Forty.”

7. “Where’s the Party?” Unlike the title suggests, it’s slow and pretty.

6. “Last Mango in Paris”: Clever. And biographical, a story about a person, as many of his songs are.

5. “Boat Drinks”: Ever shot holes in your freezer?

4. “Cuban Crime of Passion”: Very salsa-ish.

3. “Manana”: Don’t be something you’re not.

2. “Miss You So Badly:” Sentimental Buffett!

1. “Havana Daydreamin’”: If you’re new to the Buffett bandwagon, there’s more good stuff like this back on those old records. Pull up a beach chair. Give it a listen. Fins up.