Jimmy Buffett - guitar, vocals; Lanny Fiel - guitar; Greg "Fingers" Taylor - harmonica; Reggie Young - guitar
For nearly four decades singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett has been a mainstay on the American musical landscape. Although he's only had a handful of radio hits, Buffett has turned a musical career that had been under the radar in the beginning, into a multi-million dollar entertainment franchise. Although his recording career has had ups and downs (with Buffett often jumping back and forth between being a pop-folk balladeer and country artist), he has maintained one of the largest and most solid active fan bases outside of the Grateful Dead.
This recording was done in February of 1974, when he was still building his career and establishing a signature musical niche and image. Buffett was promoting Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, the album that gave him his first chart single, "Come Monday." That record, although still very much embracing the "beach bum" persona he would firmly establish later on, is deeper and lyrically more focused than his previous releases. Some songs, such as "Come Monday," deal with the heartbreak attached to divorce.
Recorded at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, as part of KSAN-FM's concert radio series, this performance features a lively Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band in a relaxed humorous setting, and although the lack of a real paying audience makes the banter in between songs a little odd at times, the sterling audio quality captured inside the recording studio more than makes up for it.
Opening with "Ringling, Ringling," and followed by his current single at the time, "Come Monday," this show includes several early Buffett classics, including "Pencil Thin Mustache," "Peddler Not A Pusher," "Railroad Lady," and the popular, "Pirate Looks At 40" (which was instrumental in the development of Buffett's "parrothead" concept, adopted by many of the singer-songwriter's fans). "They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More" (written for '40s film icon, Carmen Miranda), "Migration," "Brahma Fear" and the thought-provoking "God's Own Drunk" round out the set.
It would be a few years later that Buffett released his now classic, Changes In Attitude, Changes In Latitude, that firmly established Buffett with one of the most popular drinking songs of all time, "Margaritaville." From that point on, Buffett was able to turn his concerts into Mardi-Gras styled events, complete with Hawaiian shirts and parrothead regalia.
Having established his base of operations in Key West, Florida, during the period this recording was captured, Buffett began developing the "Why Worry?" carefree life persona for himself and his music. It was not far from the truth. Once his fan base was established enough, he was able to embark on successful tours almost anywhere, and he then began to broaden his empire. He purchased a restaurant and bar in Key West that was tied into the various songs of his career; he started a clothing line and opened a shop in Florida to sell it; and he even developed a musical adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel, Don't Stop the Carnival, which had a run in Florida and elsewhere.
This concert takes the listener back to a time when Jimmy Buffett was just on the verge of sweeping (and capitalizing on) concert goers all over the world with his infectious blend of feel-good, country rock.