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Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Cozy Confines of the Buffet Hotel

The last few Jimmy Buffett albums have been like that restaurant that you've loved for many years that is sometimes past its prime, yet still beckons you to visit because every time you do, the meal, while far from flawless in its entirety, still has moments of immeasurable joy.  Sure, maybe the entree was awful, but wow, that appetizer was unreal.  Buffett's albums of late have had some real gems - from "Bama Breeze" and "Duke's On Sunday" off of the otherwise dreadful Take The Weather With You, to "Trip Around The Sun", "Boats To Build" (both covers) and "Coast of Carolina" from the otherwise predominantly silly License to Chill - Buffett's albums have satisfied his loyal Parrotheads, but have left even those fanatically loyal fans wanting more (Knox counts himself as one of that group).   So like my returns to The Manor in Edmonton (formerly the Manor Cafe and now the Manor Casual Bistro where I still go for the schnitzel, despite the fact that it isn't what it was when I went to school in Edmonton over a decade ago), I returned to Buffett and checked out, or perhaps more appropriately, checked-in, to his new album - Buffet Hotel.

Yes, "Buffet", not "Buffett" Hotel, named after a hotel Jimmy saw on a recent trip to Africa.  Let me tell you at the outset, this is a decent, and surprising, album.  The opener "Nobody From Nowhere" is one of the best tracks on the album.  An upbeat number with the full Coral Reefer Band, this one, while not written by Buffett, sounds like Buffett.  The old Buffett, who wasn't afraid to be a musician as opposed to a carnival act or cheesy party favour.  Hopefully, it will find its way into the odd set list on Buffett's perennial summer tour, which I've enjoyed in Toronto on several occasions.   More standout tracks include this albums cover of a Bruce Cockburn song (the Canadian seems to be justifiably included at least once on Buffett's recent albums) entitled "Life Short Call Now", "Big Top" (an homage to the Parrotheads and their antics at said summer tours), "We Learned To Be Cool From You"  and "Wings", the latter 3 of which were either written or co-written by Buffett (still got it Bubba).  The balance of the tracks are either a tad morose or a tad cheesy, but for the most part, they are listenable.  "A Lot To Drink About" is an entertaining rant akin to early Buffett ditties like "God's Own Drunk" and "This Hotel Room" with more political overtones ("We've got the price of oil, the war of the spoils, here's your bucket for the big bailout.  Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, we've got a lot to drink about").

Friends, if you need an album to help you slide your way into summer, a Buffett album is usually just the medicine that your doctor ordered.  This one is a stronger dose than most recent Buffett albums and is worth a spin.  Based on my experience this weekend, the album seems to pair nicely with a Miller Chill lime-infused beer, a simultaneous Skoal "Bandit" chewing tobacco pouch and a pair of flip-flops.  Now that's good living.

As you were………. 

Posted by Knox Harrington on May 16, 2010 in Music | Permalink


When you sober up, dude, edit this and add some paragraphs. ;)

Posted by: Floyd Looney | 2010-05-17 4:52:39 PM

Oh-oh. The grammar police.

Posted by: Knox Harrington | 2010-05-17 5:10:50 PM

Very nice! Never thought I'd read a Buffett review on the WS.

Posted by: Markalta | 2010-05-20 12:55:33 PM

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