Monday, July 8, 2013

"A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean" by Jimmy Buffett (1973)

“Some of it’s magic and some of it’s tragic.”
Songs That Also Appear on the Greatest Hits LP “Songs You Know by Heart”:
He Went to Paris, Grapefruit – Juicy Fruit, Why Don’t We Get Drunk
My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Recommended Listening (3/4 stars)
“A White Sport Coat…” plays like a perfect storm of the country-folk-singer-songwriter scene that was exploding at the time it came out.  And it all seems very much by Jimmy Buffett’s design.
For starters, he surrounds himself with some heavy hitters in the genre.  He co-wrote one of the tracks with Jerry Jeff “Mr. Bojangles” Walker.  Also, Steve “City of New Orleans” Goodman plays in Jimmy’s backup band, The Coral Reefers.  And so does fiddlist extraordinaire, Vassar “I did that cool stuff on ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken’” Clements.
And on this release, Buffett tends to write songs in the idiosyncratic style of his contemporaries – one track at a time.  I triple-checked the authorship of Peanut Butter Conspiracy to make sure Tom T. Hall hadn’t actually written it.  I Have Found Me a Home sounds like a John Denver tune.  Death of an Unpopular Poet is a great imitation of  Jim Croce at his best.  And there are smatterings of John Prine throughout.
But then there is He Went to Paris.
That song is 100% Jimmy Buffett.  And it’s one of the best examples of why his fan base is so ravenous.  It’s set (partially) in the islands.  There’s booze.  It’s got a healthy dose of homespun folk wisdom without coming across as disingenuous.  And somehow, it has no pretenses or pretentions whatsoever.  Yeah, He Went to Paris is a great song.
So, is it an album?  Yes.  Although the quality and style of the songwriting vary greatly, the sound, attitude and ideas never waver.
Up next, we stay in 1973 with “Bulletin Board” by The Partridge Family.

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